With the current austerity measures taken by the Government, reducing benefit fraud has been the focus of increased attention and investigation. Often it is the most vulnerable and disadvantaged that are pursued. Welfare Benefit law regulations can often be complex, with claimants falling foul of obligations to notify changes or making claims with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), Job Centre Benefit Fraud Department and local authorities. Often simple errors arising from a misunderstanding on the claim form or failure to take reasonable care when making a claim, at worst this can result in the stress of criminal proceedings resulting in a criminal conviction and possibly a term of imprisonment.
Benefit Fraud can encompass a wide variety of misconduct. If the amount overpaid is below a particularly threshold, the prosecuting authority can be persuaded to offer an administrative penalty or caution as an alternative to prosecution. Getting the right advice at an early stage is vital. Claimants may be asked to attend an interview, unrepresented. The figure calculated may be wrong, or you may have been legitimately entitled to other benefits.
- Housing Benefit
- Tax Credits
- Job seekers allowance
- Student Loans
- Disability Benefits
Having an expert benefit fraud lawyer on board, is crucial. Our specialist barristers provide comprehensive advice and assistance, from getting expert help with re-calculating the benefit overpayment, to negotiating with the Prosecuting authority to diverting away from criminal proceedings and a basis of settlement, to advocacy and representation at trial and on appeal where a prosecution is proceeded with.
If you are not entitled to legal aid or it is refused we can offer our services at reasonable and proportionate rates. If you are paying from your own pocket then under the “Direct Access” barrister scheme you can instruct a barrister directly if your case is suitable. This is usually cheaper than having to instruct a solicitor. This not only saves considerable cost, but avoids you having to pay two lawyers (ie a barrister and solicitor) when a barrister alone can represent you. Direct access removes the absurd situation where a member of the public would pay a solicitor for his services only to be told that “we need to get an opinion from a barrister” and then charge you unnecessarily. Direct Access now allows you instruct a barrister and thereby cutting out the unnecessary instruction of a solicitor and duplication of cost.
Whatever stage your cases is at (even if not yet charged) get expert advice from a criminal barrister now on 0208 123 9999 or email email@example.com.