Interview under Caution or PACE Interviews
Most investigations commence with an interview under caution, sometimes called PACE interviews. PACE is an acronym for the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, the Act of Parliament that sets out the rules, in the form of the 'Codes of Practice', that govern the way such interviews are conducted. Whilst the majority of PACE interviews are conducted in the police station by police officers, this is not always the case.
As not all investigations in the UK are conducted by the police, it follows that other organisations with an investigative role will conduct interviews under caution. Local authorities have the power to conduct various investigations including suspected benefits fraud, fly-tipping, planning offences and trading standards violations. Government departments and organisations also conduct their own investigations. The Health & Safety Executive (HSE), the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and the Insolvency Service are just a few of the government departments that have an investigatory function and therefore, conduct interviews under caution.
Whilst interviews conducted by the police, whether the interviewee is under arrest or being interviewed as a volunteer, carry an entitlement to free and independent legal advice, those conducted by other agencies do not. In these interviews, legal aid is only available to those with very limited means or in receipt of qualifying benefits.
Our fixed fee for the investigation stage of any case starts at £300. Once the fee is agreed, this applies regardless of how long the investigation takes or how many times you are interviewed. Our objective at this stage is to assist you either in putting forward a defence to any allegation, or if appropriate, ensuring that you do not incriminate yourself.
If you seek our representation for the purposes of a PACE interview, there is no obligation to continue instructing us if the case goes to court. We will advise you as to whether you would be entitled to legal aid for the court proceedings and forward your file of papers to any successor firm.