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An important aspect of duty solicitor work is providing advice for unrepresented defendants about whether to plead guilty to a charge, where there is sufficient time to take detailed instructions and give considered advice. Another role of the duty solicitor, where it is proper to do so, is to conduct simple guilty pleas for people who would be seriously disadvantaged without such assistance and where the penalties are not serious. For more serious matters, where detailed preparation is required, the duty solicitor may be called upon to assist a defendant to apply for their matter to be remanded or adjourned to allow time for them to seek legal advice and representation. The duty solcitior needs to be able to determine whether a matter is simple, or one requiring the defendant to obtain legal representation.

To give such advice, or to represent someone on a simple guilty plea, you must be familiar with the elements of offences, maximum penalties and general sentencing principles. This Chapter provides information about some basic sentencing principles and practical guidance for providing advice and/or representation for a simple guilty plea. This Chapter be should be read in conjunction with the Sentencing chapter and the chapters on specific offences [see Role of the Duty Solicitor chapter; Courts and Jurisdiction chapter and Sentencing chapter].

Introduction  :  Last Revised: Tue Jul 10th 2012