If you are looking at hiring a criminal defence lawyer, you'll notice a significant difference in fees between firms. While in civil cases lawyers may operate on a "no win, no fee" basis, criminal defence lawyers usually work on an hourly rate basis.

Here are some of the factors that add up to the fees that criminal defence lawyers charge.

Experience & track record

An experienced criminal defence lawyer, especially one who has a successful track record in a certain niche such as fraud, will be able to charge a higher fee than an inexperienced lawyer. Generally more experienced lawyers will not require as long to prepare due to their experience, so the hourly fee may not be as dramatic as it first seems. More experienced lawyers are also able to more accurately estimate the time that will be required for cases, so you may get a more accurate estimate of the fees at the outset.

Equally lawyers that tend to take on more complex criminal defence cases may end up taking out more legal insurance and paying high premiums, which end up factored into the fees that the law practise charges.


Lawyers with expensive inner city offices and other fancy overheads, roll the cost of their overheads into their overall fees. Lawyers in rural areas will tend to charge less due to the lower costs of running a law office in those areas. The overheads can save time and increase the chances of success in your case—such as access to appropriate legal databases and administrative support to answer phones and run off photocopies.

Resources dedicated to your case

In larger law firms you may find a larger portion of junior staff and paralegals dedicated to your case, while in smaller firms the majority of the work may be done by a single practitioner. The overall fees are likely to be higher for a larger, more high profile firm due to the extra hours worked on the case, albeit at a lower hourly rate. The extra resources dedicated to your case can increase the chances of a positive result in a more challenging case, but may not be as valuable in a straightforward case.

If you are curious about how the fees for your case have been estimated, talk to firms such as MICHAEL WOODS & CO to estimate the hours and resources involved in your case, so you can directly compare the resources and experience that will go into your defence.