Lawyer Nick Freeman, aka Mr Loophole, has launched an online petition calling for a reversal in the law which prevents defendants acquitted in the courts recovering their costs.
In 2012, the law was changed without proper consultation, leading to hundreds of people each year facing financial ruin despite being cleared of the charges they were facing.
Last week, 83-year-old North Yorkshire farmer Kenneth Hugill was cleared of GBH by a jury at Hull Crown Court. Despite him walking free, the pensioner – who has never been on the wrong side of the law – has been left with a legal bill in excess of £30,000.
Mr Freeman, who launched a crowd-funding page to help the Hugill family pay for his defence, has now launched an on-line petition calling on Justice Secretary Liz Truss to ensure acquitted defendants can recover their reasonably-incurred legal costs, as it was pre-2009.
He has been supported in this action by Tory peer Timothy Kirkhope, who raised the matter of Mr Hugill’s plight in the House of Lords.
Mr Freeman said: The law was changed without proper consultation so that defendants acquitted by a court are not allowed to recover their reasonable legal costs.
“This injustice happens on a daily basis throughout the land, and was perfectly illustrated by the acquittal of Kenneth Hugill, a man of good character.
“Despite being found not guilty by a jury in just 24-minutes, Mr Hugill is now left with a legal bill in excess of £30k which he estimates will take him two to three decades to pay off.
“This is grossly unfair. It is not justice and flies in the face of the presumption of innocence.”
The petition is found at https://www.change.org/p/justice-secretary-liz-truss-defendants-acquitted-at-court-recover-their-full-legal-fees?recruiter=696170402&utm_source=share_for_starters&utm_medium=copyLink
The JustGiving Page is found at: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/supportkennethhugill
About Nick Freeman
Nick Freeman is probably the best known solicitor practising in the country today.
He has been dubbed "Mr Loophole" by the press owing to his vast technical knowledge of motoring law matters and his ability to successfully challenge the prosecution over procedural irregularities.
Nick is widely known for his celebrity client list and high profile criminal defence cases.
Nick is the head of Freeman & Co. Solicitors and although based in Manchester, represents defendants in motoring and criminal cases all over the country.
After graduating from Chester Law School in 1979, Nick started his career as a prosecuting solicitor for Greater Manchester Police.
Nick soon became known for his technical legal abilities and robust court room style and he was soon recruited into private practice by the highly respected solicitors firm of Burton & Co. He was soon to be made a partner at the practice but in 1999 he decided to start his own firm following which Freeman & Co. was formed.
Owing to Nick's meticulous case preparation and technical legal skill he soon made Freeman & Co. one of the most respected and sought after criminal solicitors firms in the country.
Despite the celebrity client list and media attention, Nick and Freeman & Co. have built their practice on representing ordinary members of the public with the same tenacity as those more high profile cases that are reported in the press and on TV.
Outside of his professional practice Nick is a regular expert guest on TV and radio and is well regarded as an expert legal commentator. He is an ardent supporter of defendant anonymity in sex cases.
In recent times his credits have included Tonight With Trevor MacDonald, Close Up North West, Channel 4 News, BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 5 Live to name but a few. He also appears regularly on Sky News, BBC News 24 and Legal Eagles on ITV's This Morning. Nick is a regular legal commentator for the Sunday Times.
A father of 2 children Nick is a keen golfer with a 2.9 handicap and enjoys vigorous exercise with his Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
Contacting Nick Freeman
For professional matters and representation Nick can be contacted through Freeman & Co. on 0161 236 7007 or you can send him a confidential email by clicking here.
If you would like to contact Nick for a media appearance or legal comment please call David Simister on 0845 389 26 26.