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If you have been arrested and taken into custody or asked to attend a police station interview as a suspect, you may have concerns about the process and your legal rights. In this guide, we look at what you should expect from a police station interview.

If you need immediate advice or representation concerning a police station interview, get in touch with our experienced criminal lawyers today. You can call us on 0131 341 2729 or complete our online enquiry form, and we will be in touch right away.

What are my rights in custody?

When you are taken into custody, a custody officer must fully explain your rights to you. Under the law, you have the right to know why you are being held at the police station. You are allowed to inform someone about your whereabouts and, if you are under 18 or considered a vulnerable person, your rights are extended so your chosen adult can visit you at the police station or be in the room during questioning. 

Where applicable, you can have access to medical help, assistance with communication, and an interpreter if you do not understand or speak English. You can also receive a notice that explains your rights in custody, called a letter of rights. This will include what your rights are to breaks, food and use of toilet facilities.

REMEMBER: One of the most important rights you have in custody is to have a consultation with a lawyer at any time. You are not expected to go through this process alone. Having a qualified criminal solicitor by your side can ensure you are protected and fully aware of what you must comply with. For robust representation while in custody, contact Thorley Stephenson’s team today.

What are my rights when being questioned by the police in Scotland?

If you are held in custody, the police may question you about the crime you are suspected of committing. Any answers, comments or other communication can be written down or recorded. Anything you say can be used as evidence at trial if your case is prosecuted.

When the police are questioning you, you have the right to say nothing, also known as 'the right to remain silent'. Aside from confirming your name, address, date and place of birth, and nationality, you do not have to answer any questions the police ask you.

What happens if I’m not from the UK?

If you are not a British citizen, the police will contact your High Commission, Embassy or Consulate. The police will explain where you are and why you are being held at the police station. You may have someone visit you in private, and they can arrange for a solicitor to visit you.

The right to legal advice in police custody

Regardless of why you are being held in custody, you have the right to speak to a solicitor - either in person or over the phone. Even if you initially turn down the option to consult with a lawyer, you can change your mind at any time.

Can the police question me without legal advice?

If you have requested legal representation, the police must wait for your solicitor to arrive before they begin questioning you - unless there are rare circumstances which mean you need to be questioned right away. Such cases may include stopping a crime from happening or to protect someone from danger.

If you choose not to speak to a lawyer or have a solicitor with you during a police interview, the police can question you without having any legal advice. When you consent to be interviewed without a lawyer, the time and any reason offered must be recorded.

Under current law, there are certain categories of people who must have a lawyer and therefore cannot be questioned until their legal representative is present:

  • Anyone under the age of 16
  • A person who is 16 or 17 years old and subject to a compulsory supervision order
  • Vulnerable people

Providing evidence in custody

The police can take photographs of you and gather forensic evidence - such as fingerprints and DNA samples - if you are held in custody. DNA samples are typically a swab inside your mouth or head hair root. The police do not need your permission to take DNA samples and may use force if you refuse to comply.

Samples and searches – do the police need my consent?

The police require a warrant to take blood or urine samples from you, except in suspected drink or drug driving cases. A warrant is also needed to conduct an intimate body search, sometimes referred to as a 'strip search', or an invasive search which will involve internal examination of your body. If such examinations are to take place, or blood or urine samples are to be made, a medical professional will attend.

Recording of interviews in custody

When conducting questioning in custody, the police will record the interviews. The reason these are recorded is to ensure there is an accurate record of the interview, and that proper procedure has been followed. Any recording – whether it’s audio, video or written down in a police notebook – can be used as evidence in subsequent court proceedings.

What happens if I am questioned voluntarily as a suspect?

If the police suspect you of a crime and you choose to go to the police station voluntarily, you are free to leave at any time. The exception to this is where the police arrest you to allow for more questioning.

Similar to when you are taken into custody, you have the right to have a lawyer present and the right to remain silent during voluntary questioning.

Your statement will be recorded and can be used as evidence if the case proceeds to trial.


Thorley Stephenson SSC's criminal lawyers based in Edinburgh strive to provide clients with a professional and comprehensive service. We offer the best possible legal advice and representation for all criminal law matters and can provide our services at the police station.

Thorley Stephenson SSC's offices are located close to Edinburgh Sheriff Court and The Court of Session and are easily accessible for all forms of transport. Please contact us today on 0131 341 2729 to speak to one of our solicitors about your case, or complete our online enquiry form, and we will get back to you right away.

At Thorley Stephenson SSC, we appreciate how challenging it has been to adapt to the current government measures. We strive to ease the stress of our clients at this unprecedented time, which is why we have created this COVID-19 Hub, with links to relevant guides and legal updates: 

Family Law

Criminal Law

General information/updates

Although our office may be closed, we want to reassure you that we are still readily available to help with any legal concern you may have. If you are unsure how to proceed with a criminal law problem, or have an urgent family law matter, call one of our specialist lawyers today.

Contact Thorley Stephenson SSC today

If you would like to speak to a solicitor about how your particular circumstances may be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, get in touch with us on 01315569599 or via the online enquiry form.

What is a Guardianship Order?

A guardianship order is made by the court to allow a person to act and make decisions on behalf of an adult with incapacity. Anyone with an interest in the adult’s life can make an application for a guardianship order. Guardianship can be applied for three months before the 16th birthday of a child.  An adult with incapacity is someone who is not capable of making decisions for themselves. 

With an increasing aging population, the number of people with dementia is increasing.  When an adult suffers from a mental illness or another disability that affects their capacity to make decisions, it is important that the right person is appointed to make those decisions for them.  The appointment has to be of benefit to the adult and be the least restrictive option in relation to their personal freedom.  There are two types of Guardian, a Welfare Guardian who makes decisions regarding an adult’s welfare and a Financial Guardian who manages and adult’s finances.  You can apply for either or both at the Sheriff Court.  A guardianship order is generally granted for 3 years but it can be made for more depending on the circumstances of the case. 

The Mental Welfare Commission of Scotland has noted a huge increase in applications for Guardianship orders at court.  Applying for Guardianship is a complicated process which requires both medical and social work reports.  Our department can help you through this process. Legal aid is available to cover court costs when applying for Welfare or Welfare and Financial Guardianship.

Contact our Guardianship Order Solicitors Edinburgh

Our department also regularly represents adults or other parties who wish to oppose the appointment of a guardian. Legal Aid might be available for this purpose too. Sometimes, guardianship is not needed and there are lesser restrictive options available such as an intervention order. You can find out more information from The Office of the Public Guardian’s Website. Contact us today or call us on 0131 341 2664.

Suffering a whiplash or neck injury can be extremely debilitating. The experienced personal injury solicitors at Thorley Stephenson can provide clear, sympathetic advice on claiming compensation to support you in your recovery.

What is whiplash?

Whiplash is the term used to describe soft tissue injuries affecting the neck, spine and shoulders. This type of injury occurs when the head is violently thrown forwards, backwards or to the side, usually as the consequence of a sudden impact. A common cause of whiplash is road traffic accidents, for example when a slow-moving vehicle is hit from behind or the side by a faster moving vehicle. Whiplash is a type of sprain injury, with the damage and pain caused ranging from mild to severe.

What are the symptoms of whiplash?

Someone who has suffered a whiplash will often experience pain, stiffness and loss of movement in their neck and shoulders. Sometimes these symptoms can be experienced in their arms as well. Other signs that you have suffered whiplash can include headaches, and in some cases, dizziness, blurred vision, tiredness, pins and needles in your hands and arms, nausea, muscle spasms, and back pain.

Symptoms might be evident immediately, but they often develop in the 24 hours following the injury occurring. Many people will become aware of whiplash symptoms the day afterwards, and they can often become worse over the following days. If you think you have suffered whiplash, you should contact your doctor as soon as possible.

How long will the effects of a whiplash injury last?

The effects of whiplash will vary depending on the severity of the injury. Some whiplash symptoms will disappear after a few days or weeks. However, in severe cases, the recovery period can last much longer, with some sufferers experiencing long-term pain as a result. The term used to describe symptoms that last for more than six months is ‘chronic whiplash'. Those who suffer this type of injury can find the managing of day-to-day and work tasks extremely difficult, with chronic whiplash sufferers also experiencing anxiety and or depression in some cases.

How can Thorley Stephenson's personal injury lawyers help?

Our personal injury lawyers can offer guidance on whether you can claim compensation if you have suffered whiplash or neck injuries. At your free initial consultation, one of our solicitors will assess your claim and provide impartial and confidential advice on the best way for you to proceed. We offer a no win, no fee service – even if your claim is unsuccessful you will not need to pay.

Acting on your behalf, our legal team will instruct experts who can give evidence in support of your claim. We aim to negotiate a fair settlement for you as quickly as possible, but our lawyers will provide you with the best possible representation if your case goes to court.

Contact our Whiplash and Neck Injury Solicitors in Edinburgh

If you have suffered whiplash or a neck injury, it is vital that you speak with a solicitor straight away. For advice on making a claim, call our personal injury lawyers today on 01315569599.

It is estimated that one in six people in the past week experienced a common mental health problem. One in four people will experience a mental health problem at some point in their lives.  Mental health is a growing public concern and is regularly covered in the news.  In order to practice in the field of mental health law, it is important that your solicitor has a background in the area and experience with working with clients who suffer from mental health problems.

At Thorley Stephenson, our Nyree Conway has significant experience working exclusively with clients with mental health issues and their carers. Many patients find hospital distressing and difficult. 

At Thorley Stephenson, we assist patients who have been detained under the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 or those that are subject  to compulsory measures of treatment. Patients can be treated on a compulsory basis providing certain criteria are met. There are different types of detention which last for different periods of time : an emergency detention for up to 72 hours, a short term detention for up to 28 days and  a compulsory treatment order or up to six months. Compulsion and Restriction Orders can be granted when an offender has been convicted in the Sheriff or High Court of a sentence punishable by imprisonment.

Legal aid is not means tested for detained patients or patients subject to compulsory measures in the community.  A patient is entitled to obtain an independent psychiatric report in order to challenge the medical evidence of the doctors.  Named Persons of patients are also entitled to legal aid and legal representation.

Contact our Mental Health Solicitors Edinburgh

If you or someone you know is detained at hospital or subject to compulsory treatment in the community, we can assist. Contact us today.

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