I’ve been professionally embarrassed. Can I withdraw from a Crown Court case?

I’m representing a client privately in the Crown Court. Following my client’s instructions, I concluded that I’ve been professionally embarrassed and would like to withdraw from the case. Can I do that?

You may withdraw from acting for a client either during the trial or during preparation for trial where there are compelling reasons to do so.

You must decide if there are compelling reasons to withdraw and, if so, make an application to the court to come off the court record.

A compelling reason for withdrawal from a case would be if you have concluded that you’re professionally embarrassed by continuing to act.

Withdrawal should be in accordance with:

This is to avoid breaching the code and to prevent risk of sanction by the court.

Examples of compelling reasons include:

  • obligations to clients – where you’re acting for two defendants and a conflict of interest may arise
  • obligations to the court – if a client changes instructions in such a manner that for you to continue would involve you misleading the court

For more information, see our practice note on withdrawing from a criminal case.


While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this article, it does not constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon as such. The Law Society does not accept any responsibility for liabilities arising as a result of reliance upon the information given.

Have you got a practice question?

Call the Practice Advice Service on 020 7320 5675 or email practiceadvice@lawsociety.org.uk.

The Practice Advice Service is staffed Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.

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