In the UK, a jury is permitted to make adverse inferences if a person exercises their right to remain silent. Are they permitted to make such inferences if a person refuses to answer any questions until a lawyer is present, but once their lawyer is present they co-operate fully?

2 Answers 2


Indirectly, no the wording of the caution is "You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence."

It is illegal to question someone if they have asked for legal advice. so if you ask for a solicitor they are not allowed to question you, and you cannot (by definition) fail to answer their questions if they're not allowed to ask them.

Reference from https://www.gov.uk/arrested-your-rights/legal-advice-at-the-police-station

"Once you’ve asked for legal advice, the police can’t question you until you’ve got it - with some exceptions."

  • Looking for a better reference if anyone has one!
    – JeffUK
    Nov 21, 2017 at 21:06

They are permitted, and they might. The jury is allowed to make inferences from the fact that the accused refused to talk until a lawyer was available. What inferences they make will depend on the nature of the case and the reason given for wanting to wait.

If the accused says something like "I don't trust the police, I wanted someone I could trust to represent my interests there" then it would be up to the jury to decide if they were being honest and if there was any other motive. They may decide the accused was just being cautious and not make any negative inference.

  • 1
    You have answered the question "will the jury draw an adverse inference". The actual body of the question is "Are [the jury] permitted to make such an inference." I think the answer is "yes", but I'm not sure. Aug 23, 2017 at 16:32

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