Page 2: The Public Defender Service (PDS)
The PDS is a key part of the CDS. It is an independent service created by the Legal Services Commission. It is operated by salaried defence lawyers and caseworkers who are responsible for delivering criminal defence services directly to the public.
These officers can represent their clients at all stages where help is required, from a client's initial arrest and questioning at a police station, through to trial in a Crown Court. They have a budget from which they can purchase the services of specialists such as barristers and medical or forensic experts. This means that members of the general public have access to the services of a specialist criminal solicitor 24 hours a day. The service at the police station is completely free.
Officers employed by the PDS offer a service that is friendly and informal, but at the same time focused and highly professional. The PDS provides a means by which all citizens have easy and ready access to help with their defence in criminal cases.