Managing change: a new approach to legal services
A Legal Services Commission case study

Page 0: Introduction

This case study looks at innovation within legal services and how the challenge of change was successfully taken up. The Legal Services Commission (LSC) was created through an Act of Parliament in 1999. Its purpose is to help people to obtain access to high quality legal services that address their particular needs. In particular, it looks to assist members of society who, for one reason or...
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Page 1: The difference between criminal law and civil law

In understanding how UK law operates, it is important to distinguish between criminal law and civil law. Criminal activity occurs at both personal and business levels. Criminal acts include burglary, assault, drug trafficking, theft and murder. Criminal acts by businesses include fraud, industrial espionage and tax evasion. Civil disputes can occur at a personal level - for instance, when...
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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...
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Page 3: Setting up the Public Defender Service

Before introducing change it is helpful to carry out some form of SWOT analysis. A SWOT involves identifying the internal strengths and weaknesses of the existing system and the opportunities and threats in both the internal and external environment. Strengths and weaknesses Before the PDS was set up, defendants in criminal cases had to rely on the services of private practice solicitors who...
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Page 4: Change

Setting up the PDS involved changing the system. Not everyone welcomes change, and before many members of the legal profession would welcome change they wanted to know the nature of the changes, the reasons for them, and their likely impact. One challenge for the PDS, therefore, has been to raise awareness of the benefits of the new system within the legal profession. Change has to be...
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Page 5: The launch of the Public Defender Service

In creating the PDS, it was vital to provide a consistent, high quality service. As a result, careful thought and planning have been put into deciding where and how the new service should be set up. Four key factors to consider were location, customer service, recruitment and IT. Location In deciding where to locate PDS offices, care was taken to identify the areas of greatest need and where...
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Page 6: Conclusion

The Public Defender Service is a comparatively new service designed to serve a society that is increasingly looking to recognise the rights and needs of all of its members. Its reputation depends on the calibre of its staff and the level of service they offer to clients. Following its successful introduction, the PDS is well set to develop and expand in the future.
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