Criminal Defence Service (CDS)
The Criminal Defence Service (CDS) guarantees that people under police investigation or facing criminal charges can get legal advice and representation.
By ensuring that people accused of crimes have access to legal advice and representation, the CDS also helps the police and courts operate fairly and efficiently.
The CDS is run by the LSC in partnership with criminal defence lawyers and representatives.
Criminal legal aid offers:
- Advice and assistance from a solicitor on criminal matters
- Free legal advice from a solicitor at the police station during questioning
- The cost of a solicitor preparing a case and initial representation for certain proceedings at a magistrates’or Crown Court
- Full legal representation for defence in criminal cases at all court levels
- A duty solicitor to provide free legal advice and representation at magistrates’ court.
For free, confidential and independent legal advice visit the Community Legal Advice website.
The LSC itself is unable to provide legal advice or information. Case specific queries should be directed to your local office.
For providers and practitioners
- Forms - for service providers undertaking CDS funded work
- Information about Crown Court means testing
- How we are transforming criminal legal aid with our reform programme
- Read Focus our electronic newsletter for legal aid practitioners
- Information and guidance updates to the Unified Contract (Crime)
- Information about criminal legal aid eligibility for clients in magistrates' court cases
- Find your relationship manager
- How we manage very high cost criminal cases and complex fraud cases
- Our Public Defender Service scheme provides CDS services through directly employed solicitors, barristers and accredited representatives
- Our criminal areas of work including what we are doing in police stations, magistrates' courts and the Crown Court
- Read the latest Criminal Defence Service Consultations and responses
- Details on the tendering process for CDS services
Last updated: 03 August 2010