PDS Advocacy Unit

PDS Lexcel Accreditation

On 1st February 2018 we announced that the Public Defender Service (PDS) had been awarded Lexcel accreditation; an award only given to those in the legal profession able to demonstrate the highest standards of practice management and client care. Such a quality mark is subject to annual review and assessment to ensure that the high… Read more

Introduction to the Sentencing Council’s new Child Cruelty Definitive Guideline

The Sentencing Council recently issued a new Definitive Guideline for Child Cruelty offences, applicable to defendants aged 18 or over who are sentenced in the Crown Court on or after 1 January 2019. The Sentencing Council is responsible for issuing guidelines which address overarching sentencing principles as well as specific types of offences. This aims… Read more

HMCTS Reforms

Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) is responsible for the administration of criminal, civil and family courts and tribunals in England and Wales. In collaboration with the Senior Judiciary and the MOJ, HMCTS is investing £1bn to reform the courts and tribunal system. Included in the reform programme is a proposal for an ‘online… Read more

We are recruiting Higher Courts Advocates

The Public Defender Service are seeking to recruit experienced criminal Higher Courts Advocates. As a qualified Barrister or Solicitor-Advocate, you will be passionate about criminal law, and have substantial experience in providing advice and representation in the Higher Courts. You will demonstrate advanced advocacy skills in a wide range of complex, serious and sensitive criminal… Read more

Public Defender Service – Vulnerable Witness Training

Recent years have seen a shift in the Courts’ approach to the cross examination of vulnerable witnesses, moving away from adversarial questioning to a more evidence-based approach. With Stephen Leslie QC as lead, the Public Defender Service (PDS) has successfully implemented this new philosophy. Facilitators were trained and a roll out of authorised exercises deployed… Read more

Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act 2018

On 13 November 2018, new provisions came into force when dealing with an assault on staff. The Crown Prosecution Service have also released new charging guidance for dealing with these offences and all practitioners will need to be up to date with the change in the law.   Changes?   Section 1(2) of the Act… Read more

Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA)

  Recently at Southampton Crown Court, Stephen Nicholson, a suspect in a murder investigation, pleaded guilty to a charge under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA). It was alleged that he had failed to provide his Facebook password which obstructed the police in their investigations. So does a suspect have to provide their password… Read more

We are recruiting Higher Courts Advocates

The Public Defender Service are seeking to recruit eight experienced criminal Higher Courts Advocates. As a qualified Barrister or Solicitor-Advocate, you will be passionate about criminal law and have substantial experience in providing advice and representation in the Higher Courts. You will demonstrate advanced advocacy skills in a wide range of complex, serious and sensitive… Read more

Sentencing Guideline – Reduction in Sentence for a Guilty Plea

Sentencing Guideline – Reduction in Sentence for a Guilty Plea Simon Perkins 1. The Definitive Sentencing Guideline on Reduction in Sentence for Guilty Pleas came into effect on 1 June 2017 and is applicable both in Magistrates’ and the Crown Court to cases whose first appearance was on or after that date. The Guideline explicitly… Read more

Children First Gloucestershire

Children First is an initiative that has been effective since 1st January 2018 in the Gloucestershire area. The aim is to divert young people from the criminal justice system. The objectives are early intervention, practical and effective partnership working, information sharing and the progressive replacement of criminalising sanctions with restorative practice approaches in child offender… Read more