POCA Section 22

There has been a significant rise across the UK in applications pursuant to section 22 Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA). This section of POCA allows the Prosecution to ask the Court to reconsider the ‘available amount’ of a confiscation order where there was a disparity between the benefit figure and the original available amount, there… Read more

Prison Law

Having recently joined the Public Defender Service, I am very pleased to announce I will be working alongside colleagues in our other offices now providing prison law advice/advocacy in the North East from my base in Darlington. I am passionate about prison law. I commenced my legal career in 2003 as a Prison Law Secretary… Read more

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

City and County of Swansea v Mr A G

Committal proceedings for contempt Following a professional referral, the PDS received instructions to act for an adult client facing contempt of court proceedings at Swansea County Court. This followed an allegation that he had breached his civil injunction/court order. Civil contempt/breach proceedings are classed as criminal proceedings and are covered by criminal legal aid, applied for… 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