The Public Defender Service (PDS) provides specialist advice to members of the Armed Forces or others subject to Military Law, who find themselves under investigation by Service Police. We provide representation at any subsequent hearing in a Court Martial.

Interview under caution

Anyone interviewed under caution by the Special Investigation Branch (SIB) or Service Police as a suspect, whether in the UK or elsewhere, has the right to free legal advice during any interview. An interview under caution is part of a formal process of investigation. We strongly advise anyone being investigated or interviewed to take up their right to free legal advice.

We provide representation in interview at any time of day or night. This ensures that your interests are protected from the outset.

Many SIB and Service Police interviews are conducted on a voluntary basis by prior arrangement. Contact us before the interview to enable us to arrange representation.

Our lawyers regularly attend to represent clients in interview and are experienced in advising on the full range of criminal and military offences. In addition to interviews in the UK, we have attended to represent clients based in Cyprus, Gibraltar, Germany, Estonia and Kosovo.

Representation

Following any investigation and subject to eligibility under the Armed Forces Criminal Legal Aid Scheme, an experienced Advocate will attend to assist with advice and to represent you in the proceedings.

Summary Appeal Court

If you are a member of the Armed Forces who elects to appeal against a summary finding before your Commanding Officer, we can advise and represent you throughout the appeal process.

Court Martial

When a member of the Armed Forces elects, or is directed for, trial before a Court Martial, we assist by preparing the case from an early stage. We advise fully on the evidence, contact defence witnesses, obtain their statements, commission expert evidence when appropriate and provide representation at each hearing before the Court Martial.

In the event of a finding of guilt, we advise upon appeal. We draft the necessary documents in support of appeal proceedings and provide representation at the appeal hearing.

Service Civilian Court

When a person subject to Military Law, such as a dependent child, is dealt with before the Service Civilian Court, we provide the same service as that for Court Martial cases.

Contact Us

If you require advice or assistance at any time please contact our Darlington Office on 01325 289 480 or via email: pdsdarlington@justice.gov.uk.