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Public Funding Notes

BPTC Law Notes > BPTC Criminal Litigation Notes

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A more recent version of these Public Funding notes – written by City Law School students – is available here.

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Public Funding for Legal Representation and Advice Criminal Defence Service (CDS)


CDS is a branch of the Legal Services Commission (LSC) which runs the legal aid scheme in England and Wales, CDS deals with criminal legal aid

2 ways in which an individual may be helped:
* Advice and assistance, and
* Representation Advice and Assistance LSC funds advice and assistance as it considers appropriate to:
* Individuals who are arrested and held in custody at a police station or other premises, and
* in certain circumstances, for individuals who are otherwise involved in investigations which may lead to criminal proceedings, or are before a court in such proceedings Includes help from a solicitor by giving general advice, writing letters, negotiating, obtaining counsel's opinion and preparing a written case. Merits Test To receive advice and assistance, applicant must pass the "merits test" - establish the case has sufficient merit to justify the grant of publicly funded assistance. Test: solicitor must be satisfied that the advice involves an issue concerning English law, there is sufficient benefit to the client (having regard to the matter and client's personal circumstances) to justify work being carried out.
* Test passed automatically for purpose of advice given in a police station. No means test for assistance given to people questioned by police (whether or not arrested, whether or not at police station) LSC will only fund other advice and assistance if the individual's capital and income within the current financial limits.

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