/Criminal Defence Service (CDS)

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