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The public defence solicitors office : An independant evaluation

Goriely, Tamara and McCrone, P and Duff, P and Knapp, M. and Henry, A and Tata, Cyrus and Lancaster, B and Sherr, A. (2001) The public defence solicitors office : An independant evaluation. [Report]

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The Public Defence Solicitors' Office (PDSO) was established in Edinburgh on 1 October 1998. The enabling legislation required that it be formally evaluated, and a report presented to Parliament within three years. Research was therefore commissioned to compare criminal defence services delivered through the PDSO with those delivered through private practice solicitors under the legal aid scheme. The comparison was undertaken with reference to four criteria: · cost-effectiveness; · the quality of services provided; · client satisfaction; and · the contribution of each delivery method to the efficiency of the criminal justice system, including the impact on the courts, the Procurator Fiscal service, the police and the judiciary. This study was confined to representation in summary proceedings (that is, proceedings without a jury). During the period of the study, the Office did not undertake solemn work, before a judge and jury.