The Legal Aid Practitioners Group has today written to legal aid Minister Vera Baird QC MP, demanding a date for publication of the final research report into the Public Defender Service (PDS).
Director Richard Miller said, "For many months now, we have been told that the release of the research into the PDS is 'imminent'. It is in the public interest that this report is published immediately so that we can all judge whether the PDS has managed to deliver the value for money and quality that the Government demands from private practice lawyers. If it has been a success, then the sooner we can all learn the lessons of this service, the sooner clients and taxpayers can reap the benefits.
"If, on the other hand, it has not, then the Government may need to acknowledge some difficult truths about the delivery of criminal defence services, and take some tough decisions about the future of the PDS.
"There will also be important evidence in this report that will be relevant to Lord Carter's proposals for the procurement of criminal defence services, which are expected very soon.
"Either way, this report must be published forthwith."
LAPG is an independent grass roots movement, representing around 600 firms at the heart of the provision of publicly funded legal services.