The Ministry of Justice is managing a recruitment process for these posts in the Public Defender Service. Salaries range from £46036 to £125000. This service is being expanded at the same time as the government's legal aid proposals (i.e. cuts) are likely to make practice at the independent criminal bar unviable, particularly for younger barristers. It would appear that the government would prefer to have a panel of lawyers in their pay rather than to encourage the fully independent criminal lawyer to survive. The true reasons for this can only be guessed at. I know what I think! The salaries on offer (and other benefits such as leave and pension scheme) will no doubt prove irresistible to some because most independent lawyers working on criminal legally aided cases are by no means the "fat cats" which the Ministry of Justice has portrayed them to be.
More about the PDS
may be read in this case study. Lawyers in the PDS operate to a Code of Practice issued under section 29 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.
The Ministry of Justice has announced the appointment of two more Queen's Counsel to the PDS.
Here is a little of the Twitter reaction .....
Government deliberately killing fiercely independent bar to replace it with civil servants beholden to their masters. http://t.co/8NyGafeNyw
— ObiterJ (@ObiterJ) January 20, 2014
MoJ offering salary+perks FAR in excess of what even they say is Bar's "income." @NigelLithman @TheCriminalBar https://t.co/EHCn9evYHr
— Mark Harries (@MRHarries) January 20, 2014
Public defender service up and running. http://t.co/HGlJTNdXh3 Govt. determined to break impasse. It's like the miners all over again.
— London Barrister (@Forthedefence5) January 20, 2014
@RebeccaHerber44 @Forthedefence5 I have 1st hand experience if public defender systems in USA...so many reasons why not fit for purpose
— Alison Gurden (@gurdena) January 20, 2014
.@mojgovuk scores massive own goal by replacing "most expensive legal aid system" with "even more expensive" http://t.co/aUhLjDhF1b
— The CBA (@TheCriminalBar) January 20, 2014
Public: Pound for pound the best criminal advocates exist at the independent bar. Why? Only the best survive rigours of practice. #NoToPDS
— David Malone (@ukbarrister) January 20, 2014
@thecriminalbar Public Defender Service costs taxpayers 40% to 90% MORE than high street legal aid firms. FACT http://t.co/WL2mWlHbrS
— Paul Tubb (@pmtubb) January 20, 2014
Times reports lawyers 'being recruited to join state-run defender service' ..the PDS 'in attempt to break the dispute..over L A fees'
— carnybull (@carnybull) January 20, 2014