PDSO, the Public Defence Solicitors’ Office, provides advice and representation in criminal cases. Anyone entitled to legal aid can use PDSO's services.
We have a team of experienced solicitors and solicitor advocates who provide high quality advice and representation in all criminal matters. Public Defence Solicitors are all members of the Law Society of Scotland and are bound by the same standards of professional conduct that all solicitors in Scotland have. In addition we have our own code of conduct for Public Defence Solicitors.
PDSO started as a five-year pilot to compare criminal legal aid given by private solicitors with that given by salaried solicitors we employed in the PDSO. The Scottish Executive published a detailed research report in 2001, which concluded that the pilot had been worthwhile and had created much useful information on how criminal legal aid was working. Scottish Ministers decided they would continue the PDSO and in October 2003, Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson announced that the two new offices would open in Inverness and Glasgow.
In 2007, the then Deputy Justice Minister, Hugh Henry, asked that PDSO be expanded and offices were opened in Ayr, Dundee, Falkirk and Kirkwall. In 2008, the Scottish Government published a further report on the feasibility of the provision of criminal legal services by Public Defence Solicitors.
Today, PDSO operates nationally across Scotland and can help individuals who have a case calling in any Scottish court.