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Chester Borrows

3 December, 2012

Minister opens Christchurch PDS

The Christchurch Public Defence Service (PDS) office will be part of a high quality legal aid system, says Associate Justice Minister Chester Borrows.

At the office’s official opening today, Mr Borrows said the PDS delivers quality defence services to some of the most vulnerable New Zealanders.

“The PDS is an important component of the high quality legal aid system in this country, is well-regarded by judges, prosecutors and court staff, and delivers value for money.”

The PDS is based on an internationally successful model of mixed private/public legal aid provision. The Christchurch office is the 10th PDS office to be opened nationwide, and the last of the planned PDS expansion.

Like other PDS offices now operating in the main centres, the Christchurch office will take up to half of criminal legal aid cases in the Christchurch High and District courts. It will also lead the Christchurch duty lawyer service.

“The PDS is being established at New Zealand’s busiest courts, where there are enough criminal legal aid cases to support both the PDS and private sector criminal law practices.

“Establishing the PDS in those areas allows for benchmarking in terms of both costs and quality of service provided to legal aid clients, and provides an excellent training environment for junior lawyers,” says Mr Borrows.