Legal Dictionary » Legal Terms » DUTY SOLICITOR

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What is a Duty Solicitor?

In the United Kingdom a duty solicitor is a solicitor whose services are available to a person either suspected of, or charged with a criminal offence pro bono (free of charge) if the person does not have access to a solicitor of their own.

In England and Wales there are two duty solicitor schemes which operate in parallel:

  • The Police Station Duty Solicitor scheme enables a person who is arrested on suspicion of a criminal offence to consult with a solicitor, either in person or on the telephone, or both, whilst in police custody. This right is most often taken up when the suspect is to be interviewed concerning their suspected involvement in the commission of a crime.
  • The Court Duty Solicitor scheme allows a person that has already been charged with an offence to consult with and be represented by a solicitor at the Magistrates' Court on their first appearance if they do not have, or simply have not contacted, their own solicitor.

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