The Public Defence Service is a unit that operates independently within the Ministry of Justice. PDS provides high-quality criminal legal aid services to people who could not otherwise access them.

Benefits of working with us

The wide variety of work undertaken by the PDS makes it an exciting place to work and PDS is a collaborative and supportive environment.

The PDS offers specialised in-house criminal law training. All staff get the chance to gain the skills and experience they need to work as criminal defence lawyers and to further their careers. You'll get mentoring, external training, and professional networking opportunities.

Our work is all litigation based. This means all lawyers get to spend a lot of time in court and with clients.

 PDS is a key player in the wider criminal bar in New Zealand.

The people we're looking for

The PDS looks for people who are passionate about criminal justice issues, have a strong work ethic, are versatile self-starters and excellent communicators, and are able to build and maintain strong working relationships. Applicants must focus on their clients, and manage multiple pressures and a wide range of tasks.

“I love my job!”

Testimonial – Louise, senior lawyer with the PDS

I have been a senior lawyer with the PDS, for almost 5 years. I love my job! I am proud of the high standard of criminal law defence work that we lawyers at the PDS do for those in the community who cannot afford to pay for their own lawyer. My working environment is a happy one, with supportive colleagues who share my enthusiasm for criminal law and are equally caring of our clients. I enjoy the variety of cases that I deal with and the challenge that each new file presents – to do the best I can for my client. I enjoy appearing in court, whether District or High Court, or Court of Appeal. I enjoy the variety of cases that I deal with, and love running trials. I also have the pleasure, as senior lawyer, of mentoring my less experienced colleagues and assisting them as they develop their skills and expertise.


View current vacancies at the PDS at the Ministry of Justice Careers website(external link)

PDS lawyers at the Court of Appeal

Public Defence Service lawyers outside the Court of Appeal.


Please also visit our LinkedIn page(external link) for career opportunities and updates about PDS.

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