The Public Defence Service employs experienced criminal defence lawyers who will act with integrity, skill, and respect for the client. PDS lawyers are committed to achieving the best possible outcomes for our clients. We're committed to progressing your case at every appearance and will guide you through the court process with regular and clear communication.

We specialise in all criminal defence work, regardless of the nature of the charge, ranging from drink driving to murder.

The service you can expect from us

We're dedicated to providing our clients with excellent service. Your PDS lawyer will:

  • have the skills and qualifications needed to deliver a high-quality legal service
  • treat you fairly and respectfully
  • talk with you about what you want to achieve, and the best way to do that
  • follow your reasonable instructions as they progress your case
  • keep you informed, about their work for you, and the progress of your case
  • let you know how to make a complaint, any complaint will be dealt with promptly and fairly.

What you can do to get the best from your PDS lawyer

  • Let your lawyer know if your phone numbers or address changes.
  • Be on time for any meetings with your lawyer or court appearances.
  • Tell your lawyer about anything that can affect the way your case progresses.
  • Let your lawyer know if anything changes that can affect your case.
  • Get back to your lawyer quickly when they need to talk to you about your case.
  • Treat your lawyer with courtesy and respect.

Conflict of interest

You and your case are the top priority of your PDS lawyer. They are required by law to act in your best interests, unless it means breaking the law or breaching the Rules of conduct and client care for lawyers.

Sometimes it might not be in your best interest to have your lawyer continue representing you. PDS will be careful to identify any potential conflicts; if we find any; we will tell you and will follow the Rules of conduct and client care for lawyers(external link)

Your information is private

The PDS will keep all information about you and your case private, even once we stop representing you, unless you tell us to tell someone else. We will destroy your file seven years after we stop working with you.

There may be rare occasions when we are required by law or the Rules of conduct and client care for lawyers to disclose the information.


The PDS takes complaints very seriously. We aim to deal with them promptly and fairly. If you would like to make a complaint please contact the relevant PDS office and ask to speak to the Public Defender.

Find PDS offices.

The New Zealand Law Society also runs a complaint service – you can call them on 0800 261 801.

Professional indemnity insurance

The PDS does not hold professional indemnity insurance. In the event that a successful claim is brought against a PDS lawyer, any settlement of costs would be paid by the government.

 Iamge of a lawyer and client in court

Lawyer and client in court

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