The practice of criminal law supports people charged with committing illegal acts; some examples of these offences are burglary, homicide and assault. There are multiple Melbourne criminal defence lawyers who’s job it is to defend and prosecute people charged with these crimes. The Australian court system is divided into Higher Magistrates’ and Children’s Courts. The former deals with illicit acts, whilst the latter focuses on wrongdoings committed by people under age. On average in Australia, there are about 600,000 cases across all courts every year. Everybody in Australia has the right to a defense, but what happens if someone isn’t about to afford a Melbourne criminal lawyer? In this situation, the state offers public defenders, these are in house defenders employed by the state that offer representation to offenders that are unable to afford it. Here is everything you need to know about public defenders.
- Public defenders are provided by each state’s Legal Aid, so Melbourne Criminal Lawyers who work as public defenders are provided by Victoria Legal Aid. The job of a public defender is to represent people charged with serious offences who have been granted legal assistance. These Melbourne criminal lawyers do not take on private cases and work solely for those who have been offered a grant. They offer representation in all sectors of law, including criminal, family and civil law.
- Most attorneys who work for big firms report to the head of the company they work for whereas public defenders have a different set up. All public defenders, including some Melbourne Criminal Lawyers, are under the management of a Senior Public Defender. Their job is to ensure that all public defenders conduct themselves correctly and defend every client equally. As well as this, the Senior Public Defender advises the Attorney General on law reforms.
- Public defenders have many different roles incorporated into their job. Similarly, to any Melbourne Criminal Lawyer, they are tasked with advising and appearing with illegal proceedings.
- It is a common misconception that public defenders are under skilled or sub-par attorneys. However, these legal professionals have the same qualifications and have just as much experience as any other Melbourne criminal lawyer. The only difference is that these professionals have chosen to work for the state and defend those without money, instead of working for a big firm. Public defenders are some of the most hard working solicitor’s country wide.
- There are quite strict hiring regulations for public defenders. They may be offered a position for up to 7 years after a standard probation period of 12 months as an acting public defender. This is to ensure that the Melbourne criminal lawyer in question is suitable for the position. At the end of every 7-year period, if the attorney wishes to continue for another 7 years, they must be reviewed by a committee.
- Not every case is accepted by public defenders; sometimes requests are denied due to a conflict of interest, however the most common reason is due to a lack of available public defenders.
- As well as defending clients, public defenders often have a large involvement in government policy development. Therefore, many attorneys from different states play an integral part in law reform. These Melbourne criminal lawyers are often invited to attend committees and advisory groups.
- The main funding for public defense is from the department of Justice. Each year public defenders are given a budget to carry out their services. The majority of this funding is spent on employee expenses.
Although public defenders often have a bad reputation, there really is no reasoning behind this. Every Australian state has its own rules regarding public defenders, however each state has to follow strict guidelines. These Melbourne criminal lawyers play an integral part in Australia’s law reform. After reading these 8 facts, hopefully next time you hear the term public defender you will be better informed about what it actually means.