All requests for publicly funded police station work, including own solicitor requests, must be made through the Defence Solicitor Call Centre (DSCC).
If the call centre can’t make contact with a client’s own solicitor within two hours, a duty solicitor will be sent. Clients may change to their own solicitor at a later stage if their case goes to court.
The DSCC records basic details of the alleged offence before passing the case on to a duty solicitor.
The centre is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. At present it receives over 860,000 calls from police stations each year and makes over 900,000 outgoing calls to solicitors.
What if I’m instructed by a client’s family or friends?
If you’re contacted directly by a client's family or friends and asked to give advice at the police station, you must call the DSCC before accepting the case.
This is to check whether the client hasn't already requested a different solicitor (own or duty).
If the DSCC has already allocated the work to another solicitor then you cannot accept the case.
Changing your contact details
You must notify the DSCC quickly of any changes to your contact details or update them online at www.dutysolicitors.org
The DSCC does not support any rota used by providers to cover out of hours private client work. The DSCC will first contact the named individual. If they can’t reach them they will try other members of the firm.
Where rotas are used, providers must ensure that the appropriate person is contactable on the number provided for out of hours work.
CDS Direct – notification of a client’s court appearance
CDS Direct provides telephone advice to clients detained at police stations in England and Wales.
CDS Direct covers offences limited to telephone only advice under the Crime Contract – eg
drink driving offences
breach of bail
If a client asks that their own solicitor represents them in court, CDS Direct will notify the client’s solicitor by telephone using the appropriate number registered with DSCC for that time of day.Police station representatives
In addition to duty solicitors Police Station Representatives can attend the police station to give advice and assistance to detainees.
There are two categories of Police Station Representative:
Accredited Representatives can give advice paid for by the LSC at the police station in certain circumstances – see Appendix 1 of the 'information for police station representatives' below.
A Probationary Representative has not completed the Accreditation Process and can only give advice paid for by the LSC at the police station during a 12 month Probationary Period.
Police station fixed fees
The magistrates’ court duty solicitor scheme is available for clients who arrive for their court hearing without any prior representation in place.
DVPOs have been added to the list of ‘prescribed proceedings’ for which the court duty solicitor can advise. The relevant statutory instrument is on the legislation website.
In the event of either a breach of the DVPN or DVPO, police station advice and assistance and the magistrates’ court duty solicitor scheme will apply in the usual way.