Public defense institutions are often the last resort for vulnerable populations seeking to protect and enforce their rights through the legal system. They provide advice, representation, and often contribute to legislative reform activities through test cases for citizens who would otherwise remain unprotected. The organization and operation of public defense institutions differs widely, and these procedures and policies can have wide ranging effects on client representation. In many countries, despite a constitutional right to public defense, it is often difficult to access representation; and poor citizens are forced to turn to NGOs, law schools and even Bar Associations to provide the most basic of services. Given that public defense institutions are often financed by the government, they are often subject to political pressure and influence.
Executive Session on Public Defense, US
Details the 1991-2001 Executive Session on Public Defense hosted by Harvard University. Includes full text on-line availability of two papers published by the US Department of Justice in 2001 on US public defense reform. Also includes useful links to other publications and resource institutions.
National Legal Aid and Defender Association, US
Information on membership, current issues, training, conferences, professional standards, and links as well as full text on-line availability of publications and other resources. The site focus is on US public defense.
Web Cites for Federal Defenders
Site maintained by a Federal Public Defender. It contains free publications, links to courts and federal defenders, information on judges as well as general information on federal defenders.
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