1.1 During the year under review, the Duty Lawyer Scheme had represented 30,417 defendants charged with criminal offences in the Magistrates’ and Juvenile Courts, representing a decrease of 2.97% over the previous year. The number of subjects represented in Care or Protection Proceedings in the Juvenile Courts was 355 representing a decrease of 16.67%. The Convention Against Torture (CAT) Scheme had handled 1,618 claims representing an increase of 27.40% over the previous year. The Free Legal Advice Scheme had utilized 770 volunteer lawyers at 9 evening centers advising 6,596 persons representing a decrease of 1.18% over the previous year. The Tel Law Scheme had recorded a total of 18,482 calls representing a decrease of 5.05% over the previous year. The Service’s website had recorded 274,618 hits, representing a decrease of 19.70% over the previous year.
1.2 Upon the expiration of the one year pilot CAT Scheme on 24 December 2010 and at the invitation of the Government, the Duty Lawyer Service has agreed to continue to operate the CAT Scheme until 31 December 2013.
1.3 There have been remarkable improvements to the interviewing facilities in the cell holding area in various Magistracies since 2010.
1.4 The Audit Commission has commenced a four months value for money full audit on the Duty Lawyer Service which was commenced on 10 October 2011 and was completed on 2 February 2012. The Audit Commission whilst being generally satisfied with the Duty Lawyer Service’ operation and has given the Duty Lawyer Service a clean bill of health, has however also found room for improvement on the Duty Lawyer Service and has made a number of recommendations. The Duty Lawyer Service has agreed to implement all the recommendations.