Public defender in a criminal case
In criminal proceedings and pre-trial investigations, the defendant is under certain circumstances entitled to a public defender regardless of his or her financial situation. A public defender will be appointed on request for a suspect of an aggravated offence and for a person who has been arrested or detained. The court may on its own initiative appoint a public defender for a person under 18 years of age and for a person incapable of seeing to his or her own defence.
An appointment as a public defender will be given to a Public Legal Aid Attorney, an Advocate or other lawyer licensed to assist clients in trials for legal assistance. Normally, the person nominated by the defendant is appointed as the public defender.
The fee of the public defender is paid by the State. If the defendant is convicted of an offence, he or she is obligated to reimburse the State for the defender’s fee. If, however, the means of the defendant are such that he or she would be entitled to legal aid, the obligation to reimburse the State will be determined accordingly.