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FIVE Scottish solicitors have been appointed to staff a public defender pilot scheme in Edinburgh.
The solicitors will provide legal advice, assistance and representation for a random selection of defendants in summary criminal cases for a five-year period.
Three of the defenders - Elaine Crawford, Kenneth Cloggie and Matthew Nicholson - come from More & Co. The two other defenders are Glenn Fraser, of Nigel Beaumont & Co, and Jill Malloy, of Drummond Miller, both based in Edinburgh.
All five are leaving their firms to join a new Public Defence Solicitors Office (PDSO), headed by director Alistair Watson.
They will take on 15 per cent of the criminal legal aid cases in their catchment area, about 1,500 in all.
Defendants whose date of birth is in January or February of any year will be chosen at random.
Watson said: "The Scottish Office Central Research Unit will be independently monitoring the office."
Iain Read, president of the Glasgow Bar Association, said: "The PDSO makes no secret of the fact that its primary motivation is to do the job more cheaply than a private firm, and that cannot be done without cutting corners."