Public Defense Standards & Guidelines

NACDL is committed to ensuring quality representation for all accused individuals and has set out to help reform inadequate state and local indigent defense systems through technical assistance, public education, advocacy, and litigation.  Available below are materials from the Department of Justice and other organizations discussing Right to Counsel standards and guidelines.

Department of Justice

Keeping Defender Workloads Manageable, Bureau of Justice Assistance, U.S. Department of Justice, January 2001

Contracting for Indigent Defense Services, Bureau of Justice Assistance, U.S. Department of Justice, April 2000


Criminal Justice Standards, American Bar Association 

When excessive Public Defender Workloads Violate the Sixth Amendment Right to Counsel Without a Showing of Prejudice, Laurence A. Brenner, American Constitutional Society for Law and Policy, March 2011

Eligibility for Justice: Guidelines for Appointing Defense Counsel, Access to Justice Program, Brennan Center for Justice, 2008

Formal Ethics Opinion 06-441: Ethical Obligations of Lawyers who Represent Indigent Criminal Defendants when Excessive Caseloads Interfere with Competent and Diligent Representation, Standing Committee on Ethics & Professional Responsibility, American Bar Association, May 2006

Ten Principles of a Public Defense Delivery System, Standing Committee On Legal Aid And Indigent Defense, American Bar Association, February 2002

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