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Peru: Public Defender Service

(June 30, 2009) On May 13, 2009, President Alan Garcia Perez of Peru signed the Law on the Public Defender Service that regulates the purpose, principles, functions, types and conditions, and organization of the service, as well as access to it. The purpose of the Service is to assure the right to defense through financial assistance and free legal and technical advice, in matters expressly established, to persons without economic resources and in other cases specifically determined by the law. Effective and high-quality service for clients is to be provided and such service is to be guided by the principles of solicitude, functional independence, confidentiality, continuity, being free of charge, and cultural diversity.

The Public Defender Service is the responsibility of the Directorate General of Public Defense of the Ministry of Justice. The Service comprises public defenders, members of the Directorate and appointed public defenders, who are lawyers incorporated into the Service through agreements of cooperation acknowledged by professional colleges and universities. The Law specifies the requirements to be met to become a public defender and defines the rights and duties of public defenders.

The Law also deals with verification of the socio-economic situation of the client and the situations in which clients can lose access to free services. It repeals Law No. 27019, which created the “National Defenders Service ex Officio” as well as articles 67-71 and 229(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure. (Law No. 29360, EL PERUANO [the official gazette], May 14, 2009, available at