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Prosecution services

Key Occupations in this sector are:

  • Legal staff which includes;
  • Legal Trainees
  • Prosecutors
  • Caseworkers
  • Administrators

In general, legal staff represents one-third of the workforce (approximately 3,500).

There are three routes into the CPS as a Crown Prosecutor:

  • As a Legal Trainee in the CPS Legal Trainee Scheme
  • As an solicitor who is admitted in England and Wales with a full current practising certificate
  • As a barrister called to the English Bar who has completed pupillage.

Annually the CPS recruits for trainee barristers and solicitors. Applicants need to have completed the Legal Practice Course (LPC) or Bar Vocational Course (BVC) or be in the final year of study to apply. It is only when the scheme is completed and solicitor and barrister qualifications are obtained that the Legal trainee can progress to a Crown Prosecutor. Legal Trainees are also appointed from internal candidates. Crown Prosecutors need:

  • Excellent skills in advocacy and personal organisation,
  • Ability to work effectively within a team;
  • Have sound judgment
  • Capacity to work accurately under pressure are essential.

Crown Prosecutor initially work on the more straightforward cases but should progress quickly to deal with more complex casework. Crown Prosecutors can progress to be either Senior Crown Prosecutors or Crown Advocates.

Senior Crown Prosecutor (SCP) review, provide advice in and present cases at magistrates court. They analyse, review, prepare and prosecute a wide range of case, and will be expected to have up-to-date knowledge of criminal offences ranging from motoring to murder.

Crown Advocates are a key element to strengthen the prosecution process in the CPS. Crown Advocates:

  • Analyse, review, prepare and present a wide range of cases in the Crown Court and the Court of Appeal
  • Are expected to have an up-to-date knowledge of all criminal offences and will maintain a high volume of casework, which will include the review of more serious and complex cases

Caseworkers provide administrative support, help prepare case files for court and help ensure smooth communication with other members of the criminal justice system. Whether it is typing up case notes, filling in forms, filing or acting as the first point of contact, caseworkers are the bedrock which enables the prosecution team to work effectively and efficiently. Skills needed by caseworkers include:

  • Deals with others professionally and respectfully
  • Able to absorb and react to information quickly
  • Prioritises work and manages own time effectively
  • Communicates calmly and effectively to all levels.
  • Able to make decisions independently
  • Ability to adapt to changing circumstances

Alongside the legal staff, CPS employs a wide variety of professionals in areas such as:

  • Communication
  • Equality and diversity
  • Human resources
  • Administration


Emerging jobs:

Associate Prosecutors

Legislation has been introduced permitting Crown Prosecution Service staff who are not lawyers, to review and present in magistrates courts a limited range of cases involving straightforward guilty pleas (e.g shoplifting, possession of cannabis).

Under the supervision of experienced Crown Prosecutors, Associate Prosecutors divide their time between police stations, where they review cases, and local magistrates courts.

The Associate Prosecutor role provides a clear progression path from Administrative roles to Prosecutor roles in the CPS. Caseworkers who pass a testing training course, validated by an external body, and are formally designated by the Director of Public Prosecutions, can undertake some of the Magistrates Court work.

Source: Skills for Justice LMI March 2010