Crown Prosecution Service lawyer: job description

Crown Prosecution Service lawyer: job description

Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) lawyers are qualified solicitors and barristers responsible for reviewing and advising about all prosecution cases initiated by the police and for prosecuting cases in magistrates' courts and Crown Courts throughout England and Wales.
The Crown Prosecution Service was established in 1985 by the Prosecution of Offences Act to operate independently of the police in the prosecution of criminal cases in England and Wales.

What does a CPS lawyer do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

The government's Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) employs Crown Prosecution Service lawyers, known as crown prosecutors. They are responsible for examining police evidence, deciding whether to take criminal proceedings through to court prosecution stage, preparing cases for court and conducting prosecutions. Other responsibilities include:

  • liaising with the police, court staff, defence solicitors, victims of crime etc
  • instructing and advising counsel in Crown Court cases
  • helping to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the criminal justice system
  • collaborating with other criminal justice/law enforcement agencies
  • ensuring that alleged criminal offenders are dealt with fairly

Early applications are essential at all academic and vocational stages. Pupillages for barristers are listed in TARGETjobs Law. For many, you must apply via the online Pupillage Portal.

Trainee contracts for solicitors may be arranged up to two years in advance and are advertised in careers services and publications such as TARGETjobs Law. Vacancies for qualified legal professionals appear in national newspapers, The Lawyer and the Law Gazette.

Qualifications and training required

Graduates from any academic background can train as a barrister/solicitor and work for the CPS, but an excellent record of academic achievement is necessary. Qualification is via the bar professional training course (BPTC) for intending barristers or the legal practice course (LPC) for intending solicitors. Graduates without a law degree must also pass a conversion course, often referred to as the CPE or GDL.

Following academic qualification, barristers must take a vocational 'pupillage' (comprising training, job shadowing and possibly small case work) for a minimum of one year, while solicitors must undertake a two-year Law Society approved training contract. Pupils can spend their entire pupillage with the CPS, but trainee solicitors will be seconded to other practices to gain the breadth of experience expected by the Law Society

Key skills for Crown Prosecution Service lawyers

  • Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written
  • Teamwork
  • Reasoning
  • Decision making
  • Advocacy

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