Ann Evans, Senior Crown Advocate - Hertfordshire
In 2005, after 22 years legal practice with the Independent Bar I made the change to join the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). During my time at the Bar I had been prosecuting serious sex offences for Hertfordshire CPS. As years passed 75% of my practice became with Hertfordshire allowing me to build strong relationships with members of the CPS. Therefore when the Pathfinder pilot scheme for Higher Court Advocates (HCA) began in Hertfordshire and Hampshire I was approached and gently persuaded by Charles Ingham (Chief Crown Prosecutor CCP for Hertfordshire) of the benefits of joining the organisation. I was convinced and initially joined as Senior Crown Prosecutor and was given HCA exemption.
For me the change made sense, to work within an organisation rather than being a satellite which effectively is what a member of the independent bar is to the CPS - seemed like the right choice to make. As I already had 22 years of experience at the bar there was no need for any further training, it was just a matter of taking advantage of the changed HCA structure when it started.
The promised benefits became a reality immediately, working within such a large organisation I have the back up to prepare cases more efficiently. I work in the same office as a range of colleagues including law clerks, admin assistants and witness care teams who can assist me in my preparations. This is not a luxury that you are afforded at the independent bar and this camaraderie is one of the key advantages of working for the CPS.
The promised benefits became a reality immediately...Other professional benefits of my change to CPS employment are the variety and complexity of cases that I have the opportunity to prosecute. As the most senior advocate in the department I am given the most serious types of crime to prosecute. I have prosecuted a number of murders, including a 7 handed murder at the Old Bailey, I have also prosecuted a number of other types of serious cases, such as frauds where I have led for the Crown. I don't believe that I would have been given such an exciting range of challenging cases if I had stayed at the independent bar.
This variety extends to the day to day responsibilities of my role; I do not have a typical working week as such. My workload falls into two main categories: time spent in court prosecuting serious cases; and days in the office reviewing files and making charging decisions on serious cases, e.g. corporate manslaughter, child abuse, cases which involve vulnerable victims and those with mental health problems. In addition to this, because of my seniority I am now an accredited pupil supervisor and will be taking my first pupil within the CPS in October, an additional role I am very much looking forward to.
Despite this many faceted role, the flexible working opportunities provided by the CPS allow me to maintain a healthy work-life balance. While challenged by a demanding role I still have the opportunity to arrange my life so that I can make those all important sports days and school plays. Being a successful Crown Advocate without having to give up on some of the pleasures of parenthood is an invaluable advantage to working for the CPS.
I have no regrets regarding my change over from the Independent Bar, quite the opposite; I love my role at the CPS. I can experience challenging work with the unstinting support of colleagues and the security of certainty of income. On top of this I have developed many firm friendships and truly enjoy my job, allowing me job satisfaction that many people are not lucky enough to enjoy.