Advanced Search

Rape and Sexual Offences:         Chapter 16: Briefing & Monitoring the Advocate 


Accreditation and Monitoring

The Crown Prosecution Service is committed to ensuring that each case of rape is prosecuted effectively. In order to meet this objective, prosecutors must ensure that only advocates possessing the right skills are briefed to conduct such cases.
In 2006 an agreement between the CPS and the Criminal Bar Association was reached that included a framework of accreditation and monitoring of advocates who wish to prosecute rape cases.

The basic principles are:

  • Only advocates who have been appointed to the CPS Advocate Panel Rape and Child Sexual Abuse List may prosecute rape and child sexual abuse;
  • Advocates must have attended a CPS accredited training course AND demonstrated the right skills whilst being monitored.
  • Accredited courses are run by the various circuits and accredited by Strategy and Policy Directorate;
  • Advocates must attend a minimum of one such course every four years;
  • Any monitoring of advocates should be according to the criteria set out in the Principles document. It is good practice to use the Advocacy Skills Assessment form (Annex A of this guidance). It should be noted that the monitoring does not have to be completed in relation to one single case;
  • A person with suitable knowledge and experience should carry out any monitoring and if necessary, it can be completed by more than one person. Completed forms should be retained for reference;
  • An advocate need only be monitored by one CPS Area if he/she is on several area lists. 

The Brief to The Advocate

It is essential that the brief to the advocate contains detailed information covering all relevant issues contained in the Rape Prosecutions Advice/Review Checklist (ANNEX D).

A conference with the trial advocate, the officer in the case, the forensic physician, and any other expert witnesses should be arranged at the earliest possible opportunity.

The advocate should be instructed to attend early special measures meetings to enable him or her to meet the witness.

The advocate should also be instructed to provide a written advice on lessons to be learned in the event of an acquittal.

The Instructed Advocate

Wherever possible the instructed advocate should conduct the hearing including defence applications for bail and other interloctory hearings. Where they are not available another accredited advocate from the same Chambers (or a CPS rape specialist in the case of an in-house HCA) should conduct the hearing having been briefed by the instructed advocate. Where no such alternative advocate is available, a non-accredited advocate (or non-rape specialist HCA) may be instructed but only where the instructed advocate is able to speak directly to their replacement and ensure they are fully briefed on the circumstances of the case.

The aim of this guidance is to ensure that rape cases are prosecuted to the highest possible standard and if not by the instructed advocate by an alternative advocate who is fully briefed by the instructed advocate on all relevant matters.

Top of page