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CPS announces appointments to new Advocate Panels

19/01/2012

The anxious wait is over today for barristers and solicitors from around England and Wales who applied to join the new Crown Prosecution Service Advocate Panel.

The CPS is the country's largest law firm, and will now be able to draw on a refreshed pool of high quality advocates to act on its behalf in the Crown Court and Higher Courts.

Keir Starmer QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions, said: "The creation of the CPS Advocate Panel is a turning point in prosecution advocacy which will shape the way in which we instruct cases for the next generation of advocates. It is crucial that the CPS can instruct the very best advocates to present our cases from both within and outside the organisation, and this scheme means we now have a pool of quality assured barristers and solicitors with the talent and experience to do that.

"Of those who applied, nearly three quarters (74 per cent) were successful in gaining a place on the panel at the level they applied for, with a further 17 per cent being offered a position at the next panel down.

"Previously, advocates were selected from a list of around 4,500 individuals and the CPS will now draw on a pool of about 2,580 successful applicants who have been through an open and rigorous selection process.

"As a result of this process those members of the self-employed Bar and solicitors who have a place on an advocate panel will now have a greater opportunity to undertake advocacy work on behalf of the CPS."

Advocates who applied were placed in one of four levels, so that the work they are given at least matches their ability, knowledge and experience. About 236 or nine per cent of applicants were not successful for a place on the panel, although 75 of those are on a reserve list.

Applications were received from 2,816 candidates, and now that their applications have been evaluated and moderated by members of the CPS and the independent Bar, 2,580 barristers and solicitors have succeeded in their applications and will begin providing the CPS with quality-assured advocacy. It is expected that the Panels will be operational from 1 February.

Mr Starmer said: "The scheme was developed in close co-operation with the Bar Council, and was run with the assistance of many members of the independent Bar itself. We are grateful for their support, and for the positive feedback we have received on the thoroughness, fairness and transparency with which the scheme was conducted. We are also grateful to the Law Society and their broad support of these proposals on behalf of solicitor advocates.

"Applicants will be told of the result of their application in the coming days and the selection process for the specialist Panels to be used by the CPS Central Casework Divisions will now begin."

Any applicants who are not successful have the right to appeal that decision. Those advocates who are currently representing the CPS in ongoing cases and have not been successful in obtaining a place on an Advocate Panel will continue to represent the CPS until their cases come to an end.

The process of appeals can also be found on the CPS website here.

Ends

Notes to Editors

  1. Additional information: Previous number of advocates on CPS list: around 4,500
    Number of applicants for Advocate Panel scheme: 2,816
    Number of applicants successful at level applied for: 2,094 (74 per cent)
    Number of applicants successful at level below that applied for: 486 (17 per cent)
    Number of applicants with a place on a panel (either at level applied for or for one below): 2,582 (91 per cent)
    Number of applicants on the reserve list: 75 (3 per cent)
    Number of unsuccessful applicants (not on any Panel or reserve list): 161 (6 per cent)
  2. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906; Out of Hours Pager 07699 781 926
  3. The DPP has set out what the public can expect from the CPS in the Core Quality Standards document published in March 2010.
  4. The CPS consists of 13 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). In addition, there are three specialised national divisions: Central Fraud Division, Special Crime and Counter Terrorism, and Organised Crime. From 1 September 2011, The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) prosecution function was transferred to the CPS.  A telephone service, CPS Direct, provides out-of-hours advice and decisions to police officers across England and Wales.
  5. In 2010 2011 the CPS employed around 7,745 people and prosecuted 957,881 cases with 116,898 of these in the Crown Court, and the remaining 840,983 in the magistrates' courts. Of those we prosecuted, 93,106 defendants were convicted in the Crown Court and 727,491 in the magistrates' courts. In total 86% of cases prosecuted resulted in a conviction. Further information can be found on the CPS website.
  6. The CPS, together with ACPO and media representatives, has developed a Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media. This sets out the type of prosecution material that will normally be released, or considered for release, together with the factors we will take into account when considering requests. Read the Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media.