Life as a prosecutor in the Crown Prosecution Service
The CPS and the Kalisher Trust, a charity dedicated to inspiring and enabling criminal advocates of the future, have revealed a behind-the-scenes look at life as a prosecutor.
In a series of four videos filmed during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, CPS prosecutors discuss their routes into the CPS, training and day-to-day experiences.
The videos are designed to help aspiring prosecutors learn more about what the CPS can offer and give a glimpse of life at the CPS to anyone interested in knowing more about life as a prosecutor.
The Director of Public Prosecutions, Max Hill QC, has a long association with the Trust and currently supports their work as a trustee. In the first video, he introduced the CPS’ commitment to recruiting top talent and ensuring people have access to the right training and development in order to become expert advocates.
Reflecting on the short films, the Director of Public Prosecutions said: “It is more important than ever that talented students consider joining the legal professions and working as publicly-funded lawyers. We need the brightest and the best, regardless of background, to provide the next generation at the criminal Bar as well as at the Crown Prosecution Service. I am delighted to have been involved in these videos which give a great insight into working life at the CPS, and I am particularly pleased they have been produced in collaboration with the Kalisher Trust, a charity I have been involved with for many years and whose aims I am proud to support.”
Vice-Chair of the Kalisher Trust, Dr Camilla Darling, said: “The Kalisher Trust supports all those with the talent and dedication needed to reach the publicly-funded Bar. We provide information, guidance, mentoring and more to those from under-represented groups, recognising that ability and diversity go hand in hand. We hope that aspiring barristers watching this series of short films see that the Bar has a place for them. The Trust offers practical support to talented young people as they navigate toward this rewarding vocational career, representing some of the most vulnerable in society, and we look forward to working with those who watch these films and see a career they want to pursue.”
For more information about a career at the Crown Prosecution Service visit the careers page on the CPS website. More information about the support offered to young and aspiring barristers is available on the Kalisher Trust website.
William Charlesworth, Pupil Barrister
While my route to the Bar is covered in greater detail in Episode One, in short I came to the Bar following a 13-year career within the construction sector, having completed my post A-Level studies predominately on a part-time basis alongside work. Being of a particularly competitive mindset, for me law (and the Bar in particular) offered a varied and challenging career that would provide me with an improved job satisfaction.
Aligning me to the principles of the Kalisher Trust, I value diversity and inclusion greatly and believe the Bar to benefit when operating as a broad and diverse church. As a dyslexic, the first in my family to attend university and a career changer, I am astutely aware how the legal profession can appear daunting and impenetrable at times. It is only through organisations such as the Kalisher Trust that we will truly see those most able candidates, no matter what their background, gain a material foothold within this competitive profession. Like the Kalisher Trust, the CPS also offers significant opportunity no matter what your background. No attention is paid to the school you attended or where you went to university. Instead, when applying for a legal trainee position, you are assessed against a published list of competencies and purely on the basis of your performance. I only need to look at the diverse nature of my intake to see the intended results achieved.
For those looking to develop a career in criminal law, both the Kalisher Trust and the Crown Prosecution Service offer significant support and assistance for those either looking to enter the profession or within the early years of practice and I am grateful to both organisations for the opportunities.
Andre Nwadikwa, Crown Prosecutor
I am a barrister employed by the CPS as a Senior Crown Prosecutor, having joined the organisation as a Pupil in November 2018. After being called to the Bar in 2016, I moved to the Netherlands to pursue an LL.M. (Masters) in Public International Law at Leiden University. My experience prior to joining the CPS is somewhat varied. Internationally, I led an International Criminal Court-focused project with the Kalshoven-Gieskes Forum on International Humanitarian Law; worked as a United Nations Human Rights Advocate for Colombian Caravana and produced legal research for the International Committee of the Red Cross, Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies, Médecins sans Frontières, and a chapter in ‘Annotated Leading Cases of International Criminal Tribunals: The International Criminal Court’. Domestically, I marshalled at the Central Criminal Court, interned at the Cabinet Office, worked as caseworker for a criminal defence firm and undertook a number of criminal mini-pupillages. In addition to my capacity as a Crown Prosecutor, I presently sit on the Employed Barristers’ Committee of the Bar Council and the Leiden Public International Law Society, and am an active member of the Black Men in Law Network.
Carley Green, Pupil Barrister
I attended a state school where I completed my GCSEs. I then progressed onto Greenhead College in Huddersfield where I completed my A-levels. Having studied law at A-level I decided to study it at University and I undertook my undergraduate law degree at the University of Leeds (2015-2018) and was the first in my family to go to University. Whilst at College, I decided that I wanted to become a barrister therefore I attempted to gain as much legal experience as possible to give me an insight into the career I was pursuing. This included mini-pupillages, Judge marshalling, shadowing at solicitor’s firms and volunteering with the Witness Service at Court.
Whilst at University, I then decided I wanted to study the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) at BPP University however as everyone knows it is not cheap! I worked part-time throughout University in order to save for Bar School and to also pay for everyday essentials. I secured a place on the BPTC during my third year of University and like others, I applied for a scholarship with the Inns of Court however I was unsuccessful. Coming from the background I do, money was a huge problem however I did not let this put me off. I secured a £2000 scholarship from BPP after being their Liaison Officer whilst at University. Even after receiving this I was still around £13,000 short to be able to pay the course fees then I had to be able to live for the next year. I decided to combine the BPTC with a Master’s degree (LLM) which allowed me to apply for £10,000 government funding. This meant extra work but it allowed me to study the BPTC which I commenced in September 2018. I continued working part-time during the BPTC and began applying for pupillage in January 2019.
I always knew that I wanted to specialise in crime but I also wanted to remain in Leeds. This limited the amount of places I could apply to and therefore I only applied to six places, the CPS being one of them. Pupillage applications are time consuming and I took the view of quality not quantity. I was lucky to receive two interviews with Chambers, as well as an interview with the CPS. Throughout the whole of the interview process with the CPS I knew I was being judged on my capabilities rather than my background. I was never once made to feel ‘people like you don’t become barristers’. In fact it was entirely the opposite! I openly discussed my background in my CPS interview and the interviewers were impressed to see how far I had come. I was offered pupillage in July 2019 and that leads me to where I am today, a second six pupil prosecuting in Court on a daily basis, the person many people thought would not make it as a barrister due to my working class background.
Dana Patel, Crown Prosecutor
After graduating from university in 2016, I studied for the Bar at BPP Law School. Whilst at law school, I spent some time volunteering; I mentored for the Prince’s Trust, published a piece for the school’s human rights journal, and became a Regional Ambassador for the Holocaust Educational Trust. After passing my exams and being called to the Bar in July 2017, I spent a year working at a criminal/extradition defence firm in Shepherd’s Bush, London. This allowed me to gain experience shadowing solicitors at court, representing clients at the police station, and assisting with Crown Court case preparation. Whilst working I began applying for pupillage, and was fortunate to secure a place on the CPS trainee sch eme in 2018. I have been a Crown Prosecutor since November 2019.