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The Role of The Crown Prosecution Service

The Crown Prosecution Service is the government department responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales.

As the principal prosecuting authority in England and Wales, we are responsible for:

  • advising the police on cases for possible prosecution
  • reviewing cases submitted by the police
  • determining any charges in more serious or complex cases
  • preparing cases for court
  • presenting cases at court

Find out more about the role of the Crown Prosecution Service

New agreement for CPS Designated Caseworkers to join ILEX


The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the Institute of Legal Executives (ILEX) have agreed in principle that later this year CPS Designated Caseworkers (APs) will be admitted into the Institute of Legal Executives for the first time.

Under the proposals, caseworkers who have undertaken the AP training programme and have been designated by the Director of Public Prosecutions to present hearings in magistrates' courts would become CPS members of the Institute. The AP foundation course, part of the AP training programme, would also be accredited by ILEX. CPS and ILEX are now discussing the details of the proposals.

Attorney General, Baroness Scotland QC, said: "The Law Officers are very pleased at this positive development. Designated Caseworkers receive a high level of training and supervision within the CPS and recognition by ILEX of the quality of this training can only reinforce public confidence."

Director of Public Prosecutions, Sir Ken Macdonald QC, said: "Our APs are skilled and professional, with an impressive knowledge of criminal law and court processes. Through this agreement with ILEX their specialist role will be recognised by a respected professional body and APs will have access to further qualification opportunities. The proposed accreditation of the AP training by ILEX will be a strong vote of confidence in the quality and thoroughness of the programme. This is a very exciting development for our Designated Caseworkers as well as an important opportunity for the CPS and ILEX to build stronger links."

Lesley Graham, President of ILEX said: "We are proud of our reputation for robust regulation and high standards in education and training. We are very pleased to be working with the CPS to achieve open and transparent standards of competency for APs to carry out their roles. The public interest demands that the oversight of those who conduct advocacy in our courts should rest with an independent body and not solely with an employer".

Membership of ILEX will place APs within its regulatory framework and APs would be subject to the ILEX code of conduct. The details of the new membership framework and accreditation will be finalised over the next few months. They are expected to be in place by summer.

APs, once they are designated, will qualify for a specific membership category of 'CPS member'. APs will then be able to progress their ILEX studies if they wish in order to become full members of the Institute.

The AP training programme includes an externally assessed advocacy course, mentoring and a period of observation as well as the AP foundation course.

  1. Media enquiries to CPS Press Office on 020 7710 6091 and ILEX Press Office on 01234 845713.
  2. Since 1998 Designated Caseworkers (APs) - specially trained CPS lay staff - have presented some hearings at magistrates' courts. In 2004 their remit was extended to include a wider range of hearings, such as early administrative hearings, cases after a guilty plea where the court has ordered a pre-sentence report and applications for the removal of a driving disqualification.