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CPS 2025 Advocacy Strategy

|Publication

Table of Contents

Foreword

CPS advocacy - oral and written - brings the law, and our role as prosecutors, to life. It is the medium through which we explain our decisions, present our cases, and support witnesses to give their best evidence at every hearing and across all courts.

Advocates are the voice of the CPS. Their legal leadership dictates not just how hearings are conducted but also what happens between hearings, in how our organisation operates, how cases are progressed and how we engage with our partners to raise public confidence. This is why we remain committed to maintaining our advocacy capability and offering opportunities for development and progression in both the magistrates’ court and the higher courts.

We have achieved a great deal over the last five years. We have had significant recruitment into in-house advocacy roles, coupled with improved training and development. At the same time, we have strengthened the relationships we have with external advocacy providers and stakeholders.

Our vision for 2025 builds on that progress, providing a framework for on-going success. It is underpinned by the principle of instructing the right advocate for the right case and recognises the value and importance of having a talented, adaptable and diverse cadre of advocates delivering justice for the public we serve through fair and independent prosecutions.

Max Hill QC
Director of Public Prosecutions


Our strategic approach & aims

  • Our people are at the heart of everything we do.
  • Our digital capability enables our success.
  • Through our strategic partnerships, we shape a legal, policy and operating framework that facilitates our core role: independent and fair prosecutions.
  • High standards of casework quality are essential to delivering justice.
  • We work with partners across the criminal justice system to make the public safer.

Everyone at the CPS plays their part in delivering every strategic aim. Everything we do contributes to our ultimate goal of building public confidence through delivering services that are fair and understood by all communities.

Our People
Support for the success and wellbeing of our people enables everyone to thrive.

Digital Capability
Our investment in digital capability helps us adapt to the rapidly changing nature of crime and improve the way justice is done.

Strategic Partnerships
The CPS is a leading voice in cross-government strategies and international cooperation to transform the criminal justice system.

Casework Quality
CPS legal expertise, casework quality and collaboration across the criminal justice system keep the public safer.

Public Confidence
We work with partners to serve victims and witnesses and uphold the rights of defendants in a way that is fair and understood by all communities.


Introduction

Advocacy is critical to achieving our organisational strategic aims.

It is delivered - across all court venues - by a combination of our own in-house advocates, and external advocates, such as agent prosecutors or members of the self-employed Bar, representing the Crown.

Our colleagues in operational delivery, who provide the platform for effective advocacy, are also crucial to the success of our advocates.

This strategy builds on CPS 2025, recognising that everyone at the CPS plays their part in delivering every strategic aim. It takes account of our immediate challenges, and how we want to deliver and sustain our advocacy capability over the next five years. It describes what we expect of our advocates and how we will support them to develop the expertise and behaviours needed to be exceptional.

It supports local Areas and Casework Divisions in the provision of high quality and resilient advocacy services, in accordance with the business need, and in response to opportunities for growth. The strategy is supported by a national delivery plan.

Greg McGill, Director of Legal Services | Sue Hemming, Director of Legal Services | Claire Lindley, CCP 2025 Advocacy Strategy Lead


Our People

Aim:

Our advocates will be supported to deliver high quality advocacy - working and leading with our values in mind.

Outcomes:

  • In-house advocacy roles - from Associate Prosecutor to Principal Crown Advocate -and routes for progression are clear, and aligned to external advocacy roles, where appropriate, facilitated by the introduction of a Crown Advocate Framework for in-house advocates
  • Talented advocates at all levels in the lower and higher courts are attracted and retained from a range of backgrounds, reflecting the communities we serve, through a combination of measures, including a new Crown Advocate Pathway and continued support for Solicitors’ apprenticeships
  • Our advocates in both the magistrates’ and Crown Court have the tools and skills necessary to succeed 
  • All our in-house prosecutors are well trained and adaptable, with ongoing access to advocacy training and learning to support all aspects of their development, including a new approach to the development of our senior advocates, including those aspiring to become QCs
  • The sharing of ideas and best practice for advocacy is supported across the organisation, including through annual advocacy conferences

Digital Capability

Aim:

We’ll harness new technology so that it informs and supports how we deliver advocacy.

Outcomes:

  • Digital tools enhance the way we present evidence and explain the case to the court 
  • We prosecute and progress cases at court confidently - combining remote and in-person advocacy, to ensure that cases are dealt with as soon and as expeditiously as possible, in accordance with the interests of justice
  • We use smart systems to ensure that our choice of advocate accords with our briefing and deployment principles
  • The CPS Advocate Panel process moves online for all participants
  • New technology to support our clerking function and track the allocation of cases is introduced

Strategic Partnerships

Aim:

Working collaboratively, we will deliver advocacy which meets the needs of the modern CJS and facilitates our core role: fair and independent prosecutions.

Outcomes:

  • Justice is delivered effectively, innovatively and safely, in collaboration with the judiciary, the Bar, the Law Society and other CJS stakeholders
  • Our Advocate Panel is made up of an experienced, skilled and diverse group of external prosecutors, and offers greater opportunities to progress
  • CPS fee schemes for external advocates are regularly reviewed
  • Effective engagement with our external partners ensures our advocacy is always of the highest quality and that issues such as diversity are given greater prominence
  • A new CPS Diversity and Inclusion Statement for the Bar is published

Casework Quality

Aim:

The right advocate for the case will lead from the front - making a positive difference at each hearing to progress cases, explain decisions and collaborate with others to enhance the quality of our casework.

Outcomes:

  • Adherence to briefing principles ensures that the right advocate for the case is instructed on every occasion
  • A mixed economy of in-house and external advocates is deployed, meeting our needs and supporting longevity in the provision of quality advocacy services
  • Our advocates receive detailed and bespoke instructions in each case, highlighting pertinent issues and outlining key casework decisions
  • Our advocates add value, complying with CPS expectations and requirements to progress cases decisively at each and every hearing
  • Our advocates provide timely, detailed and clear written advice on evidence and/or the merits of appeals
  • High standards of advocacy are achieved across all courts and in all cases

Public Confidence

Aim:

Our advocates will prosecute in a way which secures justice and supports victims, witnesses, upholds the rights of defendants, and is fair and understood by all communities.

Outcomes:

  • Witnesses feel supported to give their best evidence, are properly assisted and know more about what to expect before they give their evidence
  • Our advocates communicate clearly and effectively with victims and witnesses, in and out of court, so that they understand case outcomes and how our work helps to keep them safe
  • The communities we serve see themselves better reflected in the diversity of our advocates 
  • Our advocates - in-house and external - are quality assured

Measuring Success

We will use success measures aligned to CPS 2025 to track our progress against both strategic aims and the strategic outcomes which underpin them.

Regularly checking our progress in this way will make sure we continue to move steadily towards achieving our strategic aims.

Available to download

CPS 2025 Advocacy Strategy (PDF document, approx 384kb)
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