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Letter to the CBA and Bar Council on the CPS Briefing Principles and Diversity and Inclusion Statement for the Bar

|Publication

Rebecca Lawrence
Chief Executive Officer

The Bar Council
Criminal Bar Association

30 June 2021

Dear Colleagues

I am pleased to announce the publication of the newly revised CPS Diversity and Inclusion Statement for the Bar.

I know that that we share a vision of the criminal justice system that is diverse and inclusive, where talented advocates of all backgrounds have the opportunity to develop and progress. This Statement provides a framework to help realise that vision, by setting clear requirements and expectations for all prosecuting advocates and sets of chambers whose members prosecute - or seek to prosecute - on behalf of the CPS.

I am grateful to Bar colleagues for your contribution to the development of the Statement, which is one of a range of measures the CPS is delivering under our 2025 Advocacy Strategy to ensure that the communities we serve see themselves better reflected in the diversity of our advocates.

The requirements and expectations, which the CPS will support chambers locally to deliver, cover the following five areas: 

  • Ongoing engagement regarding performance, progress and development
  • Supporting, enhancing and promoting equality of opportunity and inclusion - leading to greater diversity across the CPS Advocate Panel at all levels
  • Self-declaration of protected characteristics
  • Equal access to and equitable allocation of work within Chambers
  • Compliance and monitoring 

In tandem with the Statement, the CPS is also introducing new Briefing Principles which outline the factors to be considered when selecting advocates to prosecute on behalf of the CPS. Instructing the right advocate for the right case remains our overriding objective. The principles build on this and provide a framework which recognises not just the importance of securing quality, value and sustainability, but also of advancing equality of opportunity and supporting the progression of advocates.

These two documents provide a platform for the CPS and the Bar to work together over the coming years - continuing the essential work of delivering justice, protecting the public, and building a diverse criminal justice workforce. In issuing them together, we acknowledge that the desired outcomes are mutually beneficial and cannot be achieved in isolation: working in partnership and monitoring progress will be critical to success.

Thank you for your continued support and I look forward to jointly progressing this important work.

Yours sincerely,

Rebecca Lawrence

Chief Executive Officer

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