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CPS Advocate Panels application scheme

For further information and to download an application pack, please go to the Application page. There is also a Frequently Asked Questions page for people interested in the scheme.

Update to the Advocate Panel Scheme - 20/06/2012

Latest update of Advocate Panel published

The latest update to the Advocate Panel has been published and can be found here (Microsoft Excel document, 1 mb).

Update to the Advocate Panel Scheme - 03/05/2012

Latest update of Advocate Panel published

The latest update to the Advocate Panel has been published and can be found here (Microsoft Excel document, 1 mb).

Update to the Advocate Panel Scheme - 30/04/2012

Opportunity to join the CPS Advocate Panel at level 1

Applications are invited from advocates to join the CPS Advocate Panel at level 1. The application process is limited to advocates who have not previously applied to join the Panel. Application forms, frequently asked questions and guidance on the process can be found here. Please submit the application form to Advocate.Panels@CPS.gsi.gov.uk by 31 May 2012.

Update to the Advocate Panel Scheme - 04/04/2012

Applications to join the CPS Advocate Panel to conduct DWP work are now invited. For further information please see the additional exercise information.

Update to the Advocate Panel Scheme - 06/02/2012

Further to discussions with the Bar Council, we are amending our Advocate Panel appeal guidance to allow appellants to submit one additional supporting document together with their appeal form.

The document must be submitted by the appellant with their appeal form and can be a single document from one author e.g. a letter of support, an example of written work, a reference, etc, but it must not be a compendium of documents.

Update to the Advocate Panel Scheme - 31/01/2012

Following an approach from the Bar Council, it has been agreed to extend the word limit for appeals from 200 to 500 words.

A Frequently Asked Questions document is also available. Please, in the first instance, refer to this document if you have any queries regarding the appeal process.

The deadline for appeals has been extended till 4pm Friday 24 February.

Update to the Advocate Panel Scheme - 19/01/2012

The CPS has today announced the initial results of the Advocate Panel exercise. Details of the Advocate Panel can be found here (Microsoft Excel document, i mb).

At this stage the results relate to the circuit based general crime and rape lists. The assessment of applications to join the central specialist panels for extradition, fraud, proceeds of crime and special crime will now commence. The Panel will be updated when the specialist panel assessment process and the appeal process are concluded.

An appeal stage will now commence for unsuccessful applicants.

If unsuccessful applicants wish to appeal against the outcome of the assessment they should complete and submit an appeal form by email to Advocate.Panels@CPS.gsi.gov.uk by no later than 4pm on 15 February 2012. Please click here for guidance on the appeal process and the appeal form.

If you have any queries regarding the application process please contact us at Advocate.Panels@CPS.gsi.gov.uk or telephone Matthew Outterside on 0203 357 0751.

Update to the Advocate Panel Scheme - 01/09/2011

The period for submitting applications to join the CPS Advocate Panel has now closed.

Late applications can only be submitted with prior approval.

Outstanding references can be submitted by 13 September.

The assessment process will commence on 14 September 2011. We aim to announce results by around 14 November 2011.

If you have any queries regarding the application process please contact us at Advocate.Panels@CPS.gsi.gov.uk or telephone Matthew Outterside on 0203 357 0751.

Update to the CPS Advocate Panel Scheme – 19/08/2011

Applicants are reminded that the deadline for the submission of applications is 4pm on 31 August 2011.

Applicants must submit their application by that time unless agreement has been given to accept a late application.

The CPS will allow any references submitted after 31 August to be accepted and linked to the application provided it is received before the assessment of the application has been undertaken. The assessment process is scheduled to commence on 14 September 2011.

Applicants are reminded of the requirement to adhere to the word count in relation to the answers on the application form. Failure to adhere to the word count could lead to the application being rejected.

19 August 2011 – Crown Prosecution Service

Update to the CPS Advocate Panel Scheme – 16/06/2011

Further to the previous update of 17 May, applicants and referees should note the following additional adjustments to the CPS Advocate Panel scheme:

  • In light of the adjustments to the Scheme outlined below anyone who has already submitted an application form will be contacted and given the opportunity to withdraw their application and re-submit it by the extended deadline.

1. The deadline for the submission of applications will be further extended to 4pm on 31 August 2011.

2. The level 4 panel will be unrestricted in size. This change will alleviate concerns about the size of the Panel at level 4; encourage proper application to level 4 by high quality advocates; provide head-room for advocates to progress through the levels and create a wider pool of advocates for CPS to select from at level 4.

The proviso is that all successful applicants at level 4 must meet the minimum acceptable standard for that level.

3. Applicants may be considered across two levels in any one panel, with the introduction of a reserve list at levels 2 and 3. This will be achieved as part of the assessment process:

  • Applicants will apply for one level.
  • There will be only one application form and one set of references appropriate to the level applied for.
  • Unsuccessful applications at the level applied for will be automatically re-assessed for the next level down.
  • A proportion of applicants (about 25% of the current published list size) who fail to secure a Panel place at the lower level will be placed on a reserve list, provided they meet the minimum acceptable standard for the lower level panel. In the case of all applications where the level applied for is level 2, for those who are unsuccessful but meet the minimum acceptable standard, that they will be considered for the reserve list at level 2 until it is complete with the balance going onto level 1. Reserve list members will be able to receive instructions but on a returned brief basis only. This adjustment will provide applicants with additional safeguards against non-selection and provide CPS with additional availability of advocates at times of pressure.

4. For at least 50% of places at Level 2 to be reserved for advocates of up to 5 years experience.

The purpose of the Scheme is to provide a secure supplier base of advocates with the appropriate experience, skills and commitment to prosecution work for now and in the future. Part of the process will be to ensure that advocates at the start of their career have an opportunity to develop and progress.

It is also important that the pool of prosecuting advocates is diverse and representative of the community it serves. To this end at least 50% of the places at level 2 will be reserved for advocates of up to 5 years advocacy experience (for barristers) or up to 5 years higher courts advocacy experience (for solicitors).

The assessments will consider the position of those who have had career breaks or part-time working, to include maternity or disability leave etc.

5. To exclude from the scheme the assessment of applications for other government departments or agencies using the CPS Advocate Panel.

6. For the size of the lists in the South East non-London region to be increased to 300 for level 3 and 250 for level 2.

7. For there to be an annual opportunity to apply for level 1 in May.

This update will be accompanied by appropriate revisions to the Advocate Panel section of the CPS website, including updated FAQs.

16 June 2011 – Crown Prosecution Service

Update to the CPS Advocate Panel Scheme – 17/05/2011

Further to the previous update of 15 April, applicants and referees should note the following changes to the CPS Advocate Panel scheme:

1: The deadline for the submission of applications has been deferred from 31 May 2011 to 31 July 2011.

The reasons are:
  • not to prejudice applicants who have experienced difficulty in securing references, and
  • to make more time available to referees who receive a number of requests for references
2: To remove the requirement that applicants should provide judicial references. The reasons are:
  • to provide applicants with greater flexibility in their selection of referees, and
  • not to prejudice applicants who can no longer secure judicial references
The requirement for references is now as follows:
  • Level 1 applicants should provide one reference
  • Level 2 and 3 applicants should provide two references
  • Level 4 applicants should provide three references

References can be obtained from any person whom the applicant believes will best support their application and who is prepared to stand as a referee. For example, referees can be pupil masters; Heads of Chambers; current or retired members of the full-time judiciary; members of the part-time judiciary; instructing solicitors; other advocates who may have been opponents or leaders; instructing members of the CPS or other prosecuting authorities; or advocacy assessors.

The guidance remains that applicants applying for the specialist casework panels (fraud, extradition, POCA and Serious Crime Group) should also provide a reference(s) from a CPS lawyer from the Specialist Casework Division.

3: Referees will now be required to submit references direct to the CPS but can, if they wish, also send a copy of the reference to the applicant.

This change will streamline the reference process and deal with concerns from referees about submitting completed references direct to the applicant.

It remains the applicant’s responsibility to secure the referee’s agreement to provide a reference, to provide the referee with a reference form and to request that the reference is provided direct to the CPS.

The attached explanatory note to referees confirms the process and should be sent to each referee who has agreed to provide a reference but has not yet done so.

Where applicants have already secured references they can be submitted to the CPS along with the application form.

4. To allow eligible applicants to make a written request to submit a late application.

This change will provide greater flexibility in the scheme and avoid prejudice to eligible applicants who, with good cause, cannot comply with the deadline date. Each request will be considered on its merits but we will accept late applications where there is good cause, for example where an applicant was prevented from submitting an application by the deadline date due to pregnancy, maternity or extended paternity leave.

Crown Prosecution Service

17 May 2011

Update on Judicial References - 15/04/2011

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is aware that some judges have raised concerns about providing references in support of the Advocate Panel process. The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has discussed these concerns with several judges and with the Senior Presiding Judge.

A meeting with the representatives of the Council of Circuit Judges has now been arranged and the DPP hopes that the concerns raised can be addressed, if necessary, with some adjustments to streamline the scheme. In the meantime, the Advocacy Panel scheme remains open and the CPS advises potential applicants and other referees to continue to contribute along current lines.

If, in due course, it becomes necessary to move the 31 May deadline back, so as not to prejudice applicants experiencing difficulties in obtaining references, the DPP will notify all concerned as soon as possible. Potential applicants are advised to monitor the situation by referring to this website.

31/03/2011

The CPS has launched a new scheme for the delivery of prosecution services in court. All advocates undertaking prosecution work in the Crown Court (and Higher Courts) from October must be members of new, quality-controlled CPS Advocate Panels.

The panels are open to all barristers and solicitor advocates and panel members will complement and work alongside CPS in-house advocates. Although the overall number of advocates on the panels will be reduced compared to the current lists, selected advocates will have more opportunity to undertake prosecution work.

The panels will provide the CPS with quality-assured advocates who have been fairly assessed to ensure they are undertaking work that matches their level of ability, knowledge and experience. They will cover the full range of CPS Crown Court work across all Areas and casework divisions, including extradition, serious crime, proceeds of crime and fraud.

All current counsel lists will be abandoned when the panels commence on 1 October 2011. The regional panels, which will mirror the legal circuits, will operate for three years.

For further information and to download an application pack, please go to the Application page. There is also a Frequently Asked Questions page for people interested in the scheme.

Application packs must be submitted to Advocate.Panels@CPS.gsi.gov.uk by 31 May.

An equality impact assessment has been undertaken for the Advocate Panels.

Keir Starmer QC, Director of Public Prosecutions, introduces the scheme

"I am pleased to introduce the CPS Advocate Panel scheme for 2011. This is the first in what will be a regular exercise in establishing panels of advocates who have the necessary ability to undertake the highest quality prosecution advocacy for the benefit of the CPS and the wider criminal justice system.

"Through an open competition, this exercise will establish Circuit-based and specialist panels of advocates for the CPS to call upon over the next three years. The panels will complement the in-house advocacy resource already available to the CPS.

"An appointment to the panel at level 1 will provide new advocates with an important opportunity to gain experience of criminal prosecution work, whereas appointment to level 2, 3 or 4 will signify excellence in advocacy, appropriate to that level. The Advocate Panels will provide confidence to the CPS, members of the public and other participants in the criminal justice system that the advocates being used have been through an open but rigorous application and approval process with a clear focus on quality.

"For successful applicants, whether barristers or solicitors, the panels will provide a greater opportunity to undertake prosecution work and the prospect of working more closely with the CPS, alongside our in-house advocates. I am confident that clearly identifiable lists of panel advocates and closer working with CPS will allow us to exchange ideas and good practice which will further increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the prosecution service that we provide to the public.

"This will be a fair and open process with equality of opportunity. I welcome applications from all appropriately qualified advocates who believe they have the necessary ability, knowledge and experience to join the Panel and can make a positive contribution to the prosecution of criminal casework in England and Wales."