Career as a Crown prosecutor
Andrew Stone works in South Shields for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) as a senior crown prosecutor. He reviews criminal cases investigated by the police. He looks at the evidence to decide if a case is to proceed to court and determines the correct charges. He also prosecutes the cases at the magistrates' court.
How would you sum up your role as a Crown prosecutor?
My main role is to make sure that the decision to prosecute is fair and effective, and to prosecute individuals in court. Sometimes this means stopping a case if the evidence is poor, while at other times it means seeking ways to strengthen a case by asking the police to do more investigation. I must be fair to defendants, as well as to victims and witnesses. This sometimes means having to take unpopular decisions.
What does a typical week involve?
I spend most of the week prosecuting cases in the magistrates' court. The rest of my time is spent preparing cases so that they are ready to go to court.
Do you use any special equipment for your work?
I use a computer with comprehensive case tracking and management capability. This helps me to prepare my cases and means that my colleagues can also have access to them.
In addition, I have access to the CPS intranet (internal internet). This connects me to all CPS staff in the country via email and gives me access to a legal database.
Who do you work with?
I work in a small team with seven other lawyers, one designated caseworker (who prosecutes straightforward cases) and four caseworkers (who help lawyers to prepare and manage cases).
The CPS is full of hardworking and friendly staff, which makes for an excellent working environment. I have made some good friends through work.
What personal qualities and skills do you use in your career as a Crown prosecutor?
I have to be well-organised and have a methodical, logical, objective and fair approach to reviewing cases, so that I can make sound judgements about them.
I need to be assertive, as well as tactful, so that I can interact with a number of different people, such as police, defendants and witnesses. It's also important to be confident and to have a good speaking voice when presenting cases in court.
Why did you choose a career as a Crown prosecutor?
After I completed my law degree, I got out the Yellow Pages and applied for a number of jobs. I was very lucky to get a training contract with a law firm in North Shields. I enjoyed doing criminal law and was influenced to join the CPS by a number of people I now work with.
What are the good and bad parts of your job?
The best part of the job is being in court, presenting cases. I am not so keen on doing the paperwork, though. Also, the workload can be heavy at times.
What are your plans for the future?
I would like to get involved in special casework dealing with serious, complicated cases. I'd also like to become a higher courts advocate, which would allow me to present trials at the Crown Court.
Andrew's route to his career as a Crown prosecutor
- Degree in Law.
- Got a training contract with a local law firm.
- Entered the CPS.
Andrew's tips for becoming a Crown prosecutor
- While at university, get work experience as soon as possible with a law firm, as it's very difficult to get a training contract otherwise.
- Don't give up when applying for jobs.
Crown prosecutor related jobs
- Legal executive
- Probation officer
- Procurator fiscal (Scotland)
Salary of a Crown prosecutor
- CPS crown prosecutors earn between £25,648 and £29,334 nationally, or between £26,954 and £30,610 in London.
- After relevant training and experience, it is possible to move up to senior crown prosecutor level and earn between £30,138 and £45,388 nationally, or between £31,880 and £51,082 in London.
Career as a Crown prosecutor
- To become a CPS crown prosecutor you need to be a qualified barrister or solicitor, ideally with experience (possibly in criminal law).
- Once employed, training includes courses accredited by the Law Society.
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