Career as a Crown Prosecutor

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Lindsey Jones is a crown prosecutor in London. The role of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is to prosecute alleged offenders in England and Wales. Lindsey works in a team that deals with adult cases from the London boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark.

What does your career as a crown prosecutor involve?

My job involves reviewing and prosecuting criminal cases that have been investigated by the police. When I receive cases at court or in the office, it's my responsibility to review them fully to see if we have enough evidence to proceed. I then decide whether or not it is in the public interest to prosecute the defendant.

How much time do you spend in court?

I spend a lot of time at the Magistrates' Court, where I might be prosecuting defendants who are on bail or in custody, making first appearances, making applications for bail, being committed to the Crown Court or being sentenced.

Alternatively, I could be prosecuting in a trial court all day. Sometimes, I have a day in the office simply to work on my own caseload of files and make sure that they are fully prepared and ready for trial.

How much time do you get to read files?

We receive our files one day before we are in court, so there are always a lot of files to read through and problems to resolve before starting court the next day.

What equipment do you use?

In the office, I use a computer to access the CPS intranet. This has lots of legal guidance and useful links. The CPS also has a case management system that keeps a record of letters sent, dates of hearings and any urgent work that I need to do. Whilst in court, I just use a pen and paper!

Why did you choose this career as a crown prosecutor?

Many years of watching LA Law when I was younger! I liked the idea of putting forward my own argument and challenging someone else's. I also knew that I had good skills as a communicator and negotiator, which would be beneficial.

What training did the CPS provide?

Initially, I had an induction course that explained how the CPS works and how files should be reviewed. I have received training on advocacy (representing clients), including how to conduct trials and how to present cases in the Magistrates' Court.

Do you work regular hours?

I work full time from Monday to Friday, and generally arrive for work at 9.30am and leave at around 6pm. However, in a job as unpredictable as this, I do need to be flexible.

What are the skills and qualities needed for a career as a crown prosecutor?

You need excellent analytical skills in order to process complex legal concepts and arguments. You also need to have a flair for advocacy and the ability to work well within a team.

How will your career progress from here?

I am just being promoted to senior crown prosecutor. After that, I aim to obtain my Higher Rights, which means that I will be able to conduct cases in the Crown Court and then progress further in the CPS, or an organisation such as the Serious Fraud Office. Eventually, I would like to become a judge.

Lindsey's route to her career as a crown prosecutor

  • Degree in Social Policy and Criminology
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Law
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice
  • Qualified as a solicitor and joined the CPS

Lindsey's crown prosecutor tips

  • Believe in yourself, work hard and always pursue your dream!
  • Don't let small setbacks discourage you.
  • Be aware of the options available and choose the bst path for you.

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Salary of a crown prosecutor

  • The starting salary for a new crown prosecutor is £25,648.
  • Salaries are higher in London.
  • A senior crown prosecutor can earn in excess of £50,000.

How to become a crown prosecutor

  • The CPS only employ qualified barristers or solicitors to be crown prosecutors, preferably with some experience of criminal law.
  • The route to becoming qualified involves completing a training contract. People who have completed the academic side of their training as a lawyer, and who have finished either their Legal Practice Course (LPC) or Bar Vocational Course (BVC), can apply to do their training contract with the CPS.
  • It is possible to start working for the CPS in another role, such as caseworker, and join the CPS Law Scholarship Scheme. This is a scheme which sponsors CPS employees to become qualified lawyers.
  • Work experience in CPS offices is available, especially during the summer months.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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