Practice and Procedure

CPS announces appointments to new Advocate Panels

PUBLISHED January 19, 2012

The anxious wait is over today for barristers and solicitors from around England and Wales who applied to join the new Crown Prosecution Service Advocate Panel. The CPS is the country?s largest law firm, and will now be able to draw on a refreshed pool of high quality advocates to act on its behalf in the Crown Court and Higher Courts. Keir Starmer QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions, said: ?The creation of the CPS Advocate Panel is a turning point in prosecution advocacy which will shape the way in which we instruct cases for the next generation of advocates. It is crucial that the CPS can instruct the very best advocates to present our cases from both within and outside the organisation, and this scheme means we now have a pool of quality assured barristers and solicitors with the talent and experience to do that. ?Of those who applied, nearly three quarters (74%) were successful in gaining a place on the panel at the level they applied for, with a further 17% being offered a position at the next panel down. ?Previously, advocates were selected from a list of around 4,500 individuals and the CPS will now draw on a pool of about 2,580 successful applicants who have been through an open and rigorous selection process. ?As a result of this process those members of the self-employed Bar and solicitors who have a place on an advocate panel will now have a greater opportunity to undertake advocacy work on behalf of the CPS.? Advocates who applied were placed in one of four levels, so that the work they are given at least matches their ability, knowledge and experience. About 236 or nine per cent of applicants were not successful for a place on the panel, although 75 of those are on a reserve list. Applications were received from 2,816 candidates, and now that their applications have been evaluated and moderated by members of the CPS and the independent Bar, 2,580 barristers and solicitors have succeeded in their applications and will begin providing the CPS with quality-assured advocacy. It is expected that the Panels will be operational from 1 February. Mr Starmer said: ?The scheme was developed in close co-operation with the Bar Council, and was run with the assistance of many members of the independent Bar itself. We are grateful for their support, and for the positive feedback we have received on the thoroughness, fairness and transparency with which the scheme was conducted. We are also grateful to the Law Society and their broad support of these proposals on behalf of solicitor advocates. ?Applicants will be told of the result of their application in the coming days and the selection process for the specialist Panels to be used by the CPS Central Casework Divisions will now begin.? Any applicants who are not successful have the right to appeal that decision. Those advocates who are currently representing the CPS in ongoing cases and have not been successful in obtaining a place on an Advocate Panel will continue to represent the CPS until their cases come to an end. The full panel list is available on the CPS website. The process of appeals can also be found on the CPS website here. Additional information: Statistics: Previous number of advocates on CPS list: around 4,500 Number of applicants for Advocate Panel scheme: 2,816 Number of applicants successful at level applied for: 2,094 (74%) Number of applicants successful at level below that applied for: 486 (17%) Number of applicants with a place on a panel (either at level applied for or for one below): 2,582 (91%) Number of applicants on the reserve list: 75 (3%) Number of unsuccessful applicants (not on any Panel or reserve list): 161 (6%)