Report criticises quality of Crown Prosecution Service advocacy – an update from Brett Wilson LLP, crime solicitors.
A report from HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI) issued this month lists several areas of concern regarding the quality and effectiveness of Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) advocates. The report found that there has been poor progress against the five recommendations in HMCPSI report of 2012. It found that Crown Advocates had a ‘lack of presence, self-confidence, flair and imagination’ and that the gap in ability between Crown Advocates and the Bar had widened since the first review. Only 20% of the CPS advocacy assessments of Crown Court advocacy examined by inspectors was of a high quality. In the foreword to the report a number of relevant factors are noted including budget restrictions, staff reduction and office closures but that no progress has been made since the 2012 report and that the CPS have ‘taken a step backwards in some aspects of delivery’. It should be noted that when assessing the advocacy skills in the Crown Court that no individual observations were undertaken and that the report’s findings are taken from advocacy assessments provided by individual CPS areas and from interviews and questionnaires. This issue was taken up by the CPS in their response to the criticisms; ‘We dispute criticism of the quality of CPS advocates and are disappointed that this finding has been made when the Inspectorate undertook no observations of advocates in action. The report’s findings are based on our own assessment of advocates, which is specifically targets at those that we believe need it most. It is, therefore, an inaccurate picture of the overall quality of our advocates”.
A copy of the report can be found here.
Articles are intended as an introduction to the topic and do not constitute legal advice.