Published on February 7, 2020 by lauraduckett

As an aspiring barrister, you may be applying for pupillages at the moment, and will have no doubt come across the term “CPS pupillage”. Read on to find out about this fascinating route to barrister qualification.

What is a CPS Pupillage?

A CPS Pupillage is a training scheme similar to a Pupillage undertaken within chambers except it is run by the Crown Prosecution Service instead. If you pursue this route, it would be the final stage of your legal training allowing you to become a fully qualified barrister at the end of it. This trainee scheme also includes the chance to become a permanent Crown Prosecutor upon successful qualification.

A Crown Prosecutor is someone who undertakes criminal prosecutions in the UK. Therefore, a CPS pupillage will allow you to represent the Crown as a barrister in these criminal cases once you have qualified. For this reason, undertaking a Pupillage through the CPS is of most interest to those who wish to pursue a career in criminal law. Potential responsibilities you may undertake in your CPS pupillage are as follows:

  • Representing the CPS at court and present cases
  • Reviewing and preparing cases, under supervision
  • Planning and reviewing the pupillage programme with a supervisor
  • Shadowing lawyers at Magistrates and Crown Courts to gain experience of advocacy by observation

What Are the Requirements?

To be eligible to apply for a CPS pupillage, candidates need to have at least a 2:2 undergraduate degree and have passed the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC), or the Vocational Component of Bar Training, as it will soon be called. This can be a 2:2 in any undergraduate discipline, provided you then undertake the Graduate Diploma in law before you undertake the BPTC. It is worth noting that the CPS does not offer funding for the GDL nor sponsorship for the BPTC.

How to Apply for a CPS Pupillage

To obtain a CPS pupillage, you first have to apply for the Legal Trainee Scheme. This can be done via application form and CV on the Civil Services Jobs site. Upon completing the form, you will be invited to undertake the Civil Service Judgement Test – following this you will know if you have met the required standard of this test and you will be invited to complete a verbal reasoning test.

Candidates who pass the online tests are then invited to complete a video interview to establish their motivation for the role. If you are successful, you will be invited to complete an online legal assessment – this allows candidates to display their legal knowledge. The final stage of the process is an assessment and interview following which successful applicants will receive their place on the scheme.

Words: Alicia Gibson

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