CPS AP’s join ILEX
CPS Associate Prosecutors Join ILEX
The Institute of Legal Executives (ILEX) and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding which will place the 450 Associate Prosecutors working within the CPS into ILEX membership.
Membership of ILEX will place Associate Prosecutors (APs) within its regulatory framework and they would be subject to the ILEX code of conduct. ILEX will provide APs with an independent regulator, in the same way that the solicitors and barristers employed within the CPS have their regulatory bodies. ILEX will also provide oversight of the training APs receive.
By signing this document, the CPS and ILEX recognise the importance of independent regulation of CPS Associate Prosecutors and their contribution to the effective operation of the CPS in the magistrates’ courts.
President of the Institute of Legal Executives, ILEX Mark Bishop, said: “This is a significant moment for the Institute and its members. Public interest demands that the oversight of those who conduct advocacy in our courts should rest with an independent body and not solely with an employer.
“As an independent body, we are justifiably proud of our reputation for robust regulation and high standards in education and training, enhanced by the establishment of our regulatory company, ILEX Professional Standards. We are delighted to have reached agreement with the CPS to achieve open and transparent standards of competency for Associate Prosecutors to enable them to carry out their roles, and we welcome them into membership of the Institute.”
The Director of Public Prosecutions, Sir Ken Macdonald QC, said: “Associate Prosecutors have consistently shown that they are very effective in dealing with straightforward, high volume crime in the magistrates’ court, freeing up lawyers to deal with more complex and contentious cases and associated hearings. Recognition by a respected professional body is a vote of confidence in their quality.”
Associate Prosecutors are specially trained lay employees of the CPS who are permitted by law to prosecute a defined range of proceedings in the magistrates’ courts. In July 2008, Associate Prosecutor powers were extended, allowing them to deal with a wider range of proceedings in the magistrates’ courts. This included authority to conduct committal proceedings, sendings and transfers to the Crown court, and applications for specified preventative civil orders such as ASBOs.
From February 2009, selected and suitably trained Associate Prosecutors in CPS London, Hampshire, North Wales and West Yorkshire will be given extended powers to deal with new categories of proceedings in the magistrates’ courts including summary trials in summary only non-imprisonable offences, Special Reasons hearings and contested bind over proceedings.