Tinders
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How competitive is pupillage with the CPS? I know that's quite vague so I'll clarify.

Most pupils and juniors under 5 years call at crime sets that I have been looking at, usually have a first/2:1 from a Russell Group university? Do pupils and very junior barristers at the CPS have similar credentials? Or is it more/less competitive than applying to a set of chambers?

As a side note, if you do undertake pupillage with the CPS, does this only qualify you to prosecute? Or if you were to leave the CPS and join a set would you then be allowed to both prosecute and defend?
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Crazy Jamie
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Pupillage with the CPS does not only qualify you to prosecute. You would be able to do both if you then moved to the self employed Bar. The potential issue of course is that you would not have any experience in defence work. Moving from the employed to the self employed Bar is not dissimilar to moving to a different set as a self employed barrister, or even becoming a barrister after being a solicitor in that the set that you wish to move to would have to be convinced both that you have the right skillset for them and that there is a business case for taking you on. The precise considerations in that regard will always change depending on the specifics. A set might expect a transferring solicitor of 10 years practice to have contacts that will enable them to bring work in, for example, whilst there likely be less of an expectation on a barrister who is seeking a third six or is looking to move after being in practice for only one or two years. I know of barristers who have moved from the CPS to the self employed Bar, so it is certainly possible, but it would be a mistake to think that getting pupillage with the CPS is an alternative route into self employed practice, because that's not the case. You need to be aware that it is far from an automatic process, and you will need to have an eye on the considerations that sets will look at when deciding whether or not take you on.

As for your other question, I don't know how competitive pupillage is with the CPS and don't have any knowledge of that recruitment process. I imagine it will be quite different in a number of ways (at least internally) to the process that is run by sets, but whether that translates to a different experience for applicants is something that I don't know. I expect it will be just as competitive from the perspective of academic credentials, for example I don't think you'd stand any more chance of securing pupillage with the CPS with a 2:2 rather than a First or a 2:1, but you'd need to get the views of others with more experience of that process to give you further insight beyond that.
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The University of Law Students
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(Original post by Tinders)
How competitive is pupillage with the CPS? I know that's quite vague so I'll clarify.

Most pupils and juniors under 5 years call at crime sets that I have been looking at, usually have a first/2:1 from a Russell Group university? Do pupils and very junior barristers at the CPS have similar credentials? Or is it more/less competitive than applying to a set of chambers?

As a side note, if you do undertake pupillage with the CPS, does this only qualify you to prosecute? Or if you were to leave the CPS and join a set would you then be allowed to both prosecute and defend?
Hi Tinders

You'll find lots more on working for the CPS here: https://www.cps.gov.uk/careers/legal...e-scheme-2021- even if you are not applying this year, it will give you an idea on what is needed and available. All training schemes are competitive but don't let that put you off- find out early what you need and then work towards getting it. When you see a criteria, also remember you don't need EVERYTHING on the list- just most so don't be put off if you not at a Russell Group University.

Yes if you do leave the employed bar (like CPS) and move to the self-employed bar (in chambers), then you can act for both sides but it will depend on the taxi-rank rule and the type of clients your chambers interacts with.

A really good tip is to follow chambers and the CPS on LinkedIn and get involved with their events. Mary Prior QC is an inspirational criminal barrister who is worth following.

Also check out your university careers service events- the University of Law recently held a series of CPS workshops so I imagine other universities are doing the same thing. Careers fairs are a great way to meet employers too- Legal Cheek regularly hold them so they are worth following too.

Hope that helps!

Nic
Student Ambassador at the University of Law
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Tinders
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Crazy Jamie
The University of Law Students

Thank you so much for such insightful and helpful comments. I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my question. Have a good easter
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Russ3684
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It is competitive, I think there is a misconception that it’s easier. Not that you suggested that, but I have heard it suggested. I’m on a Cps Tc and I applied 3 times. The applicant numbers are quite high. Don’t let this put you off though. As for transfer to another chambers- in theory it’s possible.
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Tinders
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(Original post by Russ3684)
It is competitive, I think there is a misconception that it’s easier. Not that you suggested that, but I have heard it suggested. I’m on a Cps Tc and I applied 3 times. The applicant numbers are quite high. Don’t let this put you off though. As for transfer to another chambers- in theory it’s possible.
Ok thank you so much! If you are happy to share, would you mind telling me what uni you went to? What degree you did and what classification?

If you would prefer to keep this information to yourself, that is your right and I completely understand
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Russ3684
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I don’t mind. I went to Birmingham city and I got a decent 2:1. That was an LLB in law. My LPC LLM is a distinction from ulaw. My a levels aren’t amazing (BBD) but those and GCSE aren’t accounted for in the process any longer.
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Crazy Jamie
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(Original post by Russ3684)
I don’t mind. I went to Birmingham city and I got a decent 2:1. That was an LLB in law. My LPC LLM is a distinction from ulaw. My a levels aren’t amazing (BBD) but those and GCSE aren’t accounted for in the process any longer.
That'll be one notable difference between the CPS process and the Chambers process. Whilst it will vary to what extent individual sets take A-Levels into consideration, almost all will take them into consideration to some degree. I'm a little surprised the CPS don't, but there we go.
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Russ3684
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Yes that’s correct. They used to- that’s a new addition for this years application process. They were taken into consideration when I applied in 2019. Mine were sat in 2002 however, so considerable time has passed since those and my graduate studies!
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legalhelp
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I mean absolutely no disrespect to those working within the CPS, many of whom work very hard for not nearly enough money. But if your aspirations are to go to the criminal bar, I would think quite carefully before deciding to apply for a CPS pupillage. It is certainly less competitive than almost all criminal chambers, so I can see how it looks like an attractive option, superficially. But, frankly speaking, training as an advocate where you only ever represent one side is not really training at all. More often than not, the best prosecutors are the best because they have also defended (and vice versa). CPS advocates have a bit of a reputation unfortunately for being quite blinkered and not particularly pragmatic in their approach, because they have never had to think about the job from a different perspective. Add to that the fact that as you get more senior, the CPS will often instruct external counsel for the most interesting and difficult cases, so it’s not like as a CPS advocate you would even get the best of the CPS’ work. Chances are you would spend most of your early years doing prosecution lists in the Mags and not much else.
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Russ3684
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I can’t speak for the pupillage in that sense. The pupils on LinkedIn are fairly generally happy to be approached with questions however.
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