The proposals would see the current advocates’ lists replaced with a smaller panel, for cases at levels two to four (with lists broadly maintained for level one). There would be an open competition for advocates to join the panel; a clear focus on quality as part of the selection criteria and a greater opportunity to prosecute for those who secure a place. One criticism of the current system is that many on the existing lists are rarely or never instructed. An important aspect of the proposed scheme is the creation of a stable relationship between the CPS and the Bar for the foreseeable future, which addresses key issues such as quality, volume of work, and size of panel.

Nicholas Green QC, Chairman of the Bar Council, said:
“The proposals reflect a new understanding between the Bar and the CPS and a real desire to build a solid foundation for a mutually beneficial relationship. In these difficult economic times concessions, necessarily, have been made on both sides to enable us to move towards the current position. It is now important that the views of the Bar are considered and, in the light of those responses, to continue our dialogue with the CPS on a positive footing”.

Keir Starmer QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions said:
“Ensuring that all prosecution advocates meet the high standard necessary to deliver justice is a top priority for both the CPS and the Bar Council. We have jointly developed this proposal for a system that will improve quality by allowing the self-employed bar access to prosecution work through a competency based application process and by moving to smaller panels of advocates who will focus on high quality prosecution work alongside our in-house advocates. We now look forward to examining the views of practising barristers on this proposal and our discussions with the Bar Council will move forward in due course.”

The Attorney General, the Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP said:
“We are in a period of fundamental review; an opportunity for root and branch reform. I commend both the CPS and Bar Council for this approach and I am looking forward to them using all their professional skills, creativity and innovation to deliver the core prosecution services which the public needs, to an even higher standard.”