During the first year of the traineeship trainees are placed at Crown Office and/or within Local Court. Some trainees will be placed in the National Initial Case Processing units in Paisley and Stirling, where they will mark cases submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.
The units at Crown Office where trainees may work include: Appeals, Civil Recovery, High Court, International Cooperation, Policy and Proceeds of Crime. There is also an opportunity for trainees to assist and support Crown Counsel.
While attached to the Appeals Unit trainees will assist in preparing sentence appeal cases, both solemn and summary and assisting Crown Counsel with the presentation of such cases in court. At court, for these and interim liberation cases, trainees will be responsible for taking court minutes. They will also assist the staff in the Unit in the preparation of legal research for ongoing appeal cases and in the preparation of appeals against conviction, in addition to assisting with the preparation of cases referred to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission.
Civil Recovery Unit (CRU)
The CRU is a small multi-disciplinary unit which acts on behalf of the Scottish Ministers as the enforcement authority for Scotland under Part 5 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. Trainees will be closely involved in the preparation of applications for the forfeiture of cash in the sheriff court. This will involve liaison with the police and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. Trainees will also provide assistance to colleagues within the unit in connection with asset recovery in the Court of Session. This will involve working with other lawyers, seconded police officers, financial investigators and forensic accountants in an interesting and developing area of the law.
Trainees will have the opportunity to assist and support Crown Counsel in a variety of their functions, including conducting legal research. Trainees will also accompany Crown Counsel to the High Court of Justiciary to note evidence during trials. Trainees will assist the bail trainees and other trainees in the High Court Division.
High Court Unit
While attached to the High Court unit trainees have a wide range of duties. These include the preparation of bail appeals; vulnerable witness applications; closed circuit television applications; screen applications; petitions for extension of timebar; and prison transfers. They will also deal with requests from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, the wider Scottish Government and other outside agencies.
International Cooperation Unit (ICU)
Trainees will assist in the preparation and research of cases involving international mutual legal assistance and extradition, and assist in the preparation of cases presented at the Sheriff Court by legal staff in ICU. They will also attend court to assist legal staff and Counsel representing the Lord Advocate in respect of appeals arising from extradition and ancillary hearings. Trainees will be involved in applying the ordinary rules of criminal procedure to international requests for assistance, to instruct that assistance and assist in the execution of such requests, as appropriate. Additionally, they will be involved in drafting requests for assistance for the recovery of evidence for use in proceedings before the Scottish courts from other countries and requests for the surrender of fugitives who are believed to be out with the United Kingdom.
Policy & Engagement
While attached to Policy & Engagement, trainees will assist in the preparation of responses to ministerial correspondence and parliamentary questions. They will carry out legal research on a wide variety of topics covering criminal justice; information sharing; disclosure; diversity; victims; vulnerable witnesses; and deaths. This will often also involve drafting minutes on legal provisions, analysing associated issues and assisting in the drafting of Crown Office Circulars and other internal guidance. The trainees will also be involved in assisting members of the division in project work and taking minutes at policy or implementation meetings of working groups and other committees.
The trainees will also have responsibility for allocating offence classes to new offences and dealing with new charge codes.
Proceeds of Crime UnitTrainees in Proceeds of Crime have the opportunity to work extensively in relation to confiscating proceeds of crime. This includes assisting in the application for restraint orders and intimating and administering the orders. They will also be involved in the preparation for notional diets and proofs in criminal confiscation cases and attend court to support Advocates Depute or Procurators Fiscal when necessary. They may also be involved in the preparation of cases to be referred to the Civil Recovery Unit.
Procurator Fiscals OfficesTrainees assigned to Procurator Fiscals offices in the first year of their traineeship will shadow and assist Procurator Fiscals in the preparation of cases for court. This may include providing assistance to Advocates Depute in the High Court, including the noting of evidence.