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Legal Traineeships information

High Court Unit (HCU)

Crown Counsel

Appeals Unit


High Court Unit (HCU)

While attached to the High Court Unit trainees have a wide range of duties. These include the preparations of bail appeals, closed circuit television and screen applications, petitions for extension of 110 days and 1 year period, prison transfers, dealing with requests from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, the wider Scottish Government and other outside agencies. Opportunity is also given to study precognitions submitted to Crown Office by Procurators Fiscal.

Crown Counsel

Trainees will have the opportunity to assist and support Crown Counsel, including the Law Officers, in a variety of their functions. This will include conducting legal research, collating legal materials and dealing with applications for Lord Advocate's concurrence for Breach of Interdict. Trainees will also accompany Crown Counsel to the High Court of Justiciary to note the evidence during trials.

Appeals Unit

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, trainees will be responsible for taking court minutes, and 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.

Civil Recovery Unit (CRU)

The Civil Recovery Unit 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.

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 outwith the United Kingdom.

National Casework Division

Trainees in NCD have the opportunity to work extensively in relation to confiscating proceeds of crime. This includes assisting in applying for restraint orders and intimating and administering the orders, helping to prepare for notional diets and proofs in criminal confiscation cases, attending court for such cases to support Advocates Depute or Procurators Fiscal, and helping in preparation of cases to be referred to the Civil Recovery Unit.

In addition trainees may have the chance to work in the Financial and Organised Crime Units where they assist in preparation of cases for criminal prosecution by helping with preparation of precognitions, assisting with disclosure and attending court to support prosecutors. It is sometimes possible for trainees to note evidence in large prosecutions, which allows them to take an active role in a prosecution at court. Trainees are also asked to carry out research in relation to complex and interesting legal issues.

Policy Division

While attached to Policy Division, trainees will assist in 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. From time to time, the trainees may also carry out research for and provide assistance to the Strategy and Delivery Division.

Procurator Fiscal's Offices

During the time spent in a Procurator Fiscal's Office, trainees will shadow and assist Procurators Fiscal in preparing and conducting prosecution cases in court, and precognosing cases.

The Second Year

The second year of the Traineeship will be based at a designated Procurator Fiscal's Office (or Offices if the need arises). During the time spent in a Procurator Fiscal's Office, trainees will experience the range of responsibilities of a prosecutor in a Procurator Fiscal's Office, including the preparation and presentation of the prosecution case in court.


Career Information

Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) is the public authority in Scotland responsible for deciding whether to prosecute people who have committed a criminal offence, and for conducting criminal prosecutions. It also has the responsibility for the investigation of all sudden, suspicious and unexplained deaths.

COPFS employs around 1700 staff. About 500 of these staff are lawyers, but in support of the process of bringing cases to court, we employ people in a wide range of other posts. Every year we deal with more than 290,000 reports on offences committed, supplied by the police and many other reporting agencies.

Please see below for current vacancies.


Recruitment Policy Statement

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes applications from all sectors of the community, particularly from people from ethnic minority communities, women and people with disabilities.

Our policy is to provide equality of opportunity in relation to employment, career development and promotion to all, where eligible, on the basis of ability, qualifications and suitability for the work. Being part of the Civil Service selection is on the grounds of fair and open competition and irrespective of applicants' sex (including those intending to undergo, are undergoing, or have undergone gender reassignment treatment), marital status, age, race, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, disability or religion/belief.

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service was awarded the Disability Confident status. This is given by Jobcentre Plus to employers who are committed to the fair employment, retention, training and career development of disabled people. It shows disabled applicants that we welcome their application and will assess them on their abilities.

Civil Service Recruitment Principles ensures that the recruitment process of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service meets their requirements.

Benefits of working at COPFS

There is a range of benefits available to staff, including: 

  • Performance related pay
  • Strong development and training policies
  • Interest free travel season ticket loans
  • Active equal opportunities policy
  • Opportunity to join the Staff Disability Advisory Group
  • Opportunity to join Proud in COPFS - our LGBT staff network group
  • Generous annual leave and public and privilege holiday package
  • Flexible working hours scheme
  • Childcare Voucher Scheme
  • Cycle to Work Scheme
  • Employee Assistance Programme
  • Generous Pension Package


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Current Vacancies  

There are no vacancies at this time. 


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