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COPFS

Careers

Specialist

The COPFS Operational Support department supports the day-to-day business of COPFS providing specialist services through its Business Services, and Policy & Engagement teams.

The types of specialist professions include roles in:
  • Communication
  • Estate management
  • Finance and procurement
  • Human Resources
  • Information systems
  • Policy
  • Project management
  • Training


Further information: 
Entry requirements for these roles vary depending on the department and the skills and qualifications required for the particular profession.

The minimum entry requirements for any post within COPFS are: 

5 National Level 5’s at grades A-C (including English) or equivalent; or demonstrable experience of general office work.

Literacy and fluency in English are also essential requirements.

Modern Apprenticeship

COPFS have facilitated Modern Apprenticeship programmes across locations in Scotland since 2012. Modern Apprentices enter into a contractually binding training contract. The apprenticeship programme gives a practical grounding in key administrative skills common across different sectors and industries.  The MA contract lasts for 24 months.

 Key points:
  • Modern Apprentices work towards an SVQ in Business & Administration at level 3; and a Certificate in Prosecution Practice.
  • Modern Apprentices have the equivalent rights and benefits as permanent members of staff.

Further information:

SVQ in Business & Administration: The benefits of the SVQ includes: achieving a nationally recognised qualification; improved personal development; and standard setting and improvement in the way work is carried out. At level 3, candidates perform a broad range of activities in a variety of contexts, most of which are complex and non-routine. They will usually be working with considerable responsibility and autonomy, and may have control or guidance of others.

Certificate in Prosecution Practice: this is a bespoke qualification for COPFS staff - the Certificate in Prosecution Practice. The programme covers Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure. The qualification is obtained by studying two modules of 40 hours study time per module, and providing evidence of learning through assignment. 

COPFS minimum entry requirements: The minimum entry qualifications are 5 National Level 5’s at grades A-C (including English) or equivalent; or demonstrable experience of general office work. Literacy and fluency in English are also essential requirements.

Legal roles

COPFS has a variety of legal roles, including: Procurator Fiscal Depute; progressing to a Senior Procurator Fiscal Depute; and then to a Principal Depute.

Key points:
  • A Procurator Fiscal Depute takes decisions on criminal proceedings, conducts courts and works closely with the police and other criminal justice partners.
  • Whilst there may be an opportunity to undertake a variety of duties within COPFS, the main essence of the role is to prepare and present cases in court and deal sensitively and appropriately with victims and witnesses.

Further information: The Procurator Fiscal Depute job title is applicable to a range of posts within the Service.  These posts are characterised by similar skill requirements and job weights.  Broadly, such posts could include the following responsibilities:

Non Court Legal Duties

  • Marking of criminal reports
  • Summary Court preparation
  • Drafting charges and legal documents
  • Dealing with appeals
  • Caseload management
  • Consultation with witnesses
  • Preparation of reports to Crown Counsel.
Court Related Duties 
  • Preparation for and conduct of Summary criminal courts
  • Dealing with issues relating to victims, witnesses, other relevant parties and obtaining of evidence.

Qualified Solicitor roles

Applicants for a Procurator Fiscal Depute role must be a solicitor, or advocate, qualified to practice in Scotland (with admission to the Roll of Solicitors and a valid and unrestricted practising certificate).

Administrative roles

COPFS has a variety of administrative roles which support the prosecution of crime, these include Fiscal Officers; Section Managers; Victim Information and Advice; Investigative Assistants (IA) and Precognition Officers (PO).



  • Fiscal Officer: This is an entry level post. The main responsibilities, activities and duties of the role include:

    • Preparation of cases for court
    • Dealing with telephone and public enquiries
    • Information processing (using internal IT systems)
    • Word Processing and keyboard work
    • Processing mail
    • Filing
    • Photocopying

  • Section Manager:  There are a variety of Section Manager positions within the organisation for different departments, including:

    • Section Manager Local Court – the Local Court Function deals with all Summary and Sheriff & Jury criminal cases
    • Section Manager Serious Casework – this department, through the Specialist Casework Function deals with the delivery of case preparation and the provision of other legal services in support of COPFS core functions; and through the High Court Function deals with all High Court cases
    • Management Support
    • Project Management Support.
  • Victim Information and Advice: Victim Information and Advice (VIA) offers help to child victims and victims of crime in cases of domestic abuse, hate crime, sexual crime or where it is likely that a trial will involve a jury

  • Case Preparer (PO and IA): Preparation of precognitions, in all categories of cases, in accordance with Departmental guidance and as directed by Senior Legal Managers. The main responsibilities, activities and duties of the role include:

    • Awareness of the needs of all witnesses and victims, ensuring compliance with COPFS commitments to Victims and Prosecution Witness policy
    • Liaison with victims and witnesses
    • Liaison with VIA colleagues
    • Liaison with all partner agencies including Police, SPA, Pathologists and other experts throughout the investigation process
    • Liaison with Advocate Deputes
    • Effective time management to ensure all departmental targets and legal time bars are met.
COPFS minimum entry requirements: The minimum entry qualifications are 5 National Level 5’s at grades A-C (including English) or equivalent; or demonstrable experience of general office work. Literacy and fluency in English are also essential requirements. 

Application process

We recommend you read our Candidates guide to competency based selection prior to applying for a post.

The guide includes advice and information on:
  • your eligibility for employment with COPFS
  • the ‘Guaranteed Interview Scheme’ as defined by the Disability Discrimination Act
  • how to complete your application
  • how we sift and shortlist applicants
  • the interview and our other selection methods
  • how we assess applicants at the sift stage and the interview
  • what you can do at the end of your interview
  • your right to appeal against any non-selection decision.

For our competency based selection you must provide specific evidence of competency related behaviours in each of the key competencies detailed in the job advert. 

Our Competency Framework details the levels for each job, a description for each competency and what behaviours are expected at each level.  Please ensure you refer to the Framework and understand the level and behaviours expected of the role advertised.

 

Our vacancies

Information on all current job vacancies and applications forms can be found on our Job Vacancy page.  

 

Equaliy and diversity in COPFS

Here at COPFS, we are proud to be Diversity Champions and continue our long term commitment to inclusion within our workplace, and celebrate the diversity of our employees, and the communities we work in.

As an employer, we provide equality of opportunity and will not tolerate discrimination on grounds of age, belief, disability, gender, gender identity, marital status, pregnancy and maternity, race, sex and sexual orientation – or any other grounds.

We make everyone feel welcome within the organisation by regularly reviewing and refreshing our policies to ensure we use all-inclusive language, and have a number of network groups within the company which includes: Proud in COPFS; Equality Ambassadors and the Staff Disability Advisory Group.

For further information on the Civil Service’s diversity and inclusion policies, and how equality and diversity are monitored, please see here.  

 

Our privacy policy

To learn about how we handle your information during the recruitment exercise, please see our Privacy Notice for job applicants.

Benefits of working with us

We have a range of employee benefits, including:

  • performance related pay
  • generous pension package

  • flexible working hours scheme
  • generous annual leave
  • public and privilege holiday package

  • strong development and training policies

  • active equal opportunities policy
  • an opportunity to join our LGBT staff network group
  • an opportunity to join our Staff Disability Advisory Group

  • access to an Employee Assistance Programme - a free counselling service

  • a Childcare Voucher Scheme

  • interest free travel season ticket loans
  • a Cycle to Work Scheme

Job profiles

We employ around 1700 staff with opportunities across Scotland – view our locations. 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.

Career opportunities

Working with us

Our role

The main COPFS priorities are to bring criminals to justice, protecting the people of Scotland from further harm from perpetrators of crime while ensuring justice is obtained, leading to safer, healthier and flourishing economic environments for individuals and communities.
  • COPFS is Scotland’s sole prosecution service, acting on the authority of the Lord Advocate
  • our purpose is to secure justice for the people of Scotland, making it a safer place to live
  • we receive initial investigation reports about crimes from the police, and all other reporting agencies in Scotland, and decide, independently and impartially, what action to take in the public interest, including whether to prosecute
  • we also enquire into deaths that need further explanation and investigate allegations of criminal conduct against police officers
  • in all our decisions we take into account the diverse needs and rights of victims, witnesses, communities and of those accused of crime.

See here for our Current Jobs Vacancies

See here for our Privacy Notice for job applicants.

Further information:  See the Strategic Plan 2015-2018

 

 

More about our role:
A short (1 min. 15 sec.) introduction to the Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service - who we are and what we do, with or without a voiceover; and which can also be viewed with British Sign Language (BSL) interpretation.

The Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service - BSL interpretation

The Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service - with voiceover

The Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service - without voiceover

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.

Careers

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 here 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