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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Criminal justice practitioners across Scotland can access CJSM - Criminal Justice Secure eMail.
What is Criminal Justice Secure eMail (CJSM)?
Secure eMail is a safe, efficient alternative to regular email, fax and post. When you hit the send button on your Secure eMail, the information contained in it is encrypted, so it can only be read by your intended recipient. By contrast, regular emails can be fairly easily intercepted and read by just about anyone.
Why Do I need Secure eMail?
Within the Criminal Justice community the need to exchange sensitive information about forthcoming court cases means that the consequences can be serious if sensitive information falls into the wrong hands.
All the Scottish public service criminal justice organisations such as the Police, COPFS and Scottish Court Service already use Secure eMail systems (GSI, GSX and CJX) which are part of the Government Secure Community. That means they can already send and receive sensitive information through these systems securely.
CJSM connects directly into - and is accredited by - the Government Secure Community.
How does Secure eMail Work?
CJSM - Secure eMail technology encrypts the contents of an email when it is sent. This encryption ensures that the email, if intercepted, will be unreadable. Once the email reaches its destination it will be decrypted so that the intended recipient can read it. CJSM will enable the sharing of sensitive information with anyone in the criminal justice community, quickly and reliably, so everyday processes can be handled in a more secure, efficient and cost-effective way.
Who can I email securely from my CJSM account?
Emails can be sent from a CJSM account to any other user of CJSM, which means those with cjsm.net within their email address. Emails can also be sent to anyone with .gsi .pnn .gsx .gcsx and .nhs.net (NOT .nhs.uk). Note emails cannot be sent from CJSM to an insecure email account.
Can I receive emails to my CJSM account from an insecure email account?
With normal email, you can receive emails from any organisation or person that you have not ‘blocked’ from sending to you. Secure eMail works the other way round – you can only send/receive emails to/from addresses that are part of a ‘closed community’ of users.
How can users know who else is using Secure eMail?
CJSM users can find details of other CJSM users in the online Secure eMail Directory. They can also update their own details to ensure that the Directory remains accurate. Users can also store ‘Contacts’ within their CJSM mail account.
How do I arrange to sign-up for CJSM?
Registration for CJSM is straightforward and can be accessed at http://cjsm.justice.gov.uk
Click on ‘Apply now’and enter your firm's details (see the - Egress CJSM MB Application guide.pdf)
Download the terms and conditions, sign and post them (ideally by recorded delivery) to the CJSM helpdesk at: CJSM Administrators, Egress Software Technologies Ltd, Unit 16 Quadrant Business Centre, 135 Salusbury Road, London NW6 6RJ
• Make sure you press the ‘Submit application’ after downloading the Ts&Cs.
• There is online training available at http://cjsm.justice.gov.uk including a walkthrough of the application form – but be aware this is the more complex of the two types of application.
• When completing the application form select ‘Solicitor – Scotland’ as your ‘Business Type’. This will ensure you go into the correct place in the cjsm directory.
• It would be helpful if you do not tick the ex-directory box within the mailbox Settings.
What email address should I use when sending secure emails to COPFS?
An email address similar to the one above has been created for each PF office in Scotland to allow secure emails to be received and issued from each office.
Is there any training for CJSM users?
An online training package is available at http://cjsm.justice.gov.uk
More information on the service itself is also available on this website.
Further information on the benefits of CJSM can be found at http://cjsm.justice.gov.uk
If you would like to discuss any issues prior to sign up please contact the following email address and use the email heading – CJSM Secure email and a member of staff within the Strategy and Delivery Division in Crown Office will contact you.
DATA PROTECTION ACT 1998
HOW TO ACCESS INFORMATION FROM COPFS
Under the Data Protection Act you are entitled to receive certain personal information which an organisation (in this case, COPFS) holds about you.
Subject to certain important exemptions, you are entitled:
In addition, you are entitled to have the content of the information communicated to you and to be told of the source of the information, if known.
COPFS holds personal data within case papers. If you require access to your own personal data held within these files, we can provide it to you if you make a subject access request(see how to make a request section below) under the Data Protection Act. However, you should note the following points:-
Information Relating to the Apprehension and Prosecution of Offenders.
Information which is being processed for the apprehension or prosecution of offenders does not need to be disclosed to you where to do so would prejudice that process. This means that, in certain circumstances, it may not be possible to disclose personal information where to do so would prejudice a criminal prosecution.
Personal Information about Other People
Personal information may not be disclosed where it could lead to the disclosure of personal information about another person who could be identified from that information. We are, however, obliged to provide as much of the information as it is possible to disclose without disclosing the identity of the other individual.
How to make a Request
You can request information which we may hold about you by making a subject access request. The application form is available to download from the COPFS website, or you can obtain a hard copy from the COPFS Data Protection Co-ordinator at the address below.
The form must be completed in ink and you should explain clearly what information you are looking for. To help establish your identity, copies of TWO official documents must accompany your application, which between them clearly show:
For example, a photocopy of a driving licence, birth/adoption certificate, passport and any other official document that shows your name and address.
You should then submit the form and identification to:
The Data Protection Co-ordinator
25 Chambers Street
Charging a Fee
The Data Protection Act provides that up to £10 may be charged as a fee for providing information to you. At present it is our policy to provide your first request for information free of charge, but a fee may be charged for the provision of information in subsequent requests.
If you consider that a request by you for access to your personal data was not dealt with in accordance with the Data Protection Act, you may write to the Information Commissioner, who may do one of the following:
The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:
Tel: 0303 123 1113
Requesting Personal Information under the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA)
Data held by COPFS about Criminal Cases
If you have requested information about a case you were involved in, you may wish to note that:
COPFS recently received a subject access request (SAR) under the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) from an individual who requested "all data you hold about me".
COPFS held a significant amount of information about this individual in a number of different areas of business and therefore advised that the information requested was likely to amount to unstructured personal data within the meaning of section 9A of the DPA.
The information held by COPFS was complex, and significant proportions of it were not the personal information of the requester. COPFS asked the requester to submit a description of the specific data required to progress the request. The response received did not provide the specific description required.
In addition COPFS considered some of the material held to be exempt from release in terms of sections 7(4) and 29(1) of the DPA.
The requester appealed to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). The ICO agreed that it was likely that COPFS had complied with the requirements of the DPA in this instance.
In particular, the ICO stated:
Section 9A of the DPA related to unstructured data held by public authorities, and if an individual has made a SAR for completely unstructured data, then for it to be caught by the SAR, the SAR must actually describe it (ie it must specifically ask for that information).
Section 7(4) – (6) of the Data Protection Act relates to third party information involved in a subject access request. It dictates that considerations are whether a duty of confidence is owed to the third party, whether the information can be anonymised, and whether the third party has consented to the disclosure of their information.
In this, case, while witness statements might include some mention of the requester, that did not automatically entitle the person to a copy of the information. The ICO accepted that in this case that it was not possible to redact third party information in a manner would allow its release.
The ICO was also satisfied that the exemption at section 29 had been applied appropriately and concluded that COPFS had provided all the personal data it was obliged to provide in this case.
Accused – A person charged with breaking the law. The term defendant is not used in Scotland.
Acquittal – A verdict of a jury or a decision of a judge that an accused is not guilty or a case is not proven.
Adjournment – A break in court proceedings, perhaps for lunch, overnight or to a new date.
Advocate – A lawyer who is a member of the Faculty of Advocates, or Scottish Bar. Also known as counsel. Different advocates act for the prosecution and the defence.
Advocate depute – Experienced prosecutor who appears in the High Court. They make decisions in serious cases and fatal accident inquiries, also advising procurators fiscal on complex or sensitive issues.
Affidavit – A signed statement made on oath. Sometimes this can be used in court as evidence of what the witness says, without the witness having to come to court.
Affirmation – A declaration or promise to tell the truth in court that does not involve taking a religious oath.
Allegation – A claim or accusation that has been made but not yet proved.
Appeal – Challenge to conviction and/or sentence. The prosecution can only appeal against an unduly lenient sentence.
Bail – A person must agree to certain conditions before being released from custody by a court, for instance, by promising not to commit any more crimes or interfere with witnesses.
Bar officer (in the sheriff court) – A person who helps the judge and looks after people in court, for example, calling each witness into the courtroom and showing witnesses pieces of evidence. Also known as court officer.
Charge – The crime that the accused person is thought to have committed.
Charge (to the jury) – The judge’s legal direction to a jury on matters of law and evidence before it decides on the verdict.
Citation – The form or letter that tells a witness or juror where and when to go to court.
Clerk (of court) – The person who keeps the court papers and records.
Commissioner – A lawyer, judge, sheriff or other suitable person who hears evidence at a different time or place to the actual court case. The evidence can then be used during the court case.
Committal for further examination – The accused’s first appearances in court, which is held in private. The accused will be granted bail or remanded in custody until full committal for trial.
Complaint – A statement accusing someone of breaking the law.
Confiscation – Money or other property taken from an offender who benefited from criminal activity.
Copy complaint – A letter from the procurator fiscal to an accused person, telling them what they have been charged with and when to appear in court.
Corroboration – An accused cannot be convicted unless there is evidence from at least two independent sources that the crime was committed and that the accused was responsible for it.
Counsel – Advocates who act for the prosecution and the defence.
Court familiarisation visit – A visit arranged in advance of a trial to help witnesses become more familiar with the courtroom.
Court officer – A person who helps the judge and looks after people in court, for example, calling each witness into the courtroom and showing witnesses pieces of evidence. In the sheriff court, also known as a Bar officer. In the High Court, also known as a macer.
Cross-examination – Being questioned by the other lawyers after questioning by the person who has asked the witness to come to court.
Crown counsel – Advocate deputes who appear in the High Court.
Custody – When a person is kept in prison or a police cell.
Defence lawyer/counsel – A lawyer who represents the accused and helps the accused in court.
Deferred sentence – When the final decision about any punishment is deferred or put off to another date, usually three to 12 months later.
Diet – The date for a case, for instance, to hear a plea of guilty or not guilty, at an intermediate stage or for a trial.
Evidence – What a witness says in court. Also items such as documents, photographs or clothes.
Examination-in-chief – The questioning by the person who has asked the witness to come to court. This is the first set of questions the witness is asked. The other lawyers then cross-examine the witness.
Extended sentence – A sentence consisting of a custodial element (imprisonment or detention in a young offender's institution) and a period of supervision in the community on release.
Fatal accident inquiry – A court hearing to establish the circumstances of some sudden, unexplained or suspicious deaths in the public interest. They must take place when someone dies in custody or a death is caused by an accident at work. The aim is to prevent future deaths or injuries.
First calling – The first time a case is called in court.
Floating trial – A High Court case where the date and place of the trial can vary.
Forensic evidence – Scientific evidence collected from a victim, a crime scene and others, such as fingerprints and DNA.
Full committal – The second appearance in court for an accused who was remanded in custody at a committal for further examination. It takes place in private. The accused will be granted bail or remanded in custody until the trial.
Hearing – Any part of a trial that takes place in a court.
Home detention curfew – A form of early release on licence from prison. Offenders are subject to curfew conditions and are monitored by an electronic device sometimes known as a tag.
Identification – When a witness points out the person he or she has been talking about. This can happen before or during a trial.
Indictment – A court document that sets out the charges the accused faces.
Intestate – The term used when someone dies without making a will.
Judge – The expert in law who is in charge of all court proceedings and ensures legal rules are followed.
Jury – The group of men and women who listen to the evidence and make decisions about the facts in a case. In criminal cases, there are 15 jurors, with 12 in civil cases.
Justice of the peace – A lay magistrate who sits in the justice of the peace court.
K - No entries for letter 'K'.
Law Officers – The Lord Advocate and the Solicitor General for Scotland.
Licence – This sets out conditions for the release of an offender from prison before the end of a sentence.
Macer – A person in the High Court who helps the judge and looks after people in court, for example, calling each witness into the courtroom and showing witnesses pieces of evidence. Also known as a court officer.
Next of kin – Closest relative.
Not guilty/not proven – Verdicts that mean there was not enough evidence to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt, or there were other special reasons for not finding the accused guilty. Both verdicts mean the accused will be free to leave the court and cannot be tried again for the same offence.
Oath – A religious promise to tell the truth in court.
Offender – Someone who has committed an offence
Party litigant – In a court action, someone who appears without a legal representative.
Petition – In criminal cases, a petition sets out the charges against the accused and starts the formal court process. It is also a document used to begin certain types of civil court cases.
Plea – The answer the accused gives to the court at the beginning of a trial when asked if he or she is guilty or not guilty.
Plea in mitigation – Any factors that the accused’s lawyer thinks should be taken into account before the judge passes sentence after a finding of guilt.
Police bail – Someone arrested by the police can be released if they sign a document called an undertaking, which means they promise to come to court at a later date and agree to certain conditions, such as not committing any other crimes.
Post-mortem examination – Examination of a body to establish the cause of death.
Precognition – An interview of a witness by a procurator fiscal or defence lawyer to help them find out more about a crime and prepare for a court case.
Probation – A sentence in criminal cases that means an offender will be supervised by a social worker for a period of between six months and three years.
Procurator fiscal – A legally qualified civil servant who receives reports about crimes from the police and others and then decides what action to take in the public interest, including whether to prosecute someone. They also look into deaths that need further explanation and investigate allegations of criminal conduct against police officers.
Production – An item shown in court as evidence.
Proof – Either evidence of something or a formal hearing of evidence in a civil case of children’s hearing court.
Public interest – A number of factors taken into account by prosecutors when making decisions, including the interests of the victim, the accused and the wider community.
Remote site – A place where a person can give evidence by video link to a court.
Scottish Bar – The Faculty of Advocates.
Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration – The national organisation for children’s reporters, who present children’s hearing court cases. If concerns about a child are agreed or proved at court, a children’s hearing could be held. This involves the child, family members, children’s panel members and others meeting to discuss what action to take.
Sentence – The judge's decision on what should happen when an accused is found guilty of breaking the law.
Sentence discount – When the judge reduces the length of sentence because the accused has pleaded guilty.
Sheriff – The name for a judge in the sheriff court.
Sheriff and jury – Cases heard in the sheriff court by a sheriff and jury.
Solicitor – A lawyer who is a member of the Law Society of Scotland.
Solemn case – Serious criminal case before a judge and jury in the High Court or sheriff court.
Soul and conscience letter – A medical certificate and/or a letter from a doctor explaining that someone is too unwell to go to court.
Special measures – Different ways to help vulnerable witnesses, including all children, such as giving evidence from behind a screen in the courtroom or by a television link, or having a support person in court.
Statement – A note or recording of what a witness has said.
Stipendary magistrate – A legally qualified judge who hears summary criminal cases.
Summary case – Less serious criminal case before a sheriff, stipendiary magistrate or justice of the peace, without a jury.
Supervision – A prisoner released on a licence will be supervised by the local authority criminal justice services.
Support person – A person who can stay with a witness when they come to court.
Undertaking – The document signed by someone who has been arrested and released on police bail after promising to come to court at a later date and agreeing to certain conditions, such as not committing any other crimes.
Verdict – The decision reached at the end of a trial – guilty, not guilty and not proven.
Victim Information and Advice – The COPFS service that offers assistance to some victims and witnesses.
Victim statement – A written statement that allows victims or, in some cases, their relatives to tell the court how the crime affected them.
Warrant – A document from the court that allows the police to take certain actions, such as arresting someone or searching premises.
Witness Service – People at the court who provide support and advice to witnesses and their families.
XYZ - No entries for letters 'XYZ'.
All pages on this site aim to be accessible to WAI WCAG AA or better, complying with priority 1 and 2 guidelines of the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
We are working on site improvements on an ongoing basis. Please get in touch and email us with your comments and constructive feedback or to suggest links which others may find useful.
If users have any questions or suggestions regarding our accessibility policy, please contact us at:
Postal address: The Crown Office, 25 Chamber Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1LA
Telephone number: 01389 739 557, rates from mobile telephones may vary by provider
Calls can be made through RNID Typetalk. Please prefix our telephone number with 18001.
Deaf sign language users should text on 07825 280346, specifying if you would prefer your reply by sms, text or email
Web site URL: www.copfs.gov.uk/
The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service seeks to ensure that the information published on its website is up to date and accurate. However, the information on the website does not constitute legal or professional advice and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service cannot accept any liability for actions arising from its use. The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service cannot be held responsible for the contents of any pages referenced by an external link.
Any personal data collected through this website will be treated as confidential in line with the principles of the Data Protection Act 1998.
Log files stored on the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service web server allow the recording and analysis of users' use of the website. Log files do not contain any personal information.
The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service is the sole owner of the information collected on www.copfs.gov.uk. The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service processes personal data for the purposes of aiding its work with the Scottish Ministers to improve the well-being of Scotland and its people.
Though we make every effort to preserve user privacy, we may need to disclose personal information when required by law wherein we have a good-faith belief that such action is necessary to comply with a current judicial proceeding, a court order or legal process served on our Web site.
Third Party Intermediaries
We use an outside contractor to manage our user database. This company do not retain, share, store or use personally identifiable information for any secondary purposes.
We partner with other third parties to provide specific services. For example database development, push mobile technology and hosting. When the user signs up for these particular services, we share names, or other contact information including mobile number and full contact information with the third party service providers so that the third party can supply these services. These third parties are not allowed to use personally identifiable information except for the purpose of providing these services.
Users of our site are always notified when their information is being collected by any outside parties. We do this so our users can make an informed choice as to whether or not they should proceed with services that require an outside party.
This Website contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every Website that collects personally identifiable information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Website.
From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys. Participation in these surveys is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose this information. The requested information typically includes contact information (such as name and address), and demographic information (such as postal code). Contact information will not be shared with any third parties unless we give prior notice and choice. Though we may use an intermediary to conduct these surveys, they may not use users' personally identifiable information for any secondary purposes.
Notification of Changes
If, however, we are going to use users' personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time of collection we will notify users via email or by posting a notice on our Web site for 30 days.
Postal address: The Crown Office, 25 Chamber Street, Edinburgh EH1 1LA
You can phone 01389 739 557, rates from mobile telephones may vary by provider.
Calls can be made through RNID Typetalk. Please prefix our telephone number with 18001.
Deaf sign language users should text on 07825 280346, specifying if you would prefer your reply by sms, text or email
Web site URL: www.copfs.gov.uk/
Cookies and Website Traffic Analysis
When users enter the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service website their computers will automatically be issued with 'cookies'. Cookies are text files which identify users' computers to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service's server. The website then creates "session" cookies to store some of the preferences of users moving around the website, e.g. retaining a text-only preference. Cookies in themselves do not identify individual users but identify only the computer used and they are deleted on departure from the website.
Many websites do this to track traffic flows, whenever users visit those websites.
The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service website uses third-party cookies to measure use of the website including number of visitors, how frequently pages are viewed, and the city and country of origin of users.
Users have the opportunity to set their computers to accept all cookies, to notify them when a cookie is issued, or not to receive cookies at any time. The last of these means that certain personalised services cannot then be provided to that user.
What can I do to manage cookies stored on my computer?
You can easily remove any cookies that have been created in the cookie folder of your browser. The AllAboutCookies website provides details of how to remove cookies from a Windows machine using Windows Explorer as well as instructions on how to disable cookies on all of the major web browsers.
Visit AllAboutCookies now.
To view the most commonly used cookies in our website please view our list of cookies.
Cookies we use
Below is a list of the cookies we use and the cookies set by third party applications on our website.
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Most web browsers allow some control of most cookies through the browser settings. To find out more about cookies, including how to see what cookies have been set and how to manage and delete them, visit http://www.allaboutcookies.org.
To opt out of being tracked by Google Analytics across all websites visit http://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout.
Re-using Crown copyright material
You may use and re-use the information featured on this website (not including logos) free of charge in any format or medium, under the terms of the Open Government Licence
Re-using third party material
Any material on this site which is identified as the copyright of a third party is not covered by Crown copyright. This is the case with some photographs. Authorisation to reproduce such material must be obtained from the copyright holders concerned.
Linking to the COPFS website
The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service encourages users to establish links to the site. You don't have to ask for permission to do this.
Images, photography and video
Images and photographs on this site are subject to Crown copyright protection unless otherwise indicated. You may re-use Crown copyright images subject to the conditions stated above.
Linking to third party websites
Please note that our website contains links to websites operated by third parties. If you use these links, you leave our website.
These links are provided for your information and convenience only. The inclusion of any such links does not necessarily imply a recommendation or endorse the views expressed within them.
COPFS cannot be held responsible for the contents of any pages referenced by an external link.
For further information on Crown copyright policy and licensing arrangements, see the National Archives guidance.