Freedom of Information: COPFS Newly Qualified Lawyers Salaries (R008969)
Thank you for your request dated 5 November 2014 under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) for the undernoted information:
"1. The pay scale for a trainee lawyer with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service
2. The pay scale for a newly qualified lawyer with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service;
3. The number of 2nd year trainee lawyers retained and offered positions as fully qualified lawyers in 2014.
4. The number of newly qualified lawyers (having just completed the 2 year traineeship) hired in 2014 from outwith the COPFS.”
The term ‘lawyer ‘applies to both branches of the legal profession in Scotland. Solicitors are members of the Law Society of Scotland and advocates are members of the Faculty of Advocates. In both instances there is a period of supervised training which requires to be completed satisfactorily before applicants can request admission as members of the Law Society or Faculty.
In response to Part 1 of your request, I can confirm that the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service pay scale for a trainee solicitor in the first year of their traineeship is currently £16,700, rising to £20,000 in the second year. This reflects the recommended rates for Trainee Solicitors set by the Law Society of Scotland. Trainees have to complete the training contract to a suitable standard in order to be recommended to the Law Society of Scotland for admission and enrolement as a fully qualified Solicitor.
With regard to Part 2 of your request, for information regarding the pay scale for a ‘newly qualified lawyer’ with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, I can advise that as a result of the specialist nature of our work we require to provide training to all solicitors (or advocates) who join COPFS as members of our legal staff regardless of the period that they have been qualified. Those entering COPFS through fair and open competition as permanent employees or as fixed term employees as members of legal staff are all required to undergo an accreditation process to demonstrate their ability to investigate, prepare and present prosecution cases in the sheriff court and prepare cases for presentation in the High Court. Usually this process is of a two year duration or for the duration of the contract should they be employed for less than 2 years. During that time the individual will be supervised and coached by senior staff and receive training and work experience in all aspects of prosecution work considered necessary for an individual to be able to fufil the role of a fully competent Procurator Fiscal Depute. The pay scale for this qualified candidate training grade is £30,098 in the first year, rising to £31,256 in the second year.
Upon successful completion of the accreditation programme they will be placed on the main scale for Procurators Fiscal Depute which progresses from £39,000 to £47,297 per annum.
In respect of Part 3 of your request, I can advise that fifteen newly qualified solicitors who had undertaken their traineeships with COPFS were offered positions as qualified solicitors with COPFS in 2014.
In respect of Part 4 of your request, I can advise that a further four qualified solicitors who had not served their traineeships with COPFS were recruited by us in 2014.