Procurators fiscal are qualified lawyers who are responsible for prosecuting crime in Scotland. They also investigate sudden and suspicious deaths, and conduct fatal accident enquiries.
The work involves:
District procurators fiscal and their deputes prosecute cases in all courts except the High Court of Judiciary. They work closely with Crown Counsel or Advocates Depute.
You would work 37 hours a week, Monday to Friday. You would also be on an 'on call' rota over evenings and weekends.
You would be based in a district office, and also travel around your district to attend court and the scenes of crimes and accidents. You would need to wear a gown when in court.
Salaries for fiscal deputes are between £27,300 and £33,600 a year. Senior staff like area procurators fiscal can earn up to £56,000 a year.
You will be employed by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, and work in one of the 48 district offices across Scotland, or in the Crown Office. There are around 400 procurators fiscal and deputes in Scotland.
All procurators fiscal are qualified solicitors in the Scottish legal system. To become a solicitor in Scotland, you must complete two stages of training – you must first meet certain academic standards and then pass vocational training.
You can meet the academic standards by gaining one of the following:
4 An LLB degree in Scots law (check with universities for entry requirements), or
A three-year pre-diploma training contract with a Scottish solicitor, followed by passing exams from the Law Society of Scotland.
Once you have satisfied the academic requirements, you must complete the vocational stage of training, which involves:
The 26-week Diploma in Legal Practice (DLP)
A two-year post-diploma training contract with a practising solicitor (this could be through a Legal Traineeship with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service).
See the Law Society of Scotland's website for more details about qualifying as a solicitor.
If you join the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service as a trainee solicitor, you will follow a highly structured training programme. In your first year you will work in the Crown Office in Edinburgh. In your second year, you will work as a procurator fiscal depute in one of the district offices, under guidance from senior colleagues.
COPFS typically offers around 25 two-year Legal Traineeships each year and competition is strong.
You could also join COPFS as a procurator fiscal depute if you are already a qualified solicitor, and shadow experienced staff as you gain experience of prosecutions.
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A procurator fiscal needs:
There is a well-defined career structure with different grades of procurator fiscal. Competition can be strong for promotion to higher grades.
You may need to move to other areas of Scotland to gain wider experience.
Skills for Justice,
Atlas Way, Sheffield S4 7QQ
Law Society of Scotland,
26 Drumsheugh Gardens, Edinburgh EH3 7YR
Tel: 0131 226 7411
Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service,
25 Chambers Street, Edinburgh EH1 1LA
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