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Whilst the majority of solicitors and barristers work in private practices, there a huge employment and training opportunities with public sector legal employers. These employers are largely made up of government run companies, both regional and national, and also includes The Crown Prosecution Service. As well as the big employers, local governments employ thousands of solicitors across 400 local authorities, offering a number of training contracts.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is a non-ministerial government department which is responsible for the public prosecution people who have committed and been charged with criminal offences by the Police.
The CPS employs lawyers, known as crown prosecutors, who prepare cases and recommend charges to police following investigation and presentation of evidence. They review cases that have been submitted by police, and offer advice on how to proceed.
Crown prosecutors are experienced barristers and solicitors who conduct trials at both the Crown Court (the court which presides over more serious cases, such as murder, for example) and Magistrates' courts (the lower level of courts in the UK which deals with more minor cases, including fines, and enforces short-term prison sentences).
The Crown Prosecution Service employs around 8,000 people in the UK including barristers, solicitors, paralegals and administrators.
The Government Legal Service (GLS) is a group comprising of around 1,900 qualified lawyers who work as civil servants in different aspects of the law. The GLS forms a group of around 2,000 Government lawyers and offers many training schemes and pupillages.
The GLS can work for a variety of Government organisations, such as the Home Office or the Office of Fair Trading.
The lawyers within the group have a range of duties with an overall aim of maintaining the laws of the country. They must offer advice to the different departments in the UK Government and ensure that the European Union law is correctly implemented into the UK law. The GLS has close working relationships with the other public sector employers including the CPS, The Government Legal Service for Scotland, and the Public Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland.
Like the Crown Prosecution Service, the GLS offers training schemes and opportunities for all types of legal roles.