Bar pledges full support for CPS Advocate Panel extension to safeguard children involved in sexual offenses

13 June 2013

The Bar Council, the Circuit Leaders and the Criminal Bar Association have today announced their joint support for the extension of the Crown Prosecution Services' (CPS) Advocate Panel's rape remit to include sexual offences involving children.

The CPS Advocate Panel scheme, established in 2011 to provide Circuit-based and specialist panels of advocates for the CPS to call upon in criminal prosecution work, currently holds a list of advocates who are qualified to deal with rape cases. This change will formally ensure complete protection for children in abuse cases although many advocates already undertake cases in this area.

Maura McGowan QC, Chairman of the Bar, said:

"We wholly support the decision to extend the remit of rape advocates on the CPS Advocate Panel to include all sexual offences involving children. Recent events, although exceptional, have demonstrated the importance of the way in which the criminal justice system deals with sexual offences involving young and vulnerable victims. It is imperative that we do all that we can to protect and safeguard them by ensuring that prosecuting advocates have the required skill and experience in handling such sensitive cases."

ENDS

Notes to Editors

1. For further information, please contact the Bar Council Press Office on 020 7222 2525 or Press@BarCouncil.org.uk.

2. The Circuit Leaders represent the different geographical regions of the Bar of England and Wales. For more information about the Circuits of the Bar, please click  here.

3. For more information on the Criminal Bar Association, please click  here.

4. The Bar Council represents barristers in England and Wales. It promotes:

  • The Bar's high quality specialist advocacy and advisory services

  • Fair access to justice for all

  • The highest standards of ethics, equality and diversity across the profession, and

  • The development of business opportunities for barristers at home and abroad.

The General Council of the Bar is the Approved Regulator of the Bar of England and Wales. It discharges its regulatory functions through the independent Bar Standards Board.