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Barristers will be graded on performance as part of a radical plan by the London arm of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to increase the value for money it gets from its advocates.
On 1 April 2007 the current system of giving work to preferred barristers' chambers will be replaced by a list of graded individual practitioners.
Barristers who want to be on the list are being asked to grade themselves from one to four according to experience and ability, in conjunction with their heads of chambers. A joint CPS and bar panel will then confirm the grading.
Tim Dutton QC, leader of the South Eastern Circuit, said the new system reflected that in operation elsewhere in the country and would help increase the diversity of barristers instructed by the CPS.
He added: "It should be perfectly possible to manage the distribution of CPS work to match all talent to brief."
The new system was devised by CPS Chief Crown Prosecutor for London Dru Sharpling, CPS Director of Legal Practice and Quality Assurance Raj Joshi, 25 Bedford Row's Kim Hollis QC and 6 King's Bench Walk's Anthony Leonard QC and Nicholas Hilliard.