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THE CPS lawyers’ union has drawn up an internal code of ethics for the service to prevent its members from breaking their own professional rules.
The CPS section of the Association of First Division Civil Servants (FDA) is planning to present the code, which is so far only in draft form, to Dame Barbara Mills QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions.
They will call on her to officially adopt it, and appoint an ombudsman to deliberate on complaints from lawyers when they believe they are being forced to breach the code due to lack of time or resources.
The idea has been endorsed by FDA headquarters, and the Law Society and the Bar Council will be consulted by the union before the code is submitted to Mills.
If she refuses to accept the code, the union is planning to adopt it unilaterally.
Kevin Goodwin, who has just been elected for a second year as the convenor of the FDA’s CPS section, said: “There is grave and growing concern among the CPS lawyers that because of serious under-resourcing of the prosecuting front line they are in danger of being unable to comply with their own codes of practice and their statutory obligations.”
The FDA code will require that a lawyer should not undertake a task if he or she does not have enough time to do it properly.
It will also rule that lawyers should not compromise their professional standards in order to please their senior managers.
The code has been drawn up against a background of sustained tension between the CPS section of the FDA and Mills over the way the service is being run.
The CPS, however, maintains that the quality of its service is constantly being improved.