Crown prosecutors have reacted with fury to the Director of Public Prosecutions' (DPP) proposal to farm them out to defence solicitors' offices to "learn respect".
One of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) prosecutors, who asks not to be named, says: "It's absolutely outrageous.
"The DPP is making out that we're clueless novices in need of work experience."
DPP David Calvert-Smith's controversial suggestion comes after he accused some prosecutors of being "overly suspicious" of defenders and unwilling to acknowledge that they are an essential part of a balanced and fair system of justice.
He said that such secondments would enable prosecutors to "think like a defender" and thus outwit them in court.
A spokesman for First Division Association, the CPS's main union, says: "We have been inundated with calls from exceptionally irate CPS lawyers about the DPP's suggestion that we're less than adequate in terms of being able to do the job.
"It could become a major issue unless it is reciprocal. If it was, people wouldn't be so aggrieved.
"The way it's put forward makes it sound as if CPS lawyers are not fully competent and need to go into defence practices to do the job properly.
"We think defence lawyers have just as much to learn from prosecutors."