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Furious Crown Prosecution Service lawyers are considering legal action after being passed up for promotion.
The lawyers, mainly middle-ranking prosecutors, say they were discriminated against in the process to find 42 chief crown prosecutors.
The CPS is accused of using performance markings in sifting internal candidates, while external applicants were judged on their application forms alone.
One CPS source says: "People are very bitter they have not been called to interview. It is understandable. If you were in that position you would expect to be called."
The First Division Association (FDA) confirms it has had between 10 and 20 complaints from branch prosecutors about the sifting process.
FDA national officer Steve Dent says its has received calls from disgruntled lawyers.
The FDA has asked the Civil Service Commission to confirm if performance markings were taken into account for internal applicants. The commission has yet to reply.
The FDA is advising disgruntled prosecutors to write a letter of complaint to Director of Public Prosecutions David Calvert-Smith QC and Civil Service Commissioner David Burr, who form part of the interview panel.
It is understood two CPS lawyers originally turned down for an interview wrote to Calvert-Smith to complain and have subsequently been given an interview.
A CPS spokeswoman says: "I don't think we'd wish to discuss the sift criteria or any of the internal procedures."