Budget cuts may force the CPS to freeze its legal trainee placement scheme next year.
News that the scheme, which saw 30 trainee lawyers taken on this year, may not go ahead in 1997 has overshadowed the signing of a protocol designed to boost the number of ethnic minority lawyers who work for it.
The protocol was announced at the fifth annual conference of the African Caribbean and Asian Lawyers Group on 26 October.
The joint agreement between CPS and the group is designed to help raise awareness within the ethnic minority community of the opportunities available in the service.
Alerting law students to trainee placements was to be a key element of the protocol, which will also encourage people to join voluntary work placements.
The agreement was announced by Raj Joshi, a senior civil servant in CPS Directorate Case Work Services, who said it was the first arrangement of its kind for the CPS.
The news was welcomed by the ACA, despite the uncertainty surrounding next year's trainee scheme.
A CPS spokesmen said: “No decision has been made regarding the number of trainees who will be selected next year. Although suitable contenders have been interviewed, the next scheme may take place in 1998.”