Procurator fiscal

prosecutor crown counsel PF
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Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would present cases in court to bring criminals to justice. You’d also look into sudden and unexplained deaths to find out what happened and if the death could have been prevented.

Your work would help to reduce crime in Scotland and ensure it is a safe place for people to live.

You would work for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, which is Scotland’s prosecution service.

When a crime or accident happens or a person dies suddenly or in unexplained circumstances, the police or other agencies will carry out an initial investigation and submit a report to the local procurator fiscal’s office.

Along with the police, more than 100 other agencies can also report cases to the fiscal. The type of issues they might report include:

  • Benefit fraud
  • Pollution of drinking water
  • Illegal dumping of waste
  • Infringement of trading standards

As a procurator fiscal, you would consider the evidence and decide on the best action to take for the public interest.

Sometimes you might decide not to prosecute, or you could issue a direct measure – a warning, penalty or referral to another service – instead of taking a case to court. You’d need to explain your decision.

You would:

  • Examine the evidence and witness statements to prepare cases for prosecution
  • Present cases in the Sheriff courts and Justice of the Peace courts
  • Look into sudden and suspicious deaths
  • Conduct Fatal Accident Inquiries
  • Investigate criminal complaints against the police

It’s a responsible job for which you would need to be methodical and thorough. Sometimes you would have to sensitively question people who are anxious at being in court or who may get upset when they have to describe a distressing or violent incident.

Working conditions

Hours

You would work 37 hours a week on a rota system and cover weekends and public holidays.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Communicating with people
  • Persuading people
  • Communicating ideas through writing
  • Using computers
  • Being logical
  • Researching and investigating
  • Planning and organising
  • Time management
  • Paying attention to detail
  • Making decisions

Build your skills

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Qualifications

You must be a qualified solicitor or advocate with a relevant degree in Scottish Law (SCQF level 10) and the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice (SCQF level 11).

Entry to an LLB (law degree) can be very competitive. You'll need at least five Highers at AAABB or above, often in one sitting. Some courses also require Advanced Highers. 

You can apply for entry to an accelerated LLB course, usually involving entry to the third year of study, with a relevant degree or honours degree (SCQF level 9/10).

Useful subjects

Most courses require:

  • English or English-based subjects 
  • Maths
  • Science subjects

You will also need

You may also be required to sit a National Admissions Test for Law (LNAT).

Helpful to have

The Law Society of Scotland offers events and activities for students at school considering studying the law.