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Working in the Counter Terrorism Division

Background to Counter Terrorism Division

The Counter Terrorism Division was created in 2005 and in April 2011 it merged with the Special Crime Division to form the Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division. The Counter Terrorism Division deals with all prosecutions involving terrorism, war crimes and crimes against humanity, incitement (race, religion and sexual orientation), piracy and official secrets. High profile cases dealt with by the Counter Terrorism Division include the attempted bombings in London on 21st July 2005, the London/Glasgow bombings, the transatlantic airline plot, which led to the ban of liquids being carried onto airlines and the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby.

International role and reputation

CTD Specialist Prosecutors have developed strong relationships with key partners around the world recognising that terrorism is a global problem and we need to work together to tackle it successfully. Due to the high reputation of the Division CTD Specialist Prosecutors are frequently asked to give presentations and provide training to other prosecuting authorities across the world.

Overview of the role of CTD Specialist Prosecutors

Specialist Prosecutors review and advise on complex and serious cases from the earliest possible stage. This includes building a case, providing "real time" operational legal advice to others, requesting evidence from abroad and liaising with intelligence agencies. Specialist prosecutors draft international arrest warrants and advise in relation to the extradition to the UK of terrorism suspects abroad. They have a limited advocacy role conducting first hearings in the magistrates' court and preliminary hearings in the Crown Court; however they retain file ownership of their cases and work as a member of the prosecution team until court proceedings, including all appeals, are concluded. Their role involves working collaboratively with other agencies in the UK and abroad on case specific issues, including Joint Investigative Teams, or wider criminal justice system issues such as influencing policy and legislation in relation to the Division's specialisms.

CTD Specialist Prosecutors deal with some of the most sensitive, challenging and demanding casework within the CPS involving significant, complex and unique evidential and sensitive legal and political issues relating foreign policy. Their role is one of the most interesting and rewarding posts in the CPS and as a member of the Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division there is the opportunity for broader development opportunities, including, in the future, learning about or being involved in other high profile and interesting specialisms.

Personal recommendations from current team members

Rebecca - CTD Specialist Prosecutor:

"We get exposure to really interesting work on the CTD and are frequently confronted with complex and unusual legal issues. Whilst this can be very challenging it is satisfying to tackle these points and it is reassuring to know you have a friendly and supportive team behind you so there is always someone ready and willing to help you find the right way forward."

Kiernan - CTD Specialist Prosecutor

"The work is incredibly interesting. The interaction with other government departments provides an insight into their working practices and indeed their priorities. The law on terrorism is continually evolving which in itself brings its own challenges in conducting a criminal prosecution in what is undeniably a fascinating area of law."

Thomas - CTD Specialist Prosecutor:

"I work as a Specialist Prosecutor in CTD; the work is fascinating, challenging and rewarding in having to marshal and resolve complex factual, sensitive and legal scenarios with the police and stakeholders that contributes to keeping the country safe through the rule of law."

Carolyn - CTD Specialist Prosecutor:

"I had my first large and high profile arrest and Terrorism Act 2000 detention after about 11 months of being on CTD. This gave me sufficient experience and training within the unit to manage this process. Yes, it was really hard work and involved long hours for a few weeks but it was a really rewarding experience. I was supported throughout by my manager who was there 24/7 to help, answer questions and come to conferences with me. The rest of the unit were great too, offering to pick up work that I couldn't get to. There was a real team spirit with the police too. We built a case together which, when the 14 days detention period started looked difficult to say the least, into a case where all the defendant were charged. It felt like a real team achievement and something to be proud of."

Lindsay - CTD Specialist Prosecutor

"I joined the CPS's CTD recently, as a newbie to CPS too, having defended at the independent bar, employed bar and then prosecuted for a local authority. The transition to the CPS has been much more efficient and positive an experience than I envisaged and whilst I am still learning the CPS's and in particular CTD's protocols and procedures, there is a wealth of information available on the infonet, from line managers and colleagues to help you learn the ropes. CTD also provides comprehensive bespoke training provided by colleagues along with a buddy system to introduce you to the case types, legislation and case management. The work is fascinating, varied in its type and complexity and there is some opportunity for advocacy too."