SPA Advocacy Training and Assessment Programme (ATAP)
The SPA ATAP programme is designed to underpin the success of the SPA in its core function of prosecutions. This programme is provided to SPA Prosecuting Officers working in the UK and in Germany. The training is designed to raise the skills levels and learning opportunities of all Officers entering the SPA as Prosecutors, or returning after time away from Prosecuting and elevate them to the highest standards of all lawyers operating in the field of service law. It is a programme designed to serve the wider interests of all three Services by enhancing the professional competencies of service lawyers who serve in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces, and by instilling confidence in the SPA, the work of which is vital in underpinning Service discipline. (The programme is also advertised to wider Goverment legal departments who frequently provide delegates to the course. This allows mutual professional benefit.)
All Prosecutors who will prosecute cases on behalf of the SPA are officers who will have the ability to prosecute cases referred to the SPA at Court Martial and before other courts as necessary, commensurate with their experience. Such officers are predominantly drawn from the single Services are advocates, barristers or solicitors from any of the UK jurisdictions. Some of those who are England and Wales qualified solicitors have higher rights of audience and others seek to acquire such rights during their tours. In certain exceptional circumstances, employed advocates or advocates from private practice may be employed to advise or conduct cases on behalf of the SPA, where insufficient Prosecutors are available from within the Authority, or the case is of such complexity as warrants the use of external advocates.
On joining the SPA, Prosecutors will be briefed by a Managing Prosecutor on particular procedures applicable to the conduct of cases within the SPA.
All Prosecutors will be introduced on arrival to a formal SPA personal Induction Programme. In addition to both the personal individual induction and ATAP programmes there are a large number of other training opportunities held throught the year, at a varity of levels, in different areas of expertise, and taught both internally and externally.
The ATAP programme is a purpose designed course for all Prosecutors, including Managing Prosecutors, who will conduct cases on behalf of the SPA and will be the main vehicle for training delivery. There is a senior officer appointed to oversee the training programme which is conducted under the personal superintendence of the DSP. It will cover all aspects of service law and procedure which Prosecutors are likely to be required to understand in the ordinary course of their work. The course will provide a full advocacy training programme consistent with courses provided by the Inns of Court. There are regular law and procedure updates, and written materials will be provided to underpin the subject matter of the courses. These will also be available on SPA intranet.