Public Prosecutor

Public prosecutors represent the Attorney General in criminal cases in a magistrate's or regional court. Each prosecutor has a delegation to prosecute in a specific magisterial district or regional division.

Public prosecutors study police dockets and often ask for additional police investigations to build up complete cases. On the basis of the evidence prosecutors decide if accused people may reasonably be charged and in terms of which laws or regulations this should be done. If it is decided to prosecute the accused, the prosecutor summons the accused and witnesses to appear in court.

Public prosecutors present cases to the courts, explaining and arguing all relevant evidence, whether against or in favour of the accused, to ensure that justice prevails. It is the job of public prosecutors to try to prove the alleged transgression beyond reasonable doubt.

Public prosecutors' work is done mostly in court and in the office where research is done on a case. Prosecutors may sometimes accompany witnesses to crime scenes to get more information about cases. They also have to do administrative work and have to write reports to the Attorney General and keep records of cases dealt with.

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course 

Each institution has its own entry requirements.


What to Study

There are two possible ways to become a public prosecutor.

One is to study for an N.Dip: Luris or BLuris degree while working in a clerical capacity at a magistrate’s office or the Department of Justice.

The second possibility is to complete one’s studies before assuming duty. After successful completion of the B.Luris or BProc degree, public prosecutors can study towards the LLB degree, which is a requirement for promotion to higher posts.

Degree: B.Luris or BProc - NWU, UWC, Wits, UJ, UCT, US, RU, UL, UFS, NMMU, UNISA, UFH, UV, UZ

Diploma: N.Dip: Luris - UFH, UNISA

Before prospective public prosecutors are permanently appointed, it is necessary for candidates to successfully complete a course at Justice College, the training department of the Justice Department, as well as practical training in a court.


Department of Justice

Once public prosecutors have acquired experience in district courts, they may become regional court prosecutors where serious cases are handled, such as murder, rape, fraud, robbery and culpable homicide.

Public prosecutors with LLB degrees can transfer to the office of the Attorney General where they will prosecute cases, mostly in High Court, as state advocates.

Further Information

Law Society of SA
P O Box 36626
Menlo Park, 1729
Tel: (012) 366-8800 Fax: (012) 362-0969

Getting Started

  • try to obtain vacation or part-time work in a court environment or police station
  • obtain as much experience as possible, working with different people, e.g. at a community centre
  • arrange to speak to a public prosecutor about this type of career

Programmes by Study Institutions

Related Occupations