What is a private prosecution?With a lack of resources and hopeless inefficiency, government agencies are often not the best option for justice. There are now considerable advantages in mounting your own criminal private prosecution. A private prosecution is “a prosecution started by a private individual who is not acting on behalf of the police or any other prosecuting authority or body which conducts prosecutions”. The right of a private individual to bring a criminal prosecution is a historical one originating in the earliest days of the legal system. Although the need for private individuals to bring (and pay for) criminal prosecutions has largely disappeared since the creation of the office of Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in 1879, the right to do so remains. It has been described as a “useful constitutional safeguard against capricious, corrupt or biased failure or refusal of the authorities, but is now far more than that. A criminal prosecution can be used alongside civil proceedings and has many advantages. Private prosecutions are not reliant on inefficient government agencies. Check out our record of success in defence work – over 80%. In the 18th Century, nearly all criminal prosecutions were pursued privately. Before the "Prosecution of Offences Act 1879" there were no public prosecutors. Police forces were gradually set up after 1829 and eventually established their own prosecution divisions. Indeed, it was only relatively recently that the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 established the Crown Prosecution Service (“CPS”). It should be noted however that the Director for Public Prosecutions retains a right under the same Act to take over a private prosecution and continue or discontinue it if it does not meet CPS prosecution standards, the “Code for Crown Prosecutors”.
Why does the ability to bring a private prosecution exist?Lord Wilberforce in Gouriet v Union of Post Office Workers summarised it: “the individual, in such situations, who wishes to see the law enforced has a remedy of his own: he can bring a private prosecution. This historical right which goes right back to the earliest days of our legal system, though rarely exercised in relation to indictable offences… remains a valuable constitutional safeguard against inertia or partiality on the part of authority”.
Numerous crimes are not pursued because ”there is not enough evidence”, this often translates to “we cannot be bothered” or “it will cost too much” and is “not in the public interest.”
At Edward Hayes, you are in control of the investigation and case, we select the best investigators and trial advocates.
There are major costs incentive, you can claim costs and compensation from the defendant. Perhaps most attractively and even if the defendant is not in a position to pay costs or if the prosecution is not successful, the court can and should order “reasonable” costs for investigation and legal expenses to be paid out of central funds.
- We win the majority of our cases – our lawyers have a fantastic record of success in defence and prosecution
- There is no requirement for private prosecutions to satisfy the Code for Crown Prosecutors, which sets out the factors the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) should consider when deciding whether to institute a public prosecution
Our Criminal lawyers represent a major Government Department in the majority of its prosecution work in the South both in the Magistrates' Courts and Crown Courts, with a success rate of almost 100%. Our fraud and complex crime team include former prosecutors in some of the most complex cases and you only have to look at our defence case record and successes to assess our ability. Private prosecution is a real option for any victim of crime.
An alternative optionAs an alternative, we can help victims of crime report a matter to the appropriate authority or agency. We can gather evidence to support an allegation and can then present it for you in a clear manner. We can also ensure that the investigating or prosecuting authority keeps you informed as to the progress of their investigation and whether anyone is to be charged with a criminal offence.
During any subsequent trial, we are able to provide you with advice as to court procedure or can attend in your absence to provide you with information as to the proceedings. Throughout we will bring you the same skills that we are recognised for in our defence work.
Contact us today for specialist help and advice.