The Private Prosecutors’ Association has recently published a code for Private Prosecutors ‘to provide a benchmark in the conduct of private prosecutions.’
Kangs Solicitors has previously commented upon the emergence of private prosecutions and for further information, please follow the link for a greater insight:
Helen Holder of Kangs Solicitors comments generally.
The Code | Kangs Private Prosecution Lawyers
- must observe the highest standards of integrity and have regard for the public interest,
- are subject to the same obligations as a public prosecuting authority,
- owe a duty to the Court to ensure that the proceedings are fair and that the case is dealt with justly,
- must withdraw or refuse to act if they consider the conduct of the party pursuing the prosecution to be improper or vexatious.
Crown Prosecution Service Code:
- although this does not apply to private prosecutions, it is good practice to use it as a benchmark.
- if the full code is not met i.e. the evidential and public interest tests, it is likely that the advice will be not to institute a private prosecution.
There is no duty upon a private prosecutor to inform the CPS of the proceedings. However:
- some offences require the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions before a summons can be issued.
- where the CPS is informed it may:
- allow the private prosecution to continue without intervening;
- take it over and continue it;
- discontinue it or stop it.
The rules that apply to public authority prosecutors apply to private prosecutors such as:
- obtaining evidence by way of investigation ensuring admissibility, being fair and balanced, not an abuse and acting impartially, objectively and independently,
- conducting interviews in compliance with the Police and Criminal Evidence Acts Codes of Practice,
- ensuring that a thorough review is undertaken of all unused material in order to comply with duties of disclosure.
Advantages of a Private Prosecution | Kangs Private Prosecution Solicitors
A private prosecution:
- may proceed where a public body lacks the resources or the will to prosecute,
- will often be quicker,
- will be more focused and efficient than a public prosecution,
- may be cheaper that High Court Proceedings,
- can provide remedies for those who have suffered harm either economic or physical,
- may lead to costs being recovered.
Contrast | Civil and Criminal Proceedings | Kangs Private Prosecution Team
- civil proceedings seek financial redress whereas a criminal prosecution is intended to punish the alleged offender which may not necessarily result in a financial recovery.
- a private prosecution should seek to punish those alleged to have committed a criminal offence and should not be launched purely as a means to seek a financial settlement.
- where both civil and criminal proceedings have been issued, careful consideration must be given as to whether they should be allowed to run concurrently or whether the civil proceedings should be stayed pending the outcome of the criminal proceedings.
- there may be significant procedural benefits in staying the civil proceedings for example, awaiting disclosure in criminal proceedings.
- a successful criminal prosecution could carry significant weight in the civil proceedings where they are founded on the same factual basis in both jurisdictions.
How Can We Assist You? | Kangs Private Prosecution Solicitors
The team at Kangs Solicitors has considerable experience in handling private prosecutions on behalf of clients in both the issue and defence of such proceedings.
If you require any guidance or help, please do not hesitate to contact our team through any of the following who will be delighted to assist.