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The Code for Private Prosecutors: Benchmark set for best practice in private prosecutions23rd July 2019 Business Crime
The Code for Private Prosecutors: Benchmark set for best practice in private prosecutions
On 18 July 2019 the Private Prosecutors’ Association (‘the PPA’) published the Code for Private Prosecutors (‘the Code’). The document is the first of its kind and is essential reading for anyone involved in a private prosecution. The Code aims to raise awareness of best practice amongst lawyers, defendants, and witnesses as well as judges. JMW Solicitors is a member of the PPA and like all members agrees to be bound by the Code.
Whilst the majority of prosecutions for criminal offences are still brought by the State, the number of prosecutions brought by private individuals, including companies, is thought to be growing quickly as a result of increased public awareness and the need for traditional investigatory and prosecutorial agencies (such as the police and the Crown Prosecution Service) to prioritise caseloads. At JMW Solicitors we provide expert legal advice on prosecutions and work alongside skilled civilian investigators and specialist barristers.
The Code sets out detailed standards for every stage of a private prosecution, from the engagement of clients, to the investigation of offences, through to charging and the conduct of proceedings. The document also addresses key differences in the relationship between the legal team and the client in these kinds of proceedings as opposed to others. There is also discussion of other areas unique to private prosecutions, including costs, the role of the Director of Public Prosecutions, and the interaction with civil proceedings. Whilst the Code is not a guide on how to bring a private prosecution, it is easy to find guidance on avoiding the pitfalls that many inexperienced private prosecutors encounter.
JMW Solicitors’ Business Crime and Regulation team can provide early, effective advice on the merits of bringing a prosecution in a particular case and can assist you with all aspects from investigation, through to trial, and costs recovery.
The author of this article, Lee Adams, Partner and Head of London Office can be contacted via Lee.Adams@jmw.co.uk.