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Initial Advice £900 Fixed Fee
JMW offers a fixed fee service for £900 (inclusive of VAT), which includes a two-hour consultation where we will discuss the merits of your case with you and look through any available evidence. Following the consultation, we will send you a letter confirming our advice, setting out our recommended next steps and a budget where appropriate.
The cost of this service will be deducted from the total cost of your legal fees should you choose to instruct JMW. Please note that the availability of the fixed fee service is subject to confirmation.
Our team also has a list of preferred specialist barristers who will provide additional expertise and assistance for a fixed fee of £600 (inclusive of VAT). Please note that opting for this service is not necessary to obtain our initial advice.
For a company, bringing a prosecution can be a faster and cheaper alternative to using the civil courts when redressing fraud, theft or counterfeiting matters. A company can also run a prosecution alongside a civil claim to increase the range and effectiveness of the overall action.
For individuals, bringing your own prosecution can be the only way to get justice when the police are too slow, are under-resourced or simply lack the expertise or willpower to investigate your case. Too often members of the public are told that something is a 'civil matter' when it is not.
How JMW Can Help
JMW has had a business crime department for nearly 40 years. The department employs several former police officers, as well as some very senior former crown prosecutors. This is backed up by one of the largest business crime and regulatory teams in the country. All of this comes together to ensure that the private prosecutor's chances of success are maximised on the most cost-effective basis.
Reasons for Starting a Private Prosecution
When an employee has committed theft or fraud
Companies can take action against an employee or former employee who has committed theft or fraud. Often a company will want to take advice on the criminal consequences of an employee's actions at the same time as carrying out its disciplinary procedures. As well as recovering the proceeds of the crime, bringing a prosection can have a deterrent effect and be an opportunity for assessing its internal procedures. Companies will also want to pursue third parties who infringe their trademarks in order to maintain the integrity of their brand.
When the police have failed to investigate
Public confidence in the police's ability to investigate crime is at an all-time low. Cuts to police funding and falling numbers of officers have resulted in high numbers of victims waiting months or even years for a decision, or failing to have their cases pursued at all. We have advised many clients who have been told by the police that their complaint is a civil matter, when in fact it is a criminal one. Bringing your own prosecution with a private solicitor will almost certainly be faster than the police and Crown Prosecution Service and give you more control than you would otherwise have.
When there has been perjury or an attempt to pervert the course of justice
Private prosecutors are in a better position to assess the merits of difficult cases like allegations of perjury or attempts to pervert the course of justice. If you have been convicted of a crime but suspect that witnesses in the case have broken the law, investigating the merits of a private prosecution can go hand in hand with considering an appeal against conviction.
Pursuing a group prosection
Prosecutions are stronger where there is evidence of more than one victim. A private prosecution can be the appropriate course where individual members of the public have been defrauded by one company, for example, if they have been victims of an investment scam.
How do I fund a private prosecution?
The costs of bringing a private prosecution may be paid back by the court, whether you win or lose, so providing you can fund the case through to completion you may recover a significant amount of your costs. Crowdfunding is also an option if you have a cause that members of the public believe in, or if friends and family members want a platform to pool their contributions.
Do I need to go to the police first?
There is no requirement to go to the police or any other authority before bringing your own prosecution, although it can often be a good idea. Some cases require the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions or the Attorney General before they can be prosecuted. We will advise you of the best course, and whether permission is required to prosecute a specific offence.
What are the typical costs of a private prosecution?
For simple cases, a typical prosecution will cost around £5,000 plus VAT. Costs will increase based on the amount of evidence and the number of investigatory enquiries that need to be made. We will provide you with a clear costs budget following initial advice and this will be updated regularly as the case progresses. Remember that a significant proportion of the costs may be paid back at the end of the case.
Do I have to use a lawyer to bring a private prosecution?
No, the right to bring a prosecution is not dependent on having a lawyer. Bringing a prosecution can be difficult and very technical, so having a legally qualified team around you will reduce the chance of something going wrong.
What if I can’t afford the whole prosecution?
If you cannot afford to fund the case to its conclusion, we can still assist you by putting together a package of evidence to take to the police. This will increase the chances that your case will be accepted and successfully prosecuted by the authorities.
Talk to Us
If you wish to explore the merits of a private prosecution, the business crime and regulation team are on hand to provide assistance. Contact 0800 652 5559 or fill in our online enquiry form and we will get back to you.
Partner and Head of Department
Business Crime, Regulation & Driving Offences