Decision Whether to Prosecute

When the investigating authority has gathered sufficient evidence and they believe a decision can be made as to whether any criminal charges should be brought, a lawyer will then review whether any charges should be authorised and, if so, the nature of the charge(s). 

A private individual or prosecuting authority can bring criminal charges - although, this is normally the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). This independent body was created under the Prosecution of Offenders Act 1985 to provide balance in the criminal justice process. When deciding whether to prosecute a case, prosecutors must only start a case when both of the following stages have been passed:

  1. There is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction on each charge; and
  2. A prosecution is required in the public interest

Where the above is not satisfied, only in limited circumstances may prosecutors apply a threshold test to charge. Different conditions would apply in this scenario. 

If there is sufficient evidence against you and it is in the public interest, in serious cases, you may be charged after an interview under caution has been concluded. This may result in you being held in custody until your first appearance in the Magistrates’ Court. If you are charged and released on bail, there may be set conditions on your release, such as surrendering your passport or observing a curfew. 

When there is not sufficient evidence, the police may release you on bail or under investigation. However, you may be required to come back to the police station at a later date.

Talk to Us

If you have been accused of committing a crime, our expert business and criminal defence solicitors are able to provide advice and representation throughout and at any point of the criminal justice process.

To speak to a solicitor about your case, call us today on 0345 872 6666 or fill in our online enquiry form to request a call back.

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