Private Prosecution Solicitors – We Fight For Your Rights
Q: What is a ‘private prosecution’?
A: Private prosecutions date back to the earliest days of the legal system. They are prosecutions started by a private individual, or entity who/which is not acting on behalf of the police or other prosecuting authority. A ‘prosecuting authority’ includes, but is not limited to, an entity which has a statutory power to prosecute.
Q: What legislation covers the right to bring private prosecutions?
A: The right to bring private prosecutions is preserved by section 6(1) of the Prosecution of Offences Act (POA) 1985.
Q: Why would a person need to take out a private prosecution?
A: Private prosecutions are on the increase as police budget cuts and pressures on the justice system force people to fund their own criminal actions. They are often instigated following a failure of the police to investigate, or by the Crown Prosecution Service being unwilling to press ahead to trial. Our private prosecution solicitors are in high demand to help people get the justice they deserve.
Q: What type of matters are suitable for a private prosecution?
A: Private prosecutions can be taken out for a wide array of offences including sex attacks, violent assaults and frauds. Our private prosecution solicitors can advise you further.
Q: Have there been any high-profile private prosecutions?
A: Yes, lots of them have made the news. One that is particularly note-worthy is the private prosecution taken out by the family of Stephen Lawrence in 1996, against five suspects after three years of bungled police investigations. The case resulted in only three making it to trial and they were acquitted on the orders of the judge. The family took out a private prosecution as they wanted to see the men who had murdered Stephen in an unprovoked racist attack brought to justice.
Q: Can the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) take over a private prosecution?
A: Yes, the Director of Public Prosecutions – the head of the CPS – can take over cases and stop them if they are considered “vexatious” or “malicious”.
Q: Can a private prosecution be stopped?
A: Yes, if it interferes with other criminal cases, or is considered not in the public interest, according to prosecutors’ guidance.
If you are thinking of taking out a private prosecution, please call our expert team now for free initial advice on 01623 397200.