In recent years, more and more individuals and companies are pursuing this course of action. This is due in part to resource constraints experienced by the police and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
If you are considering a private prosecution then our Private Prosecution Team at DWF can help. If you have exhausted all other resources available we can help you bring a matter to court.
Firstly, we will consider and review any and all available evidence you hold and assess the relative strengths/weaknesses of your case. On the basis the evidence passes the CPS code of conduct as set out below we will then prepare your case and lay the information at the Magistrates Court.
There are 2 limbs which form the CPS Code:
The Court will then consider:
On the basis the case satisfies the above criteria, the Magistrates' Court will then issue a summons based on the information provided. This will then be served on the Defendant.
Private prosecutions can be brought in relation to any alleged criminal offences, but the most common types are related to:
Costs – you are eligible to claim back costs incurred from Central Funds even if you lose or the case is withdrawn
Defendant costs - unlike other proceedings the general principle is that you will not have to pay the Defendant's costs if you lose your case.
Speed - unlike civil proceedings, matters can be brought to court very quickly
Control - you are in control (not a Government agency)
Expert legal resources - you have access to a better resourced, more focused and efficient team rather than any other public prosecution
Wider powers of punishment - criminal convictions carry a stigma whilst criminal courts have wider powers to punish from fines and confiscation to imprisonment.
The recent and much published attempt by Marcus Ball to bring a private prosecution against the latest incumbent to now occupy 10 Downing Street, Boris Johnson, has resulted in a media frenzy into this still evolving area of criminal law the like of which has not been seen before. Mr Ball had sought to prosecute Mr Johnson over allegations he committed misconduct in a public office by “misleading the public” about Brexit. However the High Court quashed the summons which had been issued after the hearing the case was the "culmination of a politically driven process".
The last 18 months have shown a sharp rise in Private Prosecutions with cases now increasingly attracting media coverage. In this article regulatory expert Jeremy Bird highlights the recent developments and analyses the current landscape.