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Civil Proceedings Against The CPS

updated Oct 2010

Principle

There are two types of civil claims that can be made against The CPS. These are:

  • Claims arising out of its advisory and prosecuting functions under the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985; and
  • Claims arising out of its role as an employer or occupier of premises.

The first type is handled by the Central Confiscation Unit of the Organised Crime Division (OCD) at London HQ and is dealt with in this section.

The second type is handled by Human Resources and is not covered in this guidance.

Guidance

Civil claims can be notified to CPS by:

  • A letter from an individual or solicitors asking for compensation before issuing formal proceedings (a "potential claim"); or
  • A claim form issued by a court (an "actual claim").

Where a writ has been issued it should be sent straight to the OCD.

The TS is responsible for instructing counsel on behalf of The CPS.

If the claim is clearly without merit the OCD may apply to strike out the claim without instructing the Treasury Solicitor. The Treasury Solicitor will be instructed if it is apparent that the proceedings will have to be defended. The Treasury Solicitor is responsible for instructing counsel on behalf of the CPS.

Where a potential claim is recevied, OCD will correspond with the claimant, and consult with, and keep informed the relevant memberes of staff involved. This will include Finance Directorate in relation to decisions on settlement and quantum in all claims.

Costs and damages will normally be paid by the relevant Area or HQ Division responsible for the matter giving rise to the claim, unless responsibility lies elswhere.

Procedure

When a potential claim is received the reply must only:

  • Acknowledge receipt of the communication; and
  • Indicate that it has been passed to the Central Confiscation Unit, Organised Crime Division, Rose Court, 2 Southwark Bridge, London, SE1 9HS

No indication must be given that liability is either accepted or denied.

An actual claim must not be acknowledged as it could been seen as a waiver of the correct procedure which would mean that time could run from such acknowledgement. All relevant correspondence and documentation should be sent to OCD immediately.

In respect of both potential and actual claims, a written report must be provided to OCD:

  • Describing the nature of the proceedings/actions giving rise to the claim; and
  • Dealing specifically with all the allegations in the claim.

It is desirable that the prosecutor responsible for making the decision or reviewing the case writes the report.

The report should provide sufficient information to enable a proper basis for review by OCD and, where appropriate, the provision of instructions to the Treasury Solicitor.

The original prosecution file should be retained by the relevant Area or HQ Division unless or until requested by OCD, or until OCD confirm in writing that it can be archived and retained/destroyed in accordance with existing file storage/destruction policy.

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