Advanced Search

The Role of The Crown Prosecution Service

The Crown Prosecution Service is the government department responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales.

As the principal prosecuting authority in England and Wales, we are responsible for:

  • advising the police on cases for possible prosecution
  • reviewing cases submitted by the police
  • determining any charges in more serious or complex cases
  • preparing cases for court
  • presenting cases at court

Find out more about the role of the Crown Prosecution Service

First CPS in-house lawyer appointed queen's counsel


For the first time in its 23-year history, a Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in-house lawyer has been appointed to the rank of Queen's Counsel (QC) - senior barristers or solicitors recognised as experts in their field and judged capable of prosecuting the most complex and high profile cases.

Graham Reeds, 47, a Principal Crown Advocate working within the CPS Organised Crime Division, was also one of two employed barristers to be awarded QC - the first appointed by the panel.

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC said: "This is a fantastic achievement for Graham personally and for the CPS as an organisation. This appointment is a landmark for CPS in-house advocacy and a real validation of the skills of our advocates. The range of work available to prosecutors in the CPS provides an excellent basis for advocates of skill and ability to develop their careers and to achieve this highest of accolades".

Graham Reeds was called to the Bar in 1984 and joined the CPS as one of the first three Principal Crown Advocates (equivalent to Senior Counsel) in May 2006. Based in York, he prosecutes some of the most serious and complex cases that the CPS deals with including drug and people trafficking and money laundering. He was sponsored in his application by the CPS.

On his appointment Graham said: "I am of course honoured to be appointed to the rank of QC and I have no doubt that the range and complexity of cases that I have dealt with since I have been with the CPS contributed to my success. The support I received from the CPS in pursuing my application was very welcome. It was always clear that they were behind me in my ambition to become a QC"

Since 1998 the CPS has successfully trained and deployed an increasing number of Crown Advocates in the Crown Court and Associate Prosecutors in the Magistrates' courts.


  1. Media enquiries and interview requests to CPS Press Office 020 7710 6088, Out of hours pager: 07699 781926. A photograph will be available on request.
  2. The full list of Queen's Counsel was announced today by the Ministry of Justice. Her Majesty the Queen has approved the appointment of 104 new Queen's Counsel.
  3. The Lord Chancellor will preside over the appointment ceremony, where the rank will formally be bestowed upon successful applicants at Westminster Hall on 30 March 2009.
  4. Graham Reeds spent 22 years in private practise on the North Eastern Circuit in chambers at 11 King's Bench Walk and their annex at Park Square, Leeds. He is married to a judge, has two children and lives in Yorkshire. His hobbies include high altitude mountaineering.
  5. The Crown Prosecution Service is the independent authority responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales. It is responsible for:
    • Advising the police and reviewing the evidence on cases for possible prosecution
    • Deciding the charge where the decision is to prosecute
    • Preparing cases for court
    • Presenting cases at court
  6. The CPS consists of 42 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). A telephone service, CPS Direct, provides out-of-hours advice and decisions to police officers across England and Wales. The CPS employs around 8,400 people and prosecuted 1,091,250 cases with an overall conviction rate of 85.1% in 2007-2008.

    More about the CPS

  7. The CPS, together with ACPO and media representatives, has developed a Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media. This sets out the type of prosecution material that will normally be released, or considered for release, together with the factors we will take into account when considering requests.

    Publicity and the Criminal Justice System protocol