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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

CPS lawyer crosses the floor to become full-time judge


A Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) lawyer has been appointed as a full time judge, it is announced today.

Ian Keates who is currently Head of Complex Casework Unit for South Yorkshire and Humberside will sit on tribunals concerned with detentions under the Mental Health Act and will become a Salaried Tribunal Judge of the First Tier Tribunal.

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, said today:

"Ian Keates' appointment is welcome news both for him personally and also for the CPS. We have a diverse pool of talent and the appointment of prosecutors to the judiciary can only strengthen its armoury."

Ian Keates said today:

"I feel greatly honoured to have been appointed and look forward to performing my public duties as a member of the judiciary. I believe that my appointment shows that, for those who wish to pursue a judicial career, the CPS is an organisation that can help to create real opportunities." Baroness Usha Prashar, Chairman of the Judicial Appointments Commission, said:

"We're working hard to attract strong candidates from every background and we're really pleased this appointment shows we're making progress. Where there are barriers to members of the Government Legal Service and the CPS, we want them reduced if possible."

A prosecutor at South Yorkshire CPS with 26 years' experience, Mr Keates was selected from a pool of hundreds made up of from lawyers from the public and private sectors.

Since 2003 CPS prosecutors have been eligible to sit on tribunals in which one of the parties is the state, except in CPS cases. A number of CPS lawyers are part time judges.


  1. For further information please contact the CPS Press Office, 020 7796 8127. Out of hours pager: 07699 781926
  2. Ian Keates is a solicitor.
  3. In the past, Serious Fraud Office and Government Legal Services lawyers were eligible to apply for appointments only in jurisdictions where the State was not habitually a party. In June 2003 the Attorney General and Lord Chancellor announced a revised policy meaning that:
    • CPS and SFO lawyers are eligible to sit in tribunals where the Government is a party
    • CPS, SFO and GLS lawyers are eligible to sit as Recorders in civil work, except in civil matters that involve their own Department
    • CPS and SFO lawyers are eligible to sit on criminal matters as Deputy District Judges in cases not involving their own department.
  4. 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:
    1. Advising the police and reviewing the evidence on cases for possible prosecution
    2. Deciding the charge where the decision is to prosecute
    3. Preparing cases for court
    4. Presenting cases at court
  5. 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. Further information can be found on our website:
  6. 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.
  7. The Judicial Appointments Commission came into being in April 2006.