Who We Are

Welcome to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for the North West.

The CPS is responsible for prosecuting criminal cases brought by the Police in England and Wales.

To do this effectively, we work closely with all our Criminal Justice Partners including the Police, the Courts, Probation Service, Youth Offending Teams and victim and witness support agencies amongst others.

This website explains what we do, how we do it and - above all - how we are striving to improve justice and put the needs of victims and witnesses at the forefront of everything we do.

CPS North West covers Cumbria, Lancashire and Greater Manchester - serving a population of over 4.5 million people and is one of 13 CPS areas in England and Wales.

The Area is led by a Chief Crown Prosecutor who takes ultimate responsibility for the criminal cases prosecuted by the CPS.

They each follow the Code for Crown Prosecutors, a public document issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions, setting out the general principles they should follow when they make decisions on cases. The Code has two stages:

  • The evidential stage: Lawyers must be satisfied that there is enough evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction against each defendant on each charge. If a case does not pass the evidential stage it will not go ahead, no matter how important or serious it may be;
  • The public interest stage: If the case passes the evidential stage lawyers then decide whether a prosecution is needed in the public interest. A case has to pass both stages before the CPS can start or continue a prosecution.

Involving the CPS in criminal investigations at the earliest opportunity helps to ensure that all the necessary evidence is obtained before a defendant is charged and also that the correct offence is determined.

The lawyer is also in a position to identify those weak cases without a realistic prospect of conviction and make sure they are not pursued, therefore saving public money and valuable court and prosecutor time.