The principles we follow
The Code for Crown Prosecutors sets out the basic principles to be followed by Crown Prosecutors when they make case decisions. The decision on whether or not to charge a case against a suspect is based on the Full Code Test as outlined in the Code. The Full Code Test has two stages:
The evidential stage
This is the first stage in the decision to prosecute. Crown Prosecutors must be satisfied that there is enough evidence to provide a "realistic prospect of conviction" against each defendant on each charge. They must consider whether the evidence can be used and is reliable. They must also consider what the defence case may be and how that is likely to affect the prosecution case.
A "realistic prospect of conviction" is an objective test. It means that a jury or a bench of magistrates, properly directed in accordance with the law, will be more likely than not to convict the defendant of the charge alleged. (This is a separate test from the one that criminal courts themselves must apply. A jury or magistrates' court should only convict if it is sure of a defendant's guilt.) If the case does not pass the evidential stage, it must not go ahead, no matter how important or serious it may be.
The public interest stage
If the case does pass the evidential stage, Crown Prosecutors must then decide whether a prosecution is needed in the public interest. They must balance factors for and against prosecution carefully and fairly. Some factors may increase the need to prosecute but others may suggest that another course of action would be better.
A prosecution will usually take place however, unless there are public interest factors tending against prosecution which clearly outweigh those tending in favour. The CPS will only start or continue a prosecution if a case has passed both stages.
We will be independent and fair
We will prosecute independently, without bias and will seek to deliver justice in every case.
We will be honest and open
We will explain our decisions, set clear standards about the service the public can expect from us and be honest if we make a mistake.
We will treat everyone with respect
We will respect each other, our colleagues and the public we serve, recognising that there are people behind every case.
We will behave professionally and strive for excellence
We will work as one team, always seeking new and better ways to deliver the best possible service for the public. We will be efficient and responsible with tax-payers' money.
Equality and inclusion
The CPS commitment to inclusion and equality is at the heart of how we work. It is important to us both as an employer and in the way we approach our responsibilities as a prosecuting authority. The two are closely linked - supporting a diverse workforce allows us to provide a better service to the public.
We also value the insight we get from engaging directly with the communities we serve, who provide welcome scrutiny of our work. This inclusive approach means that:
- Effective community engagement builds greater trust with the public victim and witness satisfaction, and better informed prosecution policy and practice.
- The CPS has an inclusive culture, reflected in a diverse workforce, locally and nationally, and at all levels of the organisation
- By opening up the CPS and acting on input from diverse communities, we aim to inspire greater confidence in the CPS, in particular from witnesses and victims, resulting in improved prosecution outcomes.
The Equality Act 2010 underpins the way we work; data is available in the Publications section of this website.
We have published our CPS 2020 inclusion and community engagement strategy, which sets out our ambition to build on strong foundations, making sure we continue to lead the way on promoting fairness, equality, diversity and inclusion across the criminal justice system.
Around 6,000 people work for the Crown Prosecution Service, across England and Wales in a variety of roles. Almost half our employees are lawyers, who are responsible for deciding whether to prosecute cases, and represent the Crown in many hearings in the courts. The rest work to assist prosecutors preparing cases for court, or in other professions including operational delivery, finance, human resources, communications and digital and technology services.
Director of Public Prosecutions
Max Hill QC is the Director of Public Prosecutions. He was appointed by the Attorney General and took up post on 1 November 2018.
Max was born in Hertfordshire in 1964. He attended state primary schools and, following a family move to Northumberland, the Royal Grammar School in Newcastle upon Tyne. He won a scholarship to study Law at St Peter’s College, Oxford 1983-6. He qualified as a barrister in 1987 and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2008.
While at the bar, Max both defended and prosecuted in complex cases including homicides, violent crime, terrorism, high value fraud and corporate crime. He was instructed in many of the most significant and high-profile murder trials in recent years, including the second set of trials concerning the killing of Damilola Taylor, and the London bombings of 2005.
From March 2017 to October 2018 Max was the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation. As the Independent Reviewer, he compiled reports including an investigative review of the use of terrorism legislation following the Westminster Bridge attacks.
Max was also the Leader of the South Eastern Circuit from 2014 to 2016, Chairman of the Criminal Bar Association from 2011 to 2012, and Chairman of the Kalisher Trust from 2014 to 2018. Until his appointment as DPP Max was Head of Red Lion Chambers.
The CPS Board
The CPS Board provides strategic leadership and is collectively responsible for delivering our organisational objectives. It plays a key role in ensuring that the organisation is equipped to provide a professional, efficient and high quality service.
The CPS Board is chaired by Monica Burch, the lead non-executive Board member.
Monica Burch - Lead Non-executive Board Member and Chair
Monica has had a long and distinguished legal career, retiring as chair and senior partner at Addleshaw Goddard LLP in 2016. As a lawyer, she practised in the fields of commercial litigation and international arbitration, advising on a wide range of claims in a number of jurisdictions. In 2010, Monica was appointed a Recorder of civil cases.
In addition to Chairing the CPS Board, Monica sits on the Nominations, Leadership and Remuneration Committee. She is also a non-executive director at Lloyds underwriter Ark Syndicate Management Limited and at Argenta Private Capital Limited, a Non-Executive Director of law firm Shoosmiths LLP and a member of the Advisory Council of The Mentoring Foundation, a not-for-profit foundation assisting women to reach the top of large organisations.
Max Hill QC, DPP
Max Hill QC is the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Rebecca Lawrence - Chief Executive
Rebecca Lawrence is Chief Executive of the Crown Prosecution Service, taking up post in September 2019. Having grown up in West London, Rebecca studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Oxford University. She then attended Harvard University to take up the Harlech Scholarship in 1993.
Rebecca has 20 years of experience in senior roles across Whitehall. Having started her career in the banking sector, she joined HM Treasury in 1994. During her time there Rebecca held a variety of roles - leading on subjects including health spending and climate change policy, and becoming Head of Energy, Environment and Agriculture in 2007.
In 2010, Rebecca moved to work in counter-terrorism - first as a Director of the Office of Security and Counter-Terrorism in the Home Office, and later as the Director of Terrorism and Allied Matters for the Association of Chief Police Officers.
Rebecca joined the London Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) in 2013, serving first as their Director of Strategy before being appointed Chief Executive in 2016. She was responsible for overseeing the Metropolitan Police Service, commissioning services to prevent crime, support victims and reduce offending and for leading partnerships to respond to changes in London’s crime, for example setting up London’s first Violence Reduction Unit in 2018 - bringing together specialists from health, police, local government, probation and community organisations to tackle violence crime and its causes.
Mark Hammond - Non-executive Board Member
Mark has had an extensive career in the public sector, having served as the Chief Executive Officer of the Equality and Human Rights Commission and CEO of West Sussex County Council. He has also held a range of posts in the Civil Service, including Private Secretary to the Permanent Secretary at the Department of the Environment.
Mark is a member of the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee. Outside of the CPS, he is currently Visiting Professor in Public Policy at Canterbury Christ Church University and a senior fellow at the University's Centre for European Studies. He is also a non-executive director on the General Pharmaceutical Council and a member of the Public Sector Advisory Board for Penna plc.
Simon Jeffreys - Non-executive Board Member
Simon was the former Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer at The Wellcome Trust, and Chief Administrative Officer at Fidelity International. For most of his professional life he was a senior audit partner at PwC, leading the firm’s Investment Management and Real Estate practice globally.
Simon is the Chair of the CPS Audit and Risk Assurance Committee. Outside of the CPS he chairs the boards of Aon UK and Henderson International Income Trust.
The role of the non-executive Board Members is to provide external perspective, challenge and advice on matters referred to the Board.
Audit and Risk Assurance Committee
The Audit and Risk Assurance Committee is responsible for ensuring that the CPS Board and Accounting Officers gain the assurance they need on risk management, the control environment, the integrity of the financial statements and other elements of the Annual Report and Accounts. The Committee is chaired by a Non-Executive Board Member (NEBM). He is joined by a further NEBM and one independent member. The Committee meets four times a year.
Current members of the Committee:
- Simon Jeffreys (Chair)
- Mark Hammond (Non-Executive Board Member)
- Michael Dunn
- Deborah Harris
Independent Member of the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee
Michael is currently a Non-Executive Director, Audit Chair and Senior Independent Director of London & Continental Railways Limited (LCR Properties) which works between the public and private sectors to develop housing projects with transport elements. He is also Non-Executive Director and Senior Independent Director of Storm Housing Group. He has previously served as Non-executive and Chair of Audit and Risk on the board of the Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing Association and as Non-Executive Chair of Metworks.
A Chartered Accountant with senior finance and risk experience in property, construction, treasury, regulated businesses and investor relations, he was formerly Chief Financial Officer of the regeneration specialist St Modwen Properties plc and of the support service provider May Gurney Integrated Services plc.
Michael joined the Crown Prosecution Service Audit and Risk Committee in November 2021.
Deborah Harris FCA
Deborah is a member of the Audit & Risk Assurance Committee and an experienced non-executive.
Outside of the CPS, Deborah is a Director and Chair of the Risk & Audit committee for Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance and a Trustee and Chair of the Risk, Audit & Compliance Committee for The Children’s Society, a national charity.
Deborah is also the founding Chair of the women empowerment network Lean In UK and is currently Deputy President of the London Society of Chartered Accountants, and a Council member of the ICAEW.
Nominations, Leadership and Remuneration Committee
Nominations, Leadership and Remuneration Committee (NLRC) is responsible for advising the CPS Board on key elements of effectiveness linked to organisational culture and leadership strategies, including ensuring that there are robust systems in place to identify and develop senior leaders from diverse talent pools, draw up appropriate workforce and succession plans and scrutinise incentive structures. The membership of NLRC includes the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Chief Executive and two Non-Executive Board Members, with the Chief People Officer being a required attendee. The Committee meets four times a year.
Current members of the Committee
- Max Hill QC (DPP)
- Rebecca Lawrence (Chief Executive)
- Monica Burch (Lead Non-Executive Board Member)
Ministerial Strategic Board
The Ministerial Strategic Board (MSB) is a joint CPS/Attorney General’s Office Board. It was formed in March 2019 as part of the CPS/AGO Framework. The Framework was updated in December 2020. The MSB’s overarching aim is to oversee the strategic direction for the CPS and jointly hold the CPS to account for the delivery of its strategic objectives. The MSB is chaired by the Attorney General. Membership comprises the Solicitor General, Director of Public Prosecutions, the CPS Chief Executive, the CPS Lead Non-Executive Board Member and the Director-General of the AGO. They meet four times a year. The minutes from this meeting can be found on the Attorney General’s Office website.
CPS senior leadership organogram
Specialist Casework Divisions and CPS Proceeds of Crime
Our Central Casework Divisions deal with some of the most complex cases we prosecute. They work closely with specialist investigators from a range of organisations, including the National Crime Agency, HM Revenue & Customs and the Independent Police Complaints Commission, as well as police forces across England and Wales.
The specialist divisions, each headed by a Head of Division (equivalent to a Chief Crown Prosecutor), are:
Your local CPS
The CPS operates across England and Wales, with 14 regional teams prosecuting cases locally.
Each of these 14 CPS Areas is headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor, and works closely with local police forces and other criminal justice partners.
Find out who’s who in your area, and read more about local cases.
Find out about your area