About CPS

The Crown Prosecution Service

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) prosecutes criminal cases that have been investigated by the police and other investigative organisations in England and Wales. The CPS is independent, and we make our decisions independently of the police and government.

Our duty is to make sure that the right person is prosecuted for the right offence, and to bring offenders to justice wherever possible.

The CPS:

  • decides which cases should be prosecuted; 
  • determines the appropriate charges in more serious or complex cases, and advises the police during the early stages of investigations; 
  • prepares cases and presents them at court; and 
  • provides information, assistance and support to victims and prosecution witnesses. 

Prosecutors must be fair, objective and independent. When deciding whether to prosecute a criminal case, our lawyers must follow the Code for Crown Prosecutors. This means that to charge someone with a criminal offence, prosecutors must be satisfied that there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction, and that prosecuting is in the public interest.

The CPS works closely with the police, courts, the Judiciary and other partners to deliver justice.  

How we work

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.

Our values


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.

Our Organisation

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, Director of Public ProsecutionsMax 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 DPP chairs the CPS Board, which supports him in governing the organisation. The Board includes four executive members and four non-executive directors:

Rebecca Lawrence - Chief Executive Toggle accordion

Rebecca Lawrence, Chief ExecutiveRebecca 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.

Monica Burch - Lead Non-executive Board Member Toggle accordion

Monica Burch profile photoMonica 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 and Governance Committee. She is also a non-executive director at Lloyds underwriter Talbot Underwriting Limited, Chairing their Risk Committee, a Non Executive Director of law firm Shoosmiths LLP and a non-executive director and Chair of The Mentoring Foundation, a not-for-profit foundation assisting women to reach the top of large organisations.

Mark Hammond - Non-executive Board Member Toggle accordion

Mark Hammond profile photoMark 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 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.

Caroline Wayman - Non-executive Board Member Toggle accordion

Caroline WaymanCaroline Wayman is the Chief Executive and Chief Ombudsman of the Financial Ombudsman Service. She is an experienced member of their strategic leadership team, having first been appointed to the executive in 2011 as principal ombudsman and legal director. Caroline was called to the Bar and spent her early career working in the insurance industry.

Her work away from the Ombudsman Service includes her role on the Board of the Claims Management Regulator, which she joined in 2014. In addition to the CPS Board, Caroline is the Chair of the Nominations and Governance Committee.

Simon Jeffreys - Non-executive Board Member Toggle accordion

Simon JeffreysSimon 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 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 Committee Toggle accordion

The Audit and Risk 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 two independent members. The Committee meets four times a year.

Current members of the Committee:

  • Simon Jeffreys (Chair)
  • Mark Hammond (Non-Executive Board Member)
  • Marta Phillips (Independent Member)
  • Jennifer Rowe (Independent Member)

Independent Members of the Audit and Risk Committee

Marta Phillips OBE CA

Marta PhillipsMarta Phillips holds a number of non-executive roles after a career in the public and private sector. Her non-executive roles include board member of the Single Source Regulations Office and Ravensbourne Collage, Council Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland, audit committee member for the Crown Prosecution Service, the Association of Accounting Technicians and the University of Law, and finance committee member for Heriot Watt University.

She was created an Officer of the British Empire in the 2006 New Year’s Honours List for services to social housing. Her previous non-executive roles include the chairmanship of Viridian HA, previous named Servite Houses and Executive Chairman of Ujima Housing Association where she successfully led its corporate rescue. She was also a Trustee of the east London charity Newham Riding School and Association for over 22 years.

She was chief executive of the Pensions Advisory Service, Director of Compliance of the National Lottery Commission and Head of Finance for the European Social Fund Unit in the Department for Education and Employment.  She also worked for HSBC Bank and the London Stock Exchange, and trained as a chartered accountant with Ernst & Young.

Jenny Rowe CB

Jenny RoweJenny Rowe retired from full-time work in October 2015, having spent over 37 years in the Civil Service. During that time Jenny had a variety of jobs, mostly in the Justice sector, culminating in her appointment as the first Chief Executive of The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom and the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

Immediately before her Supreme Court appointment Jenny was Director of Policy and Administration at the Attorney General's Office from February 2004 to April 2008. Her responsibilities there included criminal justice policy and the Fraud Review.

Jenny's previous posts include: Secretary to the Butterfield Review of HM Customs and Excise investigations and prosecutions; Director of Corporate Services in the Lord Chancellor's Department 1999-2003; Principal Private Secretary to two Lord Chancellors (Irvine and Mackay); and Principal Establishment and Finance Officer at the Serious Fraud Office.

Jenny was a Trustee of the Royal British Legion from 2005-2013 and is currently a Trustee of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity and a member of their Finance and Risk Committee. She is also Honorary Treasurer of the Civil Service Retirement Fellowship and is a member of the Council of Reference for the Westminster Abbey Institute. In December 2015 she was appointed to the Independent Monitoring Board for Exeter prison.

Jenny was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in 2013.

Nominations and Governance Committee Toggle accordion

The Nominations and Governance Committee (NGC) is responsible for advising the CPS Board on key elements of effectiveness, including ensuring that there are satisfactory systems in place for identifying and developing leadership and high potential, scrutinising the incentive structure and succession planning for the Board and the senior leadership of the organisation. The membership of NGC includes the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Chief Executive, two Non-Executive Board Members and the Director of HR. The Committee meets three times a year.

Current members of the Committee

  • Monica Burch (Chair)
  • Caroline Wayman (Non-Executive Board Member)
  • Max Hill QC
  • Paul Staff
  • Mark Summerfield

Ministerial Strategic Board Toggle accordion

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 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 three times a year. The minutes from this meeting can be found on the Attorney General’s Office website.

CPS senior leadership organogram Toggle accordion


Specialist Casework Divisions and CPS Proceeds of Crime

Our three 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 three specialist divisions, each headed by a Head of Division (equivalent to a Chief Crown Prosecutor), are:

In addition, CPS Proceeds of Crime is a dedicated division responsible for all restraint, enforcement and serious confiscation work.

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