Consultation on the Code for Crown Prosecutors 2018
Alison Saunders CB, the Director of Public Prosecutions, has today launched a consultation on a proposed new edition of the Code for Crown Prosecutors (the Code). The Code is used on a daily basis by prosecutors and the police when deciding whether or a not a suspect should be charged with a criminal offence.
The Code is periodically revised so that it reflects legal and social developments, as well as changes in prosecution policy and practice. The current edition of the Code was published in January 2013. The proposed revisions retain the style of the 2013 Code, which introduced a shorter, streamlined version, with an overarching statement of principles. Beneath the Code sits a body of legal guidance and policies, which provide further detailed assistance to prosecutors on specific offences and topics.
The main proposed revisions to the Code are:
- Disclosure: This is included for the first time as part of Evidential Stage: when assessing whether there is sufficient evidence to charge, prosecutors must consider the potential impact of any other material.
- Proceeds of Crime: Prosecutors are instructed to consider proceeds of crime at various stages of a case: when considering the public interest in charging a suspect; when selecting charges; when making submissions on court venue; and when considering a defendant’s offer of a plea.
- The Threshold Test: This has been clarified and simplified, to ensure it is only applied when necessary. Review of the Threshold Test is to be carried out earlier, by the time the prosecution case is served. We have also extended the use of the Threshold Test to cases where it is not appropriate to apply the Evidential Stage of the Full Code Test, due to outstanding reasonable lines of enquiry.
Other proposed revisions to the Code include:
- The Full Code Test (FCT) is to be applied in most cases after reasonable lines of enquiry have been pursued, unless the prosecutor is satisfied that any further evidence is unlikely to materially affect the application of the FCT. This strikes a balance between ensuring we do not charge cases prematurely and preventing unnecessary delays in charging.
- The FCT decision may be postponed, or not made at all, if there is a failure by the police or other investigators to follow advice to pursue a line of enquiry or comply with a request for information.
- Additions to the Public Interest section include:
- A lower culpability level if the suspect has been compelled, coerced or exploited, particularly if the suspect is a victim of a linked crime.
- The hate crime factors are expanded to include a suspect targeting or exploiting a victim, based on any of the stated characteristics.
- Maturity: prosecutors are reminded that young adults will continue to mature into their mid-twenties.
- There is a new paragraph on the independence of the prosecutor. Independence was key to the formation of the CPS and is still central to the way in which we work.
- Guidance on the consideration to be given to any relevant prosecution or enforcement policy of other prosecutors or Government departments.
- The approach to be taken where the law differs in England and Wales.
- Some of the language has been updated, such as “court venue” instead of “mode of trial”, and “children and young people” instead of “youths”.
Questions for Consultation
In advance of its finalisation and implementation, we would welcome your views on four specific questions regarding the revised Code:
- Question 1: Do you agree that when deciding whether there is sufficient evidence to prosecute, prosecutors should consider whether there is any other material that may affect the sufficiency of evidence?
- Question 2: Do you have any views on the revised Threshold Test?
- Question 3: Prosecutors are required to consider a suspect’s / defendant’s proceeds of crime when deciding whether to charge [4.14.b], when selecting charges [6.1.c], when making submissions on court venue [8.3] and when a defendant offers a plea [9.2]. Do you have any observations on these requirements?
- Question 4: Do you have any further comments on the proposed revisions to the Code? Any comments that you have outside these questions are also welcome.
How to Respond
It would be helpful if you could give your feedback using our online form (see below) for ease of analysis.
You can also download a response form, complete it, and return it to CodeConsultation@cps.gov.uk by midnight on 17 September 2018. Please use the same form if you wish to submit a hard copy of your response to the postal address below.
If you are replying by email, we would be grateful if you would not attach any other documents to the consultation response form document. There are limits on the size of documents that we are able to accept and any completed response form document which has an attachment runs the risk of not being delivered. If you wish to send an attachment to us, or raise any queries that you have on the consultation, these can be submitted separately to the same e-mail address shown above.
We would prefer electronic submissions if possible but, if you would rather submit your feedback in hard copy it can be returned, by the same date, to:
The Code Consultation
Crown Prosecution Service
102 Petty France
London SW1H 9EA
Please include your name, organisation (if applicable), postal address, telephone number and email address in any response.
Dogfennau yn Gymraeg/Documents in Welsh
Ymgynghoriad ar Cod i Erlynwyr y Goron 2018 - testun arfaethedig gyda chwestiynau (dogfen PDF, oddeutu 26kb)
Templed ar gyfer ymgynghori ar y Cod ar Gyfer Erlynwyr y Goron 2018 (dogfen Word) - lawrlwythwch, llenwi a anfon ato: CodeConsultation@cps.gov.uk cyn hanner nos ar 10 Medi 2018.
If you require a copy of the consultation papers in any other format, for example, audio or large print, please contact the e-mail or postal addresses above.
After the consultation closing date, we will consider every individual response received. A summary of the consultation responses will be published on the CPS website in accordance with the Government's guidelines.
We look forward to receiving your response.