Skip to main content

Accessibility controls

Main content area

Consultation on Revisions to the CPS-SPA Protocol regarding the exercise of criminal jurisdiction in England and Wales

This consultation is now closed
Opening date:
Closing date:

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and Service Prosecuting Authority (SPA) are conducting a public consultation on proposed revisions to the CPS-SPA Protocol regarding the exercise of criminal jurisdiction in England and Wales (the Protocol). The purpose of the consultation is to provide interested persons with an opportunity to provide comments and to ensure the final version of the Protocol is informed by as wide a range of views as possible. You can read the revised Protocol on the CPS website (see also the link in the sidebar of this page).

The Protocol provides guidance for CPS and SPA prosecutors on the exercise of jurisdiction in respect of conduct of a person subject to Service law, which occurs when that person is in England or Wales. In these circumstances, both the CPS and the SPA have jurisdiction to bring criminal proceedings, and it is necessary to determine the appropriate jurisdiction, the civilian courts or courts martial. The protocol identifies principles and factors which are to be considered when a decision is made as to the appropriate jurisdiction in which to bring proceedings.

Consultation content


The Protocol was last updated in November 2016 and it was recently placed on a statutory footing by section 7 of the Armed Forces Act 2021, which inserts section 320A into Chapter 3A of the Armed Forces Act 2006 (AFA 2006). Under the new statutory provisions, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Director of Service Prosecutions (DSP) are obliged to consult on revisions to the Protocol with the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the National Police Chiefs’ Council, and any other person the Directors think appropriate.

As well as consulting with those statutory consultees, we wish to seek the views of other interested stakeholders, specifically on the guidance in the Protocol on the general principles to be applied by prosecutors when making decisions on jurisdiction.

These are set out in section 3 of the revised Protocol. The main principles governing jurisdiction, at paragraph 3.3, remain broadly the same as in the current Protocol, whereby proceedings should be brought in the service jurisdiction if the alleged conduct does not affect the person or property of a civilian.

At paragraph 3.4 we have included an extensive non-exhaustive list of factors that prosecutors should consider when deciding on the appropriate jurisdiction. Many of these are not included in the current Protocol.

Consultation Questions

The consultation seeks your views on the following questions on section 3 of the Protocol:

Q1: Do you agree with the principles at paragraph 3.3, to be applied when deciding in which jurisdiction proceedings should be brought?

Q2: Are there any other principles which you think should apply? 

Q3: Do you agree with the non-exhaustive list of factors at paragraph 3.4, to be considered by prosecutors when deciding the appropriate jurisdiction?

Q4: Are there any other factors which you think should be considered? 

The consultation will run for eight (8) weeks, until 20 April 2023.

How to Respond

It would be helpful if you could give your feedback using our online form (see below) for ease of analysis. Please return your completed feedback to by midnight on 20 April 2023, and include your name, organisation (if applicable), and email address in any response.

Next Steps

After the consultation closing date, we will consider every individual response received. A summary of the consultation responses and the final version of the revised Protocol will be published on the CPS and SPA websites, in accordance with the Government's guidelines.

We look forward to receiving your feedback. 

Responses: Confidentiality and disclaimer

The information you send us may be passed to colleagues within the CPS, the Government or related agencies. Furthermore, information provided in response to this consultation, including personal information, may be published or disclosed in accordance with the access to information legislation including the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).

If you want the information that you provide to be treated as confidential, please be aware that, under FOIA, there is a statutory Code of Practice with which public authorities must comply and which deals, amongst other things, with obligations of confidence. In view of this it would be helpful if you could briefly explain to us why you regard the information you have provided as confidential.

If we receive a request for disclosure of the information we will take full account of your explanation, but we cannot give an assurance that confidentiality can be maintained in all circumstances. An automatic confidentiality disclaimer generated by your IT system will not be regarded as binding on the CPS.

Please ensure your response is marked clearly if you wish your response and name to be kept confidential. Confidential responses will be included in any statistical summary of numbers of comments received and views expressed. The CPS will process your personal data in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018 - in the majority of circumstances this will mean that your personal data will not be disclosed to third parties.

CPS Consultations

We want to hear your views about our prosecution policy. You can help us to be better informed, fairer and more representative by participating in our consultations. We welcome your feedback.

Alternative formats

If you require a copy of the consultation papers in any other format, for example, large print or Braille, please contact the e-mail or postal addresses above.

How to respond to consultations

  • Visit the consultation page
  • Read the consultation documents
  • Respond to the consultation using the online form, by email or by post
  • Make sure you submit your response by the closing date

Government Consultation Principles

The Consultation Principles 2016 are available from the Cabinet Office website (opens in new window).

View all consultations

Scroll to top