Reconsidering a Prosecution Decision
- Guidance principles
- Factors to consider
- Abuse of Process
- Annex A: Written Answers – House of Commons, 31 March 1993
- Annex B: Written Ministerial Statement - House of Commons, 22 February 2010 Revised Code for Crown Prosecutors
- Annex C: Written Ministerial Statement - House of Commons, 31 October 2012
- Annex D: Written Ministerial Statement - House of Commons, 5 June 2013
This guidance gives effect to the Attorney General's undertaking to Parliament of 31 March 1993 (at Annex A) concerning the exercise of the CPS discretion to institute, reinstitute or continue proceedings after a suspect has been informed by the police or CPS of a decision not to prosecute. This undertaking was updated by the Written Ministerial Statement (WMS) made by the Attorney General on 22 February 2010 (at Annex B) upon the laying before Parliament of the sixth edition of the Code for Crown Prosecutors. On 31 October 2012, the Attorney General made another WMS (at Annex C) which outlines four instances in which the decision to reinstate proceedings need not be taken by a Chief Crown Prosecutor. A further WMS made on 5 June 2013 (at Annex D), sets out the process for decision making in cases reviewed under the CPS Victims' Right to Review scheme. The Attorney General's undertaking and two subsequent WMS do not affect a decision:
- by the magistrate or District Judge to discharge committal proceedings; or
- to withdraw transfer proceedings because the court refuses an adjournment;
- to reinstitute a case where the police fail to send a file (digital or otherwise) in time for the first hearing at the magistrates' court and the court refuses to allow an adjournment resulting in the proceedings being withdrawn; or
- by the CPS to prosecute after the police have previously decided to take no further action on a file but later refer the file to us for a charging decision
- to charge after a case is resubmitted with new evidence which was not originally available, unless the case was stopped with the specific intention to collect more evidence.
A subsequent decision to reinstitute proceedings under any of the above circumstances does not therefore require DCCP or CCP approval (see later section on Level of Decision-Making). References to the police in the exceptions above should not be read as applying to any other investigating agency such as HMRC, UKBA, SOCA, DWP.
Prosecutors should familiarise themselves with the undertaking, the two WMS, as well as section 10 of the Code for Crown Prosecutors which deals with this issue.
There is a presumption that once a suspect is informed of a decision not to prosecute, she or he is entitled to rely on that decision. Therefore, such a decision should not ordinarily be revoked. However, the case of R v Killick (2011) [EWCA] Crim 1608 (which confirmed that victims have the right to seek a review of a decision not to prosecute) and other developments in the law, including the EU Directive establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime, have marked a shift in which there is a recognition that the legitimate expectations of a complainant cannot be overridden by a suspect’s belief that he or she will not be prosecuted. Section 10 of the Code for Crown Prosecutors explains that occasionally there are special reasons why the prosecution service will overturn a decision not to prosecute or to deal with the case by way of an out-of-court disposal or when it will re-start the prosecution, particularly if the case is serious. It states:
10.1 People should be able to rely on decisions taken by the CPS. Normally, if the CPS tells a suspect or defendant that there will not be a prosecution, or that the prosecution has been stopped, the case will not start again. But occasionally there are reasons why the CPS will overturn a decision not to prosecute or to deal with the case by way of an out-of-court disposal or when it will restart the prosecution, particularly if the case is serious.
These reasons are set out at 10.2 of the Code and include:
- cases where a new look at the original decision shows that it was wrong and, in order to maintain confidence in the criminal justice system, a prosecution should be brought despite the earlier decision;
- cases which are stopped so that more evidence which is likely to become available in the fairly near future can be collected and prepared. In these cases, the prosecutor will tell the defendant that the prosecution may well start again;
- cases which are stopped because of a lack of evidence but where more significant evidence is discovered later; and
- cases involving a death in which a review following the findings of an inquest concludes that a prosecution should be brought, notwithstanding any earlier decision not to prosecute.
Section 23(9) of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 sets out the power to reinstitute proceedings after a case has been discontinued.
Under the Victims' Right to Review (VRR) scheme, victims have a right to seek a review of a CPS decision not to prosecute. The Victims' Right to Review Guidance, published on 21 July 2014, indicates that victims will be notified of their right to seek a review where a CPS prosecutor decides not to charge or to terminate the criminal proceedings involving that person as a victim. If the victim requests a review of a decision not to prosecute or to terminate proceedings, a different prosecutor will consider the decision afresh and determine whether or not the decision of the original prosecutor was wrong. The accused should be informed promptly of any decision to reinstitute proceedings.
Cases involving wrong decisions are likely to be rare although it is important that a robust approach is taken to correcting prosecution decisions which have been wrongly taken.
In accordance with Section 10.2 of the Code, the review is twofold:
- Was the decision not to prosecute wrong?
- If so, should a prosecution now be brought in order to maintain confidence in the criminal justice system?
Was the decision not to prosecute wrong?
In conducting a review the evidence must be considered afresh and independent of those who made the original decisions. The review will determine whether the case meets the Full Code Test.
Having reached a decision that a case passes the Full Code Test, the reviewer will go on to consider the original review and to identify the basis upon which it could be described as "wrong".
The issue on review is not whether the decision not to prosecute was unreasonable, but whether it was wrong.
However, a decision is not necessarily wrong simply because the reviewer disagrees with it. The reviewer should allow a margin of individual prosecutorial discretion when determining whether a decision was wrong, as it is understandable that two prosecutors might differ, particularly when making difficult decisions on complex evidence or on the public interest.
When considering what might be regarded as wrong, the reviewer should determine whether any of the following non-exhaustive list of factors had a significant impact on the decision (either on its own or in combination with other factors):
- A significant misinterpretation of the evidence. For example:
- An erroneous decision to disregard compelling evidence.
- Disproportionate weight attributed to factors such as: victim or witness credibility; initial reluctance of the victim to report the allegation; potential defences not actually raised by the suspect; or the inability of the prosecution to completely rebut the account of the suspect.
- An incorrect application of the law.
- An incorrect application of the public interest stage. For example:
- disproportionate weight attributed to one or more public interest factors tending against prosecution; or insufficient weight attributed to one or more public interest factors tending in favour of prosecution.
- A failure to consider, or a decision to not follow, relevant CPS policy that cannot be properly justified. Note that:
- CPS policy may be set out in The Code, Director's Guidance, Legal Guidance or Guidelines. A failure to properly apply or comply with policy includes situations where irrelevant considerations have been taken into account.
- It remains open to the prosecution in an individual case, for good reason, to disapply its own policy or guidance: R v A (RJ)  EWCA Crim 434 .
Should a prosecution now be brought in order to maintain confidence in the criminal justice system?
Having identified that the case meets the Full Code Test and that the original decision not to prosecute was wrong, the prosecutor must then consider whether a prosecution should be brought in order to maintain public confidence.
A careful balance must be struck between providing certainty to the public in our decision-making and not allowing wrong decisions to stand.
There are a number of aspects to the concept of public confidence, each of which needs to be weighed. For instance:
- The need to ensure that justice is delivered on individual cases.
- The need to ensure that those affected are provided with a sense that the criminal justice system has been used properly to address the offending behaviour.
- There is also the need to preserve the public's understanding that decisions by prosecutors have finality to them, and that it is only in "rare" cases that they will be overturned.
- The confidence of the public, either on an individual or collective basis, is not enhanced when decisions not to prosecute are reversed, but then found to constitute an abuse of process by the courts with the resultant proceedings being stayed (see Abuse of Process below).
This may include cases where forensic or other complex evidence may not be available for some time. A clear explanation should be given to the defendant at the time the case is originally stopped that proceedings are likely to be reinstituted once the awaited evidence has been received and reviewed.
"Evidence" in this context means all evidence and unused material received by the police at the time of the making of the decision to stop the case. It includes evidence that the police knew about or had in their possession but did not forward to the CPS until after the expiry of the final date for any consultation. The CPS should not stop a case until the final date for consultation with the police has expired. Cases where new investigative techniques are used to gather fresh evidence subsequent to proceedings having been discontinued may fall into this category.
Paragraph 10.2d of the Code for Crown Prosecutors applies in all cases where death has occurred in potentially criminal circumstances. An inquest is not an adversarial process in which a "prosecution" case is tested against a "defence" case; a verdict of unlawful killing does not in itself prove that the evidence justifies a prosecution for murder or manslaughter. No individual is charged with a particular offence before an inquest jury, and the jury knows that a verdict of unlawful killing will not affect the liberty of the individual or individuals who may be thought to be responsible: they are not convicted of anything, nor will they be sentenced as part of the inquest process. There are also different rules about who can call witnesses and address the jury to those that apply in a criminal trial. Nevertheless, an inquest may add value to the decision-making process through the opportunity it provides for witnesses to give their testimony in person. For this reason, it may sometimes be helpful for the reviewing lawyer to attend parts of an inquest in cases involving death where there is a possibility of criminal proceedings. For example, in death in custody cases, it is best practice for the reviewing lawyer to attend the relevant parts of the inquest and observe the proceedings first hand. Furthermore, paragraph 6.11 of the Policy for Prosecuting Cases of Bad Driving states:
"Where it is considered beneficial to do so, the reviewing lawyer will attend an inquest where the related criminal proceedings have still to be concluded."
The inquest provides an opportunity for the prosecutor to see and hear the witnesses give their evidence to the coroner's court. A re-review of a decision not to prosecute which takes place following an inquest should take into account any relevant evidence that has emerged at the inquest and any conclusions reached by the jury. Any indication of the way in which the jury may have accepted or rejected the evidence, or the effectiveness with which witnesses gave their evidence, could assist the prosecutor's assessment of whether there is a realistic prospect of conviction. Generally, in cases where a death has occurred, the criminal process will be concluded prior to any inquest being held. This includes the taking of decisions not to authorise the institution of criminal proceedings where there is not considered to be a realistic prospect of conviction. Even though paragraph 10.2d of the Code for Crown Prosecutors provides for the reversal of decisions not to prosecute in some circumstances, such decisions may also be susceptible to legal challenge. This will normally be through the seeking of the staying of proceedings as an abuse of process. Detailed guidance on the principles involved is contained below and in the Legal Guidance chapter on Abuse of Process. To guard against such an eventuality, which would naturally cause great distress to the family of a deceased person and potentially erode public confidence in the administration of justice, great care should be taken in the wording and communication of a decision not to prosecute in any case involving a death which is made prior to the holding of an inquest. The following suggested standard paragraph should be used in written communications to the police in which decisions not to prosecute are being explained:
"This decision has been made on the written information set out above. In the event of further evidence becoming available at some future stage, this decision may be re-visited. Where such further evidence, when considered alongside the existing evidence gathered to date, is considered to be capable of providing a realistic prospect of conviction, a prosecution may subsequently be brought. "Further evidence includes any evidence presented at any future inquest, including the oral testimony of witnesses whose written statements have already been considered to date."
This form of words should be adapted for use in letters explaining decisions to the families of deceased persons, or in responses to third party requests for information.
The CPS may consider reinstituting proceedings on receipt of further evidence in any circumstances, other than the following:
- the defendant has been acquitted (unless the case meets the "double jeopardy" criteria set out in Part 10 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988);
- the case has been dismissed (unless a voluntary bill of indictment is preferred); or
- the offence is summary only and the statutory time limit has expired.
The following factors are potentially relevant when making a decision to reinstate a case:
- the views of the victim(s);
- the views of witnesses;
- any delay prior to reinstitution; and
- potential abuse of process arguments.
With regards to potential abuse of process arguments, reference should be made to the Legal Guidance on Abuse of Process. The likelihood of a successful abuse of process argument being mounted needs to be addressed in any case where a decision not to prosecute is being reconsidered. Where the view is taken that the proceedings would, in all likelihood, be stayed as an abuse of process, the decision not to prosecute should not be reversed. This might be, for example, where there has been a substantial delay since the original decision to terminate or not authorise the institution of proceedings, and as a consequence the defendant would be substantially prejudiced in advancing his or her defence. However, the discretion of the court to stay proceedings as an abuse of process will only be exercised if exceptional circumstances exist which would result in prejudice to the defendant that cannot be remedied in other ways. The Divisional Court has held that unfairness may arise where proceedings are commenced or continued in breach of a promise not to prosecute: R v Croydon Justices ex parte Dean  Q.B. 769. In this case, D had continued to provide the police with assistance in a murder investigation following specific assurances by the police that he would not be prosecuted. The decision of the justices to stay as an abuse of process the proceedings that were subsequently brought against D was upheld by the Divisional Court. In R v Bloomfield  1 Cr. App. R. 135, it was held to have been an abuse of process to proceed with a prosecution where, at a previous plea and directions hearing, prosecuting counsel had indicated informally to defence counsel that the prosecutor proposed to offer no evidence against the defendant. This proposal had been repeated before the judge in his chambers, and the matter had then, at the prosecution's request, been adjourned to another day for no evidence to be offered. In these exceptional circumstances, it was an abuse of process to proceed with the prosecution. However, cases like Bloomfield are likely to be rare. There will not be an abuse of process where there is no suggestion of bad faith or of substantial prejudice to the defendant: R v Jobe  EWCA Crim 3155; R v Mulla  1 Cr. App. R. 6. In Mulla, the Court of Appeal held that there had not been an abuse of process where the prosecution had indicated to the judge in a case of causing death by dangerous driving that it had decided to accept a plea of guilty to careless driving. When invited by the judge to reconsider that decision, the prosecution had decided to pursue the original charge. The appellant had been aware from the outset that the judge was unhappy with the original decision, and it was only a short time before the change of decision. The Court of Appeal held that there had not been any prejudice to the appellant. On 28 November 2006, the Lord Chief Justice (LCJ) delivered the judgment of the Court of Appeal in R v Abu Hamza  1 Cr. App. R. 27. This judgment is highly relevant to cases where abuse arguments are raised on the basis of breach of an undertaking not to prosecute. The LCJ stated at paragraph 50:
"… circumstances can exist where it will be an abuse of process to prosecute a man for conduct in respect of which he has been given an assurance that no prosecution will be brought. It is by no means easy to define a test for those circumstances other than to say that they must be such as to render the proposed prosecution an affront to justice."
He went on to say that:
"Only in rare circumstances will it be offensive to justice to give effect to [the public interest that those who are reasonably suspected of criminal conduct should be brought to trial].
"Such circumstances can arise if the police, who are carrying out a criminal investigation, give an unequivocal assurance that a suspect will not be prosecuted and the suspect, in reliance on that undertaking, acts to his detriment."
The Court of Appeal's decision in Abu Hamza and the authorities noted above suggest that it is not likely to constitute an abuse of process to proceed with a prosecution unless there has been: a. an unequivocal representation by those with the conduct of the investigation or prosecution of a case that the defendant will not be prosecuted; and b. the defendant has acted on the representation to his detriment.
Even then, if facts come to light that were not known when the representation was made, this may justify proceeding with a prosecution despite the representation. More recently, the case of R (on the application of Guest) v DPP  EWHC 594 (Admin) provides useful guidance in the context of an erroneous decision to offer a conditional caution and the bringing of a subsequent prosecution. The Divisional Court stated in Guest that if the offender were put back in the position he was in had the decision not to prosecute never been taken, any subsequent prosecution of the offender would not necessarily amount to an abuse of process. Indeed, Lord Justice Goldring and Mr Justice Sweeney stated that, in the case under consideration, it would be more of an affront to justice were such a prosecution not brought. The high test prosecutors should apply before halting a case in which it is argued that there is an abuse of process, or deciding not to prosecute in a case where such an argument would be expected, was emphasised by Sweeney J as follows:
“Abuse of process involves a judgment by a court, based on well-defined principles, on the particular facts of a case. A decision to stay proceedings is a rare outcome. In a case in which, in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors, the evidential and public interest tests are otherwise met, it will thus be in only the most exceptional case, where the Prosecutor can say with a high degree of certainty that a court will rule that a prosecution is proved to be an abuse of its process, that a decision not to prosecute is likely to be valid.”
The subsequent prosecution was successful and a challenge to the proceedings on the ground they were an abuse was rejected by the trial judge. Serious offences are much more likely to demand reinstitution than low-level or summary only offences.
Cases subject to appeal by the police following a decision not to proceed may be escalated in accordance with paragraph 23 of the Director’s Guidance on Charging (management review of charging decisions and actions) which states:
- Management review of charging decisions and actions If the police or a prosecutor disagrees with any decision or action proposed following referral of a case the case can be escalated to the first line of management, which for this purpose will be an Inspector or authorised Crown Prosecutor, for a review and resolution of outstanding issues. This review should take place as soon as possible. If this review cannot resolve the issues, the case should be referred to the BCU Commander and Chief Crown Prosecutor or someone nominated on their behalf.
The decision on whether to reinstitute proceedings as a result of a reconsideration of a case under the VRR scheme will be made at the level of Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor or above.
The decision to reinstitute proceedings in all other cases must be taken by a Chief Crown Prosecutor or the Head of a Casework Division where the Attorney General's previous statement and Written Ministerial Statements (see Annex A, Annex B, Annex C and Annex D) apply.
The police must inform the CPS if they have told an accused that she or he will not be charged or reported for an offence. Whether the decision is taken at this stage by the police or by a prosecutor from whom a charging decision has been sought, the suspect should be advised:
- that the decision was taken on the basis of available information; and
- whether the decision was taken on evidential or public interest grounds.
If a case is discontinued before the case goes to court, the accused will be informed by notice under section 23 of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985. It is, however, advisable to consult your Chief Crown Prosecutor or the Head of your Casework Division before issuing a discontinuance notice or making an application to withdraw charges at court where it is intended to reinstitute proceedings at a later date. The accused has the right to issue a revival notice (see the Legal Guidance on Termination of Proceedings). The accused should always be informed where proceedings have been discontinued with a view to reinstitution.
Prosecutors may apply to withdraw proceedings at court (refer to the Legal Guidance on Termination of Proceedings). Prosecutors must, however, make a full endorsement on the file of applications to withdraw and should invite the court Legal Advisor to make a full record on the court file. The defendant must be told of the possibility of proceedings being reinstituted. Prosecutors must clearly explain to the court and defendant if they are withdrawing proceedings because the requisite evidence is currently unavailable. The court and defendant must also be informed of any intention to reinstitute proceedings where proceedings are withdrawn. It is important that prosecutors clearly explain that the seriousness of the offence may require a future prosecution, notwithstanding the likely delay in obtaining outstanding evidence. Proceedings cannot be reinstituted if the CPS offers no evidence and the case is dismissed in the magistrates' court.
Where a notice under section 23 of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 has been served, summary proceedings must be reinstituted within the time limits specified in section 127 of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980 (namely six months). When proceedings are terminated in order to substitute charge(s), the new charge(s) should be laid before the original matters are terminated, to avoid the possibility of the substitute charge amounting to a reinstitution of proceedings. Cases that are terminated with a view to reinstitution should be closely monitored and reviewed in order to avoid delay; otherwise these cases may be susceptible to abuse of process arguments. Cases subject to appeal by the police following a decision not to proceed should be escalated in accordance with paragraph 23 of the Director’s Guidance on Charging (management review of charging decisions and actions). However, any review of the charging decision must be conducted in accordance with the principles outlined herein.
Mr Waterson: To ask the Attorney General what amendment he proposes to make to the undertaking given by the Solicitor General on 25 April 1986 in relation to the reinstitution of proceedings which have been terminated, consequent upon the post of Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions being put into abeyance. The Attorney-General: The hon. Member refers to an assurance given during the course of the debate on 25 April 1986, at column 640, on prosecution policy. The fundamental consideration remains that individuals should be able to rely on decisions taken by the prosecuting authorities. The policy of the Director of Public Prosecutions is that a decision to terminate proceedings or not to prosecute should not, in the absence of special circumstances, be altered once it has been communicated to the defendant or prospective defendant unless it was taken and expressed to be taken because the evidence was insufficient. In such a case it would be appropriate to reconsider the decision if further significant evidence were to become available at a later date – especially if the alleged offence is a serious one. Special circumstances which might justify departure from this policy include:
- rare cases where reconsiderations of the original decision show that it was not justified and the maintenance of confidence in the criminal justice system requires that a prosecution be brought notwithstanding the earlier decision; and
- those cases where termination has been effected specifically with a view to the collection and preparation of the necessary evidence which is thought likely to become available in the fairly near future. In such circumstances the CPS will advise the defendant of the possibility that proceedings will be re-instituted.
In the circumstances described at 1 and 2 the decision will be taken at chief crown prosecutor level with effect from 1 April, 1993.
Annex B: Written Ministerial Statement - House of Commons, 22 February 2010 Revised Code for Crown Prosecutors
The Attorney General (Baroness Scotland QC): The review of the Code for Crown Prosecutors, which began during 2008, is now complete. Copies of the revised Code have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses. The Code was last revised by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in 2004 and it has now been updated in order to take into account recent changes in law and practice, as well as the merger between the Crown Prosecution Service and the Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office. The fundamental evidential and public interest considerations have not changed. However, the Code has been amended to include: some additional public interest factors tending both in favour of and against prosecution; provision for exceptional situations which allow a decision to be made not to undertake a prosecution on public interest grounds before all the evidence in the case is available for consideration by the prosecutor; an explanation of how the CPS takes decisions in cases which require the DPP's consent; greater clarity on the prosecutor's role in considering out-of-court disposals; the introduction of an explanation of the Threshold Test and the circumstances in which it should be applied. The revised Code also makes it clear that, for the maintenance of public confidence in the criminal justice system, in rare cases where a new look at the original decision shows it was wrong, the CPS will consider reversing a decision not to prosecute. The current wording of this aspect of the Code updates and brings greater clarity to the undertaking given in a Written Answer on this issue by the Attorney General on 31 March 1993. I am particularly please to welcome the DPP's decision to take a more robust approach to correcting prosecution decisions that were wrongly taken. To ensure the Code's accessibility, it will be published in audio and Braille and, in addition to English and Welsh, the most commonly spoken community languages. I welcome the revised Code and commend it to all prosecuting authorities. Copies of the Code for Crown Prosecutors will be available on the Crown Prosecution Service website which can be found at www.cps.gov.uk.
Attorney General's Office - Written Ministerial Statement
Publication of the revised CPS guidance on reconsidering a prosecution decision
The Attorney General (Dominic Grieve): The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has today published revised guidance to prosecutors on the circumstances in which a decision not to prosecute or to terminate proceedings might be reconsidered and the procedure to be followed. In a written answer of 31 March 1993 the then Attorney General stated that in certain circumstances it may be appropriate for decisions not to prosecute or to terminate proceedings previously taken to be reconsidered. Two specific examples were given of where such reconsideration might be appropriate:
- Rare cases where reconsideration of the original decision shows that it was not justified and the maintenance of confidence in the criminal justice system requires that a prosecution be brought notwithstanding the earlier decision; and
- Those cases where termination has been effected specifically with a view to the collection and preparation of the necessary evidence which is thought likely to become available in the fairly near future. In such circumstances the CPS will advise the defendant of the possibility that proceedings will be re-instituted.
In those circumstances it was stated that the decision would be taken at Chief Crown Prosecutor level. The revised guidance gives two new instances after which the decision to reinstate proceedings need not be taken by a Chief Crown Prosecutor:
- Where the decision is taken to reinstitute a case where the police failed to send a file (digital or otherwise) in time for the first hearing at the magistrates' court and the court refuses to allow an adjournment resulting in the proceedings being withdrawn
- Where the decision is taken by the CPS to prosecute after the police have previously decided to take no further action on a file but later refer the file to the CPS for a charging decision.
These are in addition to the two instances mentioned in the previous version of the guidance: where the original proceedings were discharged by a magistrate or District Judge; and where the original proceedings were terminated after the decision was taken to withdraw transfer proceedings because the court had refused an adjournment A copy of the revised guidance has been placed in both the Library of the House of Commons and the Library of the House of Lords. Attorney General's Office 31 October 2012
Attorney General’s Office - Written Ministerial Statement
Crown Prosecution Service interim guidelines on victims’ right to review prosecution decisions
The Attorney General (Dominic Grieve): The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has today published interim guidance to Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) staff on handling cases that give rise to a victim’s right to review (VRR). The VRR guidance, which takes immediate effect, follows a judgement by the Court of Appeal (Thomas LJ, Dobbs J, and the Recorder of Redbridge) in R v Christopher Killick  EWCA Crim 1608 that a victim of crime has a right, derived from the ordinary principles of English law, to seek a review of a CPS decision not to prosecute; meaning a clear procedure for the exercise of this right is required. The guidance sets out when the victims’ right to review arises, the process for victims to request a review and how the review will be conducted by the CPS. Victims will be notified of their right to review when a CPS prosecutor decides not to charge or to terminate criminal proceedings involving that person as a victim. If the victim requests a review of the decision, a different prosecutor will consider the decision afresh and determine whether or not the decision of the original prosecutor was wrong. The decision on whether to reinstitute proceedings as a result of that review will be made at the level of Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor or above. The guidance has been issued on an interim basis and is the subject of a consultation exercise that will last for three months. The DPP will publish his final guidance later this year, once he has considered the responses to the consultation. Copies of the interim guidance have been placed in the libraries of both Houses.
Attorney General’s Office
5 June 2013