Referrals, approvals and notifications
- Referral of cases
- Serious Economic Organised Crime and International Directorate (SEOCID)
- Special Crime and Counter Terrorism (SCCTD)
- Area Complex Casework Units
- Area Rape and Serious Sexual Offences (RASSO) Units
- Approval of decisions and notifications
- Press Office – notification required
The purpose of this guidance is to set out the following:
- the type of cases that require referral to a specific Directorate, Division or Unit to have conduct of the case
- The types of decisions which must be approved by, or notified to, a particular individual or grade within the CPS.
Approval means that a particular individual or grade must endorse the decision of the prosecutor in the case. Notification means that a particular individual or grade must be informed of the decision the prosecutor in the case has made.
When this guidance uses the term ‘referral of cases’ it means that a specific Directorate, Division or Unit within the CPS should have conduct of that case, unless otherwise specified. That may be pre-charge engagement with the investigator, making the charging decision or any later stage of the case when it comes to the attention of a prosecutor.
It is important for reasons of complexity (the resources a case is likely to need), sensitivity (the need for heightened assurance about handling) and/or expertise (the need for particular experience of a prosecutor or that they have familiarity with a specific area of criminal law) that the right part of the CPS has conduct of those cases within its specialism.
There are four types of specialist Directorate, Division or Unit of which prosecutors should be aware, two Central Casework Divisions (SEOCID and SCCTD) and two within Areas (CCUs and RASSO units):
- Serious Economic Organised Crime and International Directorate (SEOCID). This comprises three divisions: the International, London and South-East Division; the Regional and Wales Division; and the Proceeds of Crime Division (POC)
- Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division (SCCTD). This comprises two divisions and a unit: Special Crime, Counter Terrorism and the Appeals and Review Unit
- Area Complex Casework Units (CCUs)
- Area Rape and Serious Sexual Offences Units (RASSO units)
Prosecutors should also be aware of the Special Jurisdiction of the Chief Magistrate: see Criminal Practice Direction 5.14. It is important that the Chief Magistrate or Judges specifically allocated by the Chief Magistrate hear cases involving police officers charged with serious offences or cases of unusual sensitivity. When Prosecutors are considering referral of cases within the CPS in accordance with this guidance they should, at the same time, consider whether the Chief Magistrate ought to hear the case. Guidance as to whether cases meet the Special Jurisdiction criteria can be found in the Criminal Practice Direction 5.14. Prosecutors should contact: email@example.com
SEOCID provides a specialist prosecution and advisory service for serious and/or complex economic crime, organised crime and international cases in England and Wales. It has three divisions:
- The International, London and South-East Division (ILSED) deals with serious economic crime and organised crime cases investigated within the London, South East, and East of England areas. ILSED also has an Extradition Unit and an International Unit.
- The Regional and Wales Division (RWD) deals with serious economic crime and organised crime investigated in East Anglia, the Midlands, South-West, the North and Wales. RWD also has a dedicated Organised Child Sexual Abuse Unit (OCSAU) dealing with complex investigations from across all police forces and the NCA.
- The Proceeds of Crime Division (POC).
SEOCID takes work from police and non-police investigators, including HMRC, NCA, DWP, Immigration Enforcement Directorate, Medicine Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA), Welsh Revenue Authority and DEFRA.
The NCA Commands include:
- Organised Crime
- Border Force
- Child Exploitation Online Protection (CEOP)
- Economic Crime
- National Cybercrime Unit
ILSED and RWD will handle all cases which:
- involve economic and/or organised crime cases, and
- are particularly serious and/or complex, and/or sensitive or require particular expertise.
“Economic crime” means fraud and other dishonesty offences, including bribery and corruption.
“Organised crime” means planned and co-ordinated criminal behaviour and conduct by people working together on a continuing basis. Their motivation is often, but not always, financial gain.
Cases should be referred to SEOCID which are either economic or organised crime and contain indicators of complexity, sensitivity, or expertise (below) which require such specialist handling.
Indicators of “complexity” includes:
- novel and/or complex legal issues or offending typologies
- significant actual or potential harm (financial or otherwise)
- extensive pre-charge advice is required, including the use of compulsory powers, parallel regulatory investigations or civil proceedings, or immunities and undertakings
- investigations involving more than one government department, regulator and/or criminal investigator
- complex disclosure issues, including linked cases and cases that involve more than one investigation body
- cases requiring the co-ordination of investigation and prosecution strategies across international borders, including where there are overlapping jurisdictions and/or where the creation of a joint investigation team may be required
- cases requiring the protection of highly sensitive intelligence
- where the management of unused material is complex in light of the investigative technique deployed
- prosecutors’ powers (SOCPA and disclosure notices) which are to be considered at pre-charge
- the investigation is industry-funded or is to be conducted by private investigators
Indicators of “sensitivity” includes:
- where there is a requirement for the prosecutor to have access to Secret or Top Secret material, including cases requiring DV clearance, and cases requiring the protection of very sensitive intelligence
- cases involving high-profile or sensitive individuals or corporations, both national and international (this indicator is not intended to include celebrities per se) and would include suspects in a position of economic or political power
- where there is significant reputational risk to the UK Government or a publicly funded body, including the CPS.
- cases involving known organised crime groups and/or prominent individuals within them or high-priority targets or vulnerabilities, both national and international
- cases involving public bodies, non-governmental organisations, or charities, both national and international
- criminality with the potential to undermine the UK’s economy or major financial interests, for example, investigations relating to the manipulation of financial or other international markets, insolvency (corporate or personal), and tax
- systematic criminality by a profession (rather than an individual) in a position of trust
Indicators that “expertise” is required include:
- cases requiring specialist knowledge relating to the use of covert techniques or other complex investigative techniques
- specialised knowledge is needed relating to the subject matter of the investigation, for example, stock exchange practices, regulatory bodies, complex banking issues, shipping, onshore and offshore trusts, tax or excise fraud or fraud perpetrated by computer misuse
- the suspects include a corporate entity, other than one which is very small, particularly if there is a question of a deferred prosecution agreement
- the investigation includes a possible breach of fiduciary duty by an individual or group in which a high degree of trust has been placed, for example, lawyers, accountants, directors, trustees, doctors or senior public servants
- the allegations include bribery, other than that which is very low level, particularly bribery of public officials, bribery linked to large and/or publicly funded contracts and overseas bribery
- large scale or complex intellectual property investigations
- all national minimum wage investigations
- cases in which, because of widespread impact or the unusual criminal methodology, a co-ordinating and/or standard setting role is needed
By contrast, lower complexity cases from HMRC, DWP, DEFRA, NHS Counter Fraud and the GLAA should be referred by investigators directly to Fraud Centres in CPS Wales, CPS Mersey Cheshire, or CPS Wessex.
Examples of lower complexity economic crime cases dealt with in CPS Area Fraud Centres:
- Benefit Fraud
- Student Loan fraud
- Child Maintenance offences
- Cash Seizures
- Offences under section 72(11) Value Added Tax Act 1994
- Possessing goods with a false trademark for sale e.g. tobacco
- Fraudulent evasion of duty by selling prohibited or restricted goods
- Failing to pay duty on imported goods, including tobacco and cigarettes
- Illegal felling of trees
- Failing to comply with regulations relating to slaughterhouse conditions
SEOCID also deals with extradition as an area of expertise. Prosecutors in CPS Areas, including CCUs, must submit requests for the return of fugitives from countries outside of the European Union to the Extradition Unit for them to handle the cases (except for those cases dealt with elsewhere in SEOCID or by SCCTD). Before any case is sent to the Extradition Unit it must be quality assured and signed off by a Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor or CCU Unit Head.
The criteria for submitting an extradition referral are set out in Extradition - To the UK prosecution guidance, along with all the information that should be submitted. All the material should be submitted to the allocated lawyer or to the Extradition Unit.
The following CPS Areas should refer economic and organised crime cases that meet the referral criteria to ILSED:
- CPS London North
- CPS London South
- CPS South-East
- CPS Thames and Chiltern
- CPS East of England
- CPS Wessex
The following CPS Areas should refer economic and organised crime cases that meet the referral criteria to RWD:
- CPS East Midlands
- CPS West Midlands
- CPS South-West
- CPS Wales
- CPS North-East
- CPS North-West
- CPS Yorkshire and Humberside
- CPS Mersey Cheshire
Cases involving child sexual abuse allegations where two or more of the following (complexity, sensitivity and/or expertise) conditions apply may be suitable for handling by the OCSAU unit:
- professional breach of trust or institutional abuse
- likely substantial national media interest
- evidence of systematic/organised abuse
- exceptionally voluminous (whether number of suspects/victims or material)
- unusual legal element (e.g. multi-jurisdictional or exceptionally large-scale third-party material)
Referrals from a CPS Area to OCSAU should be made at the earliest possible stage the factors for referral are identified. The referral should be in writing endorsed by an Area CCP or DCCP. Referral should be made to the Deputy Head of Division with responsibility for OCSAU on the OCSAU referral form.
CPS Areas, Divisions and Directorates must refer the following cases for reasons of expertise to be handled by the CPS Proceeds of Crime Division of SEOCID:
- all Restraint Order casework (including pre-POCA High Court restraint)
- all Area confiscation cases where a timetable has been set by the court for confiscation proceedings
- cases requiring early consideration of complex asset recovery, including high value crypto currency
- any SCCTD confiscation casework, on request from DCCP or above
- all section 22 Reconsideration casework
- all Civil Recovery casework under parts 5 and 8 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002
- civil litigation proceedings against the CPS concerning the CPS’ prosecution function, e.g. allegations of malicious prosecution, malfeasance in a public office, breach of human rights, false imprisonment and data protection breaches relating to casework (as distinct from other aspects of the business, such as employment proceedings, or judicial review)
- High Court Serious Crime Prevention Orders (unless connected to terrorism in which case they should go to CTD)
CPS Areas, Divisions and Directorates must refer all the following cases to be handled in the Special Crime Division in SCCTD. These are listed below based on their complexity, sensitivity, and expertise:
Indicators of complexity includes:
- homicide allegations involving 1. four or more victims and 2. medical authorities (rather than caring authorities) such as NHS, NHS Trusts, and Hospitals
Indicators of sensitivity includes:
- allegations against police officers of seriously corrupt activity. This is likely to include one or more of the following:
- systematic and organised attempts to pervert the course of justice or other conduct likely to seriously harm the administration of justice, in particular the criminal justice system
- systematic and organised sexual misconduct, such as targeting vulnerable victims or misusing police systems
- systematic and organised unauthorised provision of information or undue payments
- corrupt controller/handler/source relationships
- extraction and/or supply of seized controlled drugs, firearms or other illegal material, e.g. drugs proceeds, counterfeit currency etc
- Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) cases of a more serious or complex nature alleging criminal conduct by the police should be referred to Special Crime.See Police Allegations of Criminal Offence and IOPC Case Allocation Criteria. This is likely to include the same type of offending listed immediately above
- serious public corruption (except cases submitted by the NCA or economic crime cases which should be referred to SEOCID)
- allegations against those who hold national public or political office save for minor uncontested motoring offences and other minor offences, e.g. MPs, PCCs, Chief Constables. This does not extend to those with merely a national profile, e.g. celebrities, or whose office is local, e.g. councillors. CCPs should discuss the retention of minor cases on Area with the Head of SCCTD.
- cases involving CPS staff, as suspects or defendants (not victims or witnesses), except cases relating to minor uncontested motoring offences
- National Crime Agency (NCA) Employee Cases except cases relating to minor uncontested motoring offences
Indicators of expertise includes:
- Deaths in custody: see the criteria guidance in Deaths in custody.
- Deaths which follow contact with the police. This definition includes the deaths of persons who have been arrested or otherwise detained by the police. It also includes deaths occurring whilst a person is being arrested or taken into detention. The death may have taken place on police, private or medical premises. Also included are circumstances where the person dies during or after some form of contact with the police which did not amount to detention and there is a link between that contact and the death. Finally, it includes fatal shooting incidents in which police fire the fatal shots.
- Assisting suicide cases: see Suicide – Encouraging and Assisting.
- Allegations of gross negligence manslaughter with the exception of road traffic collisions and cases of neglect e.g. gross negligence manslaughter in care homes or concerning children; however, police driver cases involving a fatality should be referred.
- Health and Safety Executive lead on Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 allegations save where they fall to be considered alongside other offences: in the case of gross negligence manslaughter, this will depend on whether the gross negligence manslaughter will be dealt with by Special Crime or Area.
- cases which may result in proceedings for corporate manslaughter, see Service Level Agreement (SLA) between CPS Areas and Corporate Manslaughter.
- Election offences. All allegations of breaches of the Representation of the People Acts should be referred. Criminal offences under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 are managed by CPS Areas, however, more complex cases may require referral to SEOCID. See Election Offences.
- Allegations that journalists may have committed offences in the course of their work as journalists. See Media Cases – Assessing the Public Interest.
- Allegations that public servants have misused their privileged access to confidential information to provide information to the media. See – Prosecuting Cases Where Public Servants Have Disclosed Confidential Information.
In addition, any case which, after discussion with the CCP and Head of SCCTD, the DLS decides should be dealt with by Special Crime.
Special Crime also has a review function for the following, but the case will be retained by Areas:
- All private prosecution cases referred to the CPS for possible intervention. Special Crime will provide an assurance that the decision is compliant with the private prosecution policy. See Private Prosecutions.
CPS Areas must refer the following cases for reasons of expertise to be handled by the Counter Terrorism Division in SCCTD:
- acts of terrorism or terrorist related offences
- cases of incitement to hatred based on race, religion or sexual orientation should be referred where Areas are satisfied on review that there is a prima facie case, and the required thresholds are met for a Part III Public Order Act 1986 offence
- Official Secrets Acts offences
- violent extremism
- Core International Crime: War crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, including torture and hostage taking
- arrest warrants in certain private prosecutions, pursuant to section 153(1) of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011
- other national security related crime including terrorism-related cybercrime
- High Court Serious Crime Prevention Orders if connected to terrorism
- piracy and hijacking
See section 1 Terrorism Act 2000 for the definition of terrorism.
Cases with a terrorist element, even if investigated under other legislation e.g. Explosive Substances Act 1883 offences, must be referred to CTD.
There is not one type of terrorist or terrorism. It originates from a variety of countries and terrorists have multiple ethnic, racial, religious and or political identities and have different views, aims and purposes. Any case involving a possible charge under the terrorism legislation must be referred immediately to the Counter Terrorism Unit in SCCTD and not dealt with by Area or CPS Direct prosecutors.
Stirring up hatred offences under Part III of the Public Order Act 1986 (inciting racial and religious hatred and hatred based on sexual orientation) are highly sensitive, and the consent of the Attorney General to prosecute is required. Before any referral to CTD, Areas should be satisfied on review that there is a prima facie case for a Part III offence. If in any doubt, Area prosecutors should contact CTD to discuss where responsibility for the case should lie.
CPS Areas, (but not SEOCID or SCCTD), must refer the following cases for reasons of expertise to be handled by the Appeals and Review Unit inSCCTD
- judicial Review and Case Stated Appeals to the Administrative Court, see Appeals to the Administrative Court – this includes judicial review challenges relating to bail, Custody Time Limits and to CPS policy, prosecution guidance and other challenges to the CPS’ corporate position rather than to casework
- appeals to the Court of Appeal including Criminal Cases Review Commissions referrals, see Appeals CCRC and Appeals to the Court of Appeal
- Unduly Lenient Sentences, see Unduly Lenient Sentences
- Attorney General's Reference on A Point of Law, see Attorney General's Reference on a Point of Law
- applications for the retrial of serious offences under section 76(3) Criminal Justice Act 2003 (Double Jeopardy cases), see Retrial of Serious Offences
- applications to quash an acquittal and seek a retrial for a qualifying offence, see Re-trials
- applications for a determination as to whether a foreign acquittal is a bar to a trial, and, if so, an order that it not be a bar
- applications for restrictions on publication relating to these matters
Appeals relating to the following interlocutory matters will generally be dealt with by the ARU:
- appeals against orders relating to a trial to be conducted without a jury where there is a danger of jury tampering, see Non-Jury Trials
- Appeals against an order that a trial should continue without a jury or a new trial take place without a jury after jury tampering, see Non-Jury Trials
The ARU will not generally deal with the following interlocutory hearings:
- appeals against rulings in preparatory matters
- appeals against terminating rulings under section 58 Criminal Justice Act 2003 (but ARU must be notified (see below))
- appeals in relation to restraint or receivership
- appeals against orders restricting or preventing media reporting or restricting public access to a trial
- appeals against the granting of bail by the magistrates’ court or Crown Court or appeals or relating to Custody Time Limits
- other interlocutory appeals
CPS Areas must notify the ARU of the following, prior to communicating any response or initiating any action:
- a letter before claim received by the CPS under the Judicial Review Pre-Action Protocol
- any intention to initiate a Judicial Review or Case Stated Appeal
The precise point at which the ARU becomes responsible for handling the Area case depends on the stage the application/claim has reached. More detailed guidance can be found in Appeals to the Administrative Court , under ‘Responsibility for Proceedings’.
SEOCID and SCCTD deal with their own cases in the Administrative Court, including responding to or initiating any action.
ARU has conduct of all appeals against conviction and sentence originating from CPS Areas in the Court of Appeal, save for the interlocutory matters above. ARU must also be notified of all appeals against terminating rulings under section 58 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003. This is notification only for the purpose of listing. The ARU does not have conduct of appeals against Terminating Rulings. SEOCID and SCCTD have conduct of their own cases in the Court of Appeal.
ARU is responsible for the handling of all cases which reach the Supreme Court, including cases originating from SEOCID and SCCTD.
VRRs should be handled in accordance with the VRR Guidance.
CPS Areas must refer all the following cases to be handled in their Complex Casework Units (unless they meet the criteria for referral to SEOCID or SCCTD). These are listed below based on their complexity, sensitivity, and expertise:
Indicators of “complexity” includes:
- Organised crime groups involved in serious offences involving substantial importation, manufacture or supply of drugs, or firearms, or large-scale human trafficking, noting the Organised Crime SEOCID exceptions to this
- substantial and complex fraud, including betting/lottery cases, noting the Serious Economic Crime SEOCID exceptions to this
- major large scale public disorder offences, including political protest or activism, see Offences during Protests, Demonstrations or Campaigns, (other than minor participants suitable for separate prosecutions)
- cases in the Crown Court which are likely to last for 40 days or more and thus fall within the VHCC scheme will be dealt with by the CCU. This is a presumption which can be overridden with the agreement of the Chief Crown Prosecutor if a VHCC case is considered to be suitable for handling by a Crown Court Unit or it has started elsewhere and the CCP is content for it to remain on the original unit
Indicators of “sensitivity” includes:
- all homicides (except for London homicides which go to the homicide unit) involving:
- hate crime
- “mercy killings” and suicide pacts, noting that assisted suicide cases should be referred to Special Crime
- Gross Negligence Manslaughter cases which arise from road traffic collisions or cases involving neglect (including cases concerning children, patients or Care Home residents), seeRoad Traffic - Fatal Offences and Bad Driving
- The death of an infant, where there is complex expert evidence
- cases involving more than 2 victims/more than 4 defendants
- corporate manslaughter involving unincorporated partnerships
- where the death occurs either more than 3 years after an initial injury is sustained or after a person has previously been convicted of an offence committed in the circumstances connected with the death (cases within the Law Reform (Year and Day Rule) Act 1996, requiring Attorney General’s consent to prosecute)
- cases attracting major media interest, e.g. allegations involving individuals or organisations with a high public profile that do not fall within the SCCTD criteria of public or political office
- major targeted local criminals
- complex/serious cases involving professional misconduct, which should be interpreted as including criminality by police officers and other public officials relating to their role, with cases within the RASSO criteria going to RASSO units and allegations involving police officers and other public officials not related to their role going to magistrates’ court or Crown Court teams
Indicators of “expertise” includes:
- transmission of sexually transmitted diseases cases, see Sexual Infection - Intentional or Reckless Transmission
- female genital mutilation cases, see Female Genital Mutilation
- forced marriage cases, see So Called Honour Based Abuse and Forced Marriage
- cases involving the negotiation of jurisdiction with the USA
- cases investigated by a Counter Terrorism Unit which fall short of being terrorist offences
- cases involving a breach of the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 1992
- cases involving a breach of reporting restrictions for under 18s
- unregistered schools cases, see Education: Department for Education Prosecutions
- immunity, restricted use or reduction in sentence agreements, see Assisting Offenders (Immunities, Undertakings and Agreements)
In addition, all IOPC cases should be referred to the CCU. The CCU Head should consider the allegations and determine if the matter should be retained for case handling on the CCU or allocated elsewhere (Magistrates’ Court Unit, Crown Court Unit, RASSO or whether to approach and discuss with OCSAU or Special Crime). The CCU Head should also retain a list of all IOPC cases referred into the CCU, prior to any case handling allocation decision. The CCU Head should consider the same factors as above for serious allegations against persons serving with the police or other professions.
Cases may be referred to the CCU by agreement or at the direction of the Chief Crown Prosecutor where they are likely to feature one or more of the following:
- unusual legal or evidential issues
- complex expert evidence or multiple experts
- significant or multiple foreign enquiries or liaison with foreign law enforcement agencies
- protected witnesses
- multi agency involvement
- resident sources
- particularly complex or covert techniques deployed such as: extensive undercover police operations / multiple use of sources
- where the skills and capacity of a CCU prosecutor are deemed necessary
CPS Areas, Divisions and Directorates must refer all the following cases for reasons of expertise to be handled in Area RASSO Units:
- rape cases
- child sexual abuse cases (including historic offending)
- grooming cases
- youth suspect sexual offending
- vulnerable adult suspect and victim sexual offending
- domestic abuse sexual offending
- any cases referred to OCSAU but rejected by that unit, at the discretion of the CCP if the case could be dealt with by either CCU or RASSO unit, so long as it is handled by a Specialist RASSO prosecutor
- perverting the course of Justice/wasting police time offences arising from false rape or serious sexual offence allegations or domestic abuse allegations, see Perverting the Course of Justice and Wasting Police Time in Cases involving Allegedly False Allegations of Rape and/or Domestic Abuse
- any linked offending such as: coercive and controlling behaviour/assaults/indecent images
The RASSO units will not take the following types of cases:
- revenge pornography offences
- outraging public decency
- indecent images of children offences
- extreme pornography offences
- non-sexual child abuse
- offences relating to inappropriate communications with children of sexual nature
- paedophile hunter cases
- possession of paedophile manual offences
Approval is distinct from referral. Referral is a question of who has conduct of the case in its entirety. Approval (sometimes referred to in guidance as authorisation) means that a particular individual or grade must endorse the decision of the prosecutor in the case. The individuals or grades are:
- Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP)
- Director of Legal Services (DLS)
- Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP) – this includes the Heads of SEOCID and the Head of SCCTD
- Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor (DCCP) – this includes Deputy Heads in SEOCID and SCCTD
- Senior District Crown Prosecutor (SDCP) – this includes Unit Heads in SEOCID and SCCTD
It is important that approval is obtained at the correct level because of the importance of oversight, experience, and expertise in certain types of decision-making. However, this is an internal mechanism. The CPS expects it to be followed, but a failure to do so, without more, will not nullify proceedings, provide a ground of abuse of process nor amount to a basis for submitting that a conviction is unsafe: seeGolding  EWCA Crim 889 at  to .
Notification is distinct from referral or approval. Notification means that a particular individual or grade must be informed of the decision the prosecutor in the case has made. This relates to the need to inform Private Office, the DLS or Press Office of certain cases rather than seek approval. In relation to the DLS, notification is required before any decision is communicated to any relevant party.
The Consents prosecution guidance sets out those cases where the DPP’s personal consent is required as a matter of law and how to seek it. In addition to these cases, as a matter of policy the DPP’s approval is sought for the proposed course of action. These are:
- assisted suicide allegations
- death in custody cases
- jury vetting
Where a decision is required by the DPP, the submissions template should be completed. This submission must be cleared at DCCP level or above before being sent to the DLS Team for onward transmission to Private Office.
In addition, by way of notification rather than approval, Private Office may request a briefing for the DPP on a case. Casework briefings for the DPP should be completed using the briefing note template. A casework briefing note must be cleared at SDCP or above before being sent to the DLS Team for onward transmission to Private Office.
The following areas of work must be referred to the DLS for approval and may require a national case management panel before a decision can be made:
- any matter where the DPP’s personal consent (or delegated DPP personal consent) is sought, see Consents to Prosecute
- ‘mercy killings’ and failed suicide pacts in the context of mercy killings, see Homicide- Murder and Manslaughter
- court applications, where the CPS is engaged in the case, to obtain material from the media
- a prosecutor’s certificate or prosecutor’s belief statement under the Forum Bar should be signed by a DLS
- cases where the CPS is making representations where a Third Party Costs Order for Serious Misconduct, pursuant to section 19B Prosecution of Offences act 1985, is contemplated
Cases requiring a DLS approval should be submitted to the DLS team on a briefing note cleared at DCCP level or above. Areas, Divisions and Directorates should ensure that the DLS team is kept appraised of any major changes or updates on the progress of the case after decisions or notifications have been made.
The following should be notified to the DLS, prior (where relevant) to any charging decision being communicated:
- any prosecutions (including those taken over from private prosecutions) alleging abortion offences contrary to sections 58 and 59 Offences Against the Person Act 1861 and child destruction contrary to section 1 Infant Life (Preservation) Act 1929
- Domestic Homicide Reviews, Child and Vulnerable Adult Reviews, see: Inquiries and reviews guidance
- any case in which a decision not to charge or to stop a case arises from the defence of non-insane automatism e.g. sexsomnia
- all decisions to charge perverting the course of justice arising from a false allegation of rape or other sexual offence or domestic abuse, see Perverting the Course of Justice and Wasting Police Time in Cases involving Allegedly False Allegations of Rape and/or Domestic Abuse
- all cases where there is a decision to charge juror misconduct offences under sections 20A to 20G Juries Act 1974. The Registrar of Criminal Appeals must be informed and the impact upon any conviction obtained in the related proceedings assessed. The role of the DPP’s office is discharged by the DLS Team for the purposes of the relevant Practice Direction
- female genital mutilation cases, see Female Genital Mutilation
- cases involving the intentional or reckless sexual transmission of STIs, see Sexual Infection - Intentional or Reckless Transmission
- publications likely to lead to the identification of a victim in a sexual offence and other breaches of reporting restrictions, see Rape and Sexual Offences
- cases which may trigger a review of previously finalised cases i.e. where something which has arisen in a prosecution means post-conviction disclosure falls to be considered in relation to other cases
- any case in which there will be a public inquiry, review by a public body or inquest
- any case where the DLS asks to be notified prior to a decision being communicated
Cases dealt with by CPS Direct are subject to their own agreed approval arrangements for CCP, DCCP and SDCP grades.
The following cases must be referred to the CCP for prior approval of a decision to charge and consultation on subsequent decisions which terminate proceedings or substantially alter the charge. Where it was not possible to obtain approval, such as a threshold test decision, approval should be sought from a CCP within 7 days of charge. These arrangements do not apply to CPSD.
- where it is proposed to charge riot, see Public Order Offences
- any case involving the prosecution of a person raising diplomatic immunity, see Diplomatic Immunity and Diplomatic Premises
The following cases must be referred to the CCP for prior approval of a decision to charge or NFA and consultation on subsequent decisions which terminate proceedings or substantially alter the charge. Where it was not possible to obtain approval, such as a threshold test decision, approval should be sought from a CCP within 7 days of charge. These arrangements do not apply to CPSD.
- any sexual allegation case where both suspect and victim are under 13 years old at the time of the alleged offence, see Rape and Sexual Offences
- all allegations of rape involving conditional consent, see Rape and Sexual Offences
- all allegations of reckless or intentional transmission of a sexually transmitted disease
- all decisions to charge perverting the course of justice arising from a false allegation of rape or other sexual offence or domestic abuse, see Perverting the Course of Justice and Wasting Police Time in Cases involving Allegedly False Allegations of Rape and/or Domestic Abuse
- all communication offences which are directed towards an MP or other person of public prominence, and any decision to charge grossly offensive communications, see Social Media and Other Electronic Communications
The following cases require the CCP approval prior to communicating any decision:
- a decision whether to have a second re-trial or not, see Re-trials
- a decision to make an application for a non-jury trial under section 44 Criminal Justice Act 2003, see Non-Jury Trials and any decision to appeal against a refusal from the Court.
- all decisions to apply for a transfer of proceedings
- a decision in case in which the prosecutor wishes to apply for consent from a High Court judge to prefer a Voluntary Bill of Indictment, see Indictment Drafting
any decision in a case involving applications to the Home Office for Resident Informant Status, see Covert Human Intelligence Sources
The following matters require CCP approval prior to the submission of a report or response to a request:
- any report being submitted to a Domestic Homicide Review
- any Statutory Inquiry (or similar) in which the CPS is under a duty to assist
The following matters must be referred to DCCP or above for prior approval:
The following cases must be referred to the DCCP or above for approval of a decision to charge and consultation on subsequent decisions which terminate proceedings or substantially alter the charge. Where it was not possible to obtain approval, such as a threshold test decision, approval should be sought from a DCCP within 7 days of charge. These arrangements do not apply to CPSD.
- any cases where Attorney General's consent (or similar e.g. Secretary of State) is sought for charges, see Consents to Prosecute
- cases involving allegations of sexual offences committed abroad where the suspect or victim are outside of England & Wales during the commission of the offence
The following cases must be referred to the DCCP for prior approval of a decision to charge or NFA and consultation on subsequent decisions which terminate proceedings or substantially alter the charge. Where it was not possible to obtain approval, such as a threshold test decision, approval should be sought from a DCCP within 7 days of charge. These arrangements do not apply to CPSD.
- all fatal road traffic collision charging decisions, see Road Traffic - Fatal Offences and Bad Driving
- all road traffic offences by members of the police, ambulance or fire services whilst on duty seeRoad Traffic - Fatal Offences and Bad Driving
- all cases involving misconduct in public office, see Misconduct in Public Office
- cases where the reinstitution of proceedings or commencement of proceedings is being considered where the CPS has previously told the suspect that there will not be a prosecution, and any subsequent termination of those proceedings or substantial alteration of charge, see Decision Making - Reconsidering a Prosecution Decision
- cases where the reinstitution of proceedings or commencement of proceedings is being considered where there has been a request for VRR in a RASSO case, and any subsequent termination of those proceedings or substantial alteration of charge, see Rape and Sexual Offences
- any cases involving breaches of reporting restrictions under the Sexual Offences Amendment Act 1992 or for those under 18
- any offence by a solicitor representing a client
The following cases require the DCCP approval prior to communicating any decision:
- any proposal to offer no evidence in a rape or serious sexual offence case other than on the basis of victim withdrawal of support for the prosecution
- cases involving applications to the Attorney General for Nolle Prosequi, see Termination of Proceedings(including Discontinuance)
- any authority to issue a conditional caution in a domestic abuse case
- a decision to intervene (whether to take over and continue, or take over and stop) or not intervene in a non-CPS prosecution, see Private Prosecutions
- any police request for designation that a case is “exceptionally complex” and pre-charge bail for up to 12 months is merited under s.47ZE PACE, see Bail
- proposed disclosure of a charging decision, see Disclosure of Material to Third Parties
The following cases require DCCP approval before any submission of a briefing note, report or application is completed or referral to another Unit:
- where notification to Private Office or DLS is required, the briefing note must be sent up with the DCCP’s approval (see above for the full list in section titled ‘Notification of cases to Private Office’), including cases where the DPP’s personal consent is required e.g. bribery, double jeopardy – see the Consents to Prosecute guidance
- any case in which an Unduly Lenient sentence reports is required, see Unduly Lenient Sentences
- any case where there is an appeal to the Court of Appeal, see Appeals to the Court of Appeal
- any case to be referred to the Extradition Unit, this includes those where a nationality bar is likely to be raised, see extradition guidance
- a proposed application for a Serious Crime Prevention Order
- PACE applications for special procedure material and, whether obtained by production order or otherwise, cases involving journalistic material as defined by PACE
The DCCP or above also has responsibility for preserving records in the following cases:
- Criminal Cases Review Commission to the Court of Appeal, see Appeals CCRC
The following cases should be notified to the DCCP or above prior to communicating any decision:
- cases that may raise national media interest
- where the judge has directed an investigation be considered by the police for contempt of court proceedings and cases where the Law Officers have been asked to consider contempt proceedings in any case where the CPS is a party, see Contempt of Court Reporting Restrictions on Public Access to Hearings
- cases where an employee is a witness or victim and which may need to be handled by another CPS Area should be agreed between DCCPs and approved by the Area that the case is going to, see Witness Statements from CPS Employees
- liaison with Reviews – see Inquiries and Reviews – and coroners – see Coroners
The following cases require SDCP or Head of Unit approval before the submission of any application or letter is completed:
- any communications with other jurisdictions, in particular Letters of Request
- any applications or requests for disclosure to and from the family court, see Domestic Abuse and Disclosure Manual
- any case in which permission to interview a defence witness after they have given evidence to ensure compliance with the Code of Practice – see interviewing witnesses prosecution guidance – handling defence requests to interview prosecution witnesses and process for interviewing defence witnesses
- any witness anonymity applications to be approved by the Head of the CCU. See witness anonymity prosecution guidance
HQ Press Office must be advised as early as possible of any case which has any potential for attracting national media interest – for either positive or negative reasons. As much detail as possible should be provided for handling plans to be prepared, cleared at the appropriate level, and put into place. Press Office must also be notified of any case in which a media organisation is, or may become, a party to proceedings, including where material is being sought from such an organisation or such an organisation is making representations about reporting restrictions or the release of material. Press Office will deal with any media handling issues and will provide advice on these but cannot lead on legal issues.