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The Role of The Crown Prosecution Service

The Crown Prosecution Service is the government department responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales.

As the principal prosecuting authority in England and Wales, we are responsible for:

  • advising the police on cases for possible prosecution
  • reviewing cases submitted by the police
  • determining any charges in more serious or complex cases
  • preparing cases for court
  • presenting cases at court

Find out more about the role of the Crown Prosecution Service

"Honour crimes" and forced marriage

What is a so-called 'honour' crime?

So-called 'honour based violence' is a crime or incident, which has or may have been committed to protect or defend the honour of the family and/or community.

'So-called Honour Crime' is a fundamental abuse of Human Rights.

There is no honour in the commission of murder, rape, kidnap and the many other acts, behaviour and conduct which make up 'violence in the name of so-called honour'.

The simplicity of the above definition is not intended in any way to minimise the levels of violence, harm and hurt caused by such acts.

(definition used by the Metropolitan Police Working Group on honour based violence)

What is a forced marriage?

In a forced marriage you are coerced into marrying someone against your will. You may be physically threatened or emotionally blackmailed to do so. It is an abuse of human rights and cannot be justified on any religious or cultural basis.

It’s not the same as an arranged marriage where you have a choice as to whether to accept the arrangement or not. The tradition of arranged marriages has operated successfully within many communities and countries for a very long time.

(Definition from the Foreign and Commonwealth office)

Both 'honour crimes' and forced marriage are forms of domestic violence.

Forced Marriage (civil protection) Act 2007 came into force on 25th November 2008

Recommendations on future work on forced marriage and so-called 'honour' crime

CPS pilot on forced marriage and so-called ‘honour’ crime – findings

Policy for prosecuting domestic violence

Mirror readers vote CPS lawyer top for honour crime work


CPS lawyer Nazir Afzal today topped a Daily Mirror readers' poll, to win the People's Award, for his work in highlighting the issue of so-called honour crimes, where Asian women have been killed by members of their own families if they are judged to have brought shame by not marrying the man chosen for them.

Accepting the award, Nazir said: I am thrilled by this award. This is recognition, not just of my efforts, but of dozens of people in CPS London who support this work and recognise how important it is that victims and wintesses have our confidence and trust us to provide the best possible service.

Nazir is Director of the Crown Prosecution Service London West and the national lead on honour crimes and London lead on hate crime. He is the most senior Muslim lawyer in government service. He was recently selected as one of the 100 most influential UK Muslims in the Muslim Power List and was awarded an OBE in 2004.

He first recognised the need to engage with the Muslim community and other faith communities in a more structured way a year before the attacks of July 2005. The work continues to this day and is demonstrated by his invitation to join the National Muslim Safety Forum to represent the CPS, his becoming a Commissioner of the Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia, and being the founding trustee of the Centre for Muslim Affairs. All of these activities are intended to boost public confidence in the Criminal Justice Service and are often carried out in his own time.

He has also worked closely with the Hindu Forum of Great Britain and the Sikh community in West London (the largest in the UK) to develop a dialogue over issues of concern for them.

  1. Media enquiries to CPS Press Office on 020 7710 6088.
  2. The Peoples Award was presented to Nazir by Fiona Bruce at the Justice Awards ceremony on Monday 5 November 2005 at the Merchant Taylors Hall in Threadneedle Street, City of London. The Justice Awards is a national scheme to recognise the diverse work done by those working within the Criminal Justice System (CJS). Further information and a list of finalists and winners can be found at
  3. It marks the start of Inside Justice Week, a chance to see behind the scenes of the Criminal Justice System. Events are taking place across England and Wales including mock trials and open days at courts and police stations. For more details, go to