Private prosecutions – What should victims do when the traditional law enforcement agencies fail to act?
In the current climate of austerity, the police and other traditional law enforcement agencies are increasingly unable to dedicate the time and resources that are required to investigate and launch successful criminal proceedings. Where such a hurdle is encountered private prosecutions provide an attractive alternative means to achieve justice.
Any individual, organisation, or business has the ability to pursue a private criminal prosecution in England and Wales. However, commencing and seeing through a private prosecution is not an action to be taken lightly. A prosecution that is badly managed can have a significant cost and reputational impact for the person concerned. For this reason it is important to seek advice from those with expertise in this field before embarking on a private prosecution.
The members of our private prosecution team are experienced criminal and regulatory lawyers. We understand the responsibilities of a prosecutor and the essential need for prosecutions to be fair and not to undermine public confidence in the integrity of the criminal justice process.
Private prosecutions can address a wide spectrum of criminal conduct. From charities and regulators who prosecute to address non-compliance with their regimes and to protect the interests of those on whose behalf they act, through to individuals or businesses that have suffered loss or harm at the hands of another.
We will advise you on how to best protect your reputation, your organisation or your business, and bring those responsible to account as swiftly and efficiently as possible. By involving us from the earliest stage we will advise you on what package of legal remedies is best suited to your particular needs. On some occasions commencing a private prosecution may be the only proportionate response but on others it may be more appropriate to facilitate the involvement of the police and other traditional law enforcement agencies to commence a public prosecution or to commence civil proceedings. We can help you with each option.
Our approach ensures that we will always seek out and deliver the solution to best meet your needs in the shortest timeframe and in the most cost effective way.
If you are considering bringing a private prosecution and would like to discuss your case and the options that are available to you, please contact Melinka Berridge.
Chambers UK, A Client's Guide to the UK Legal Profession, 2015
Partner and Head of Department
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