Private Prosecution Cases are on the Rise in the UK; Code Aims to Ensure Fairness and Integrity Standards


LONDON, ENGLAND [21 January, 2019] – The Private Prosecutors’ Association (PPA) today launched a public consultation on the first draft of its newly developed Code for Private Prosecutors. The Draft Code is available on its website and comments are invited from anyone with an interest in private prosecutions, including professionals operating in the legal, forensic accounting, fraud investigation and law enforcement specialisms as well as academics and other interested parties. The consultation will run from today up to 6 March 2019 and the final version of the Code is expected to be released in mid-2019.

Private prosecutions allow individuals, businesses or organisations who have been the victims of crime to pursue justice in the criminal courts by bringing a criminal case themselves, without the involvement of law enforcement agencies.  In many cases, a private prosecution will be commenced, prepared and carried out by an external party such as a law firm, accountancy firm or private investigative firm. The Code is intended to provide guidelines and answer questions for any “private prosecutor” commencing a prosecution. 

“In the current climate of ongoing budgetary constraints in the public sector, we are increasingly seeing individuals and businesses expressing interest in private prosecutions as an alternative way to achieve justice,” said Hannah Laming, chair of the PPA and partner at Peters & Peters Solicitors. “The aim of the Code for Private Prosecutors is to provide a benchmark for bringing private prosecutions and to promote best practice amongst practitioners.”

“The goal of the Code is to increase public confidence, protect both victims and defendants from prejudice, and facilitate proper scrutiny of the ethical issues unique to this type of prosecution. We look forward to collecting feedback from the leading voices across the specialisms that touch private prosecutions and ensuring that the code delivers on its mission and is utilised by private prosecutors now and into the future,” addedAnnabel Kerley, vice chair of the PPA and a partner at StoneTurn.

Since being established in September 2017, the PPA has grown to include more than 140 members. The Code has been developed by 11 working groups of PPA members, alongside Professor Peter Hungerford-Welch, acting editor-in-chief of the Code. The working groups are made up of representatives from 30 different specialist law firms, chambers, forensic accountants, private investigators, ex-law enforcement, charities and industry bodies. Chapters of the Code provide guidance on topics including client engagement, investigations, disclosure, the interaction between civil and criminal proceedings and communication with the media.

The Draft Code is available on the PPA website,https://private-prosecutions.com/consultation-questions/, alongside the Consultation form. Instructions for completion of the Consultation are available on the website. It must be submitted through the PPA website, but answers can be saved and edited before final submission. The deadline for submitting responses is 17:00 on 6 March 2019.

About the Private Prosecutors’ Association (PPA)

Established in September 2017, the PPA aims to develop best practice amongst private prosecutors, raise public awareness of the use of private prosecutions and advance the education of its members in this area of the practice. It seeks to inform the public as to what is expected of private prosecutors and encourage public confidence in the integrity of prosecutions. The PPA also provides a forum for discussion, the opportunity to make collective representations on important issues as well as networking and educational events for members and non-members. Further details can be obtained at the association’s website at

www.private-prosecutions.com.

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