In England and Wales an act of parliament, the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985, (which lead directly to the creation of the Crown Prosecution Service) presented the right of individuals and businesses to bring private prosecutions, the popularity of such actions has grown considerably in the UK in recent years.
Exchange Chambers’ dedicated team of Queen’s Counsel and Senior Junior Counsel is, ‘ideally placed’, they say to deliver the expert legal representation and advice private prosecutions necessitate.
Jonathan I’Anson, chief executive at Exchange Chambers, said, “Private prosecutions are becoming increasingly commonplace as businesses seek to achieve justice, and recoup their losses in a cost effective and efficient way. It is a growth area and presents particular challenges both for the prosecution and defence. Corporations and individuals may wish to bring prosecutions independently but may also find themselves the target of ill-founded or malicious private prosecutions.”
According to senior clerk at Exchange Chambers, Nick Buckley, the rise in the number of private prosecutions has come about due to budget cuts in the police service, Serious Fraud Office, Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and various other prosecuting authorities throughout the years of austerity brought in by the Conservatives.
He explained: “The recent guidance issued by the Crown Prosecution Service as to how decisions on charging alleged offenders are to be made and the stark fact that economic crime appears to be being moved further down the ladder of importance only serves to enhance this point. The message to businesses is clear – If the police or the prosecuting agencies decide not to pursue a case, then there are still methods for achieving justice. The right to privately prosecute empowers businesses and allows them to pursue efficient, effective, practical and draconian remedies against the offender.”