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Prior to 1986 prosecutions by the State were normally conducted
by the Police. This led to criticism of bias and it was thought that
prosecutions and the investigation of crime should be conducted
The CPS was established by the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985
and began operating in 1986.
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Slide 3

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The head of the CPS is the Director of the Public Prosecutions
(DPP) who must have been qualified as a lawyer for at least 10
years. The current DPP is Keir Starmer.
The DPP is appointed by, and is subject to supervision by, the
Attorney-General, currently Dominic Greeve.
Below the DPP are the Chief Crown Prosecutors who each head one
of the 42 areas into which the country is divided up.
Each area is sub divided into branches, each of which is headed by a
Branch Crown Prosecutor. Within the branches there are several
lawyers and support staff, who are organised into teams and given
responsibility for cases.
Organisation of the CPS
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Slide 4

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Deciding on what offence(s) should be charged. This used to be done by
the police, but sometimes inappropriate charges were brought.
Reviewing all cases passed to them by the police to see if there is
sufficient evidence for a case to proceed, and whether it is in the public
interest to do so; this is to avoid weak cases being brought to court.
Being responsible for the case after it has been passed to them by the
Conducting the prosecution of cases in the Magistrates' Court, this is
usually done by the lawyers working in the CPS.
Conducting cases in the Crown Court.
Once a D has been charged or summonsed with an offence the Police
must send the papers for each case to the CPS.
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Slide 5

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Once papers are received, the CPS is under a duty to
review the case to see if the prosecution should
continue. There have been criticisms over the no. of
cases the CPS has discontinued.
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The two main factors are the `evidence' test and the
`public interest test.' The first is concerned whether
there is sufficient evidence to provide `a realistic
prospect of conviction' in the case.
Under this the CPS has to consider what the strength of
the evidence is, and whether magistrates or a jury are
more likely than not to convict.
It will ask itself whether the evidence is admissible,
whether a witness's background may weaken the case,
and how strong the evidence of identification of the
defendant is.
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