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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 81451 Find in a Library
Title: Criminal Prosecution in England - Evolution and Change
Journal: Connecticut Law Review  Volume:14  Issue:1  Dated:(Fall 1981)  Pages:23-39
Author(s): G F Cole; A Sanders
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 17
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: England's prosecution system is described, and changes in the past decade are evaluated.
Abstract: The characteristic that distinguishes England's criminal justice system from those of most countries is the absence of a designated public official with exclusive responsibility for bringing prosecutions. Except for the limited jurisdiction of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the decision to prosecute is the primary resonsibility of the police, who act, in theory, as private citizens. The English courts have ruled that police officials cannot be forced to bring a prosecution and that any citizen may institute criminal proceedings against another. Reform of the English prosecution system has been urged from time to time for over 100 years. Although various schemes have been proposed, all embrace the underlying principle that prosecution should be separated from the police and placed under an independent public official. Several important changes have occurred in the English prosecution system during the past decade. The two most significant developments have been an increase in the formation of separate prosecuting solicitor's departments within the police authorities and a decrease in the number of police acting as prosecutors in the courtroom. Some of the prosecuting solicitor's departments have evolved to the point where, on an informal basis, they enjoy a significant degree of autonomy from the police in the decision to prosecute. The 1981 recommendations of the Royal Commission on Criminal Procedure have formalized this evolutionary process which in many ways is developing into a system of public prosecution. Implementation of the Commission's recommendations through Home Office and Parliamentary actions will undoubtedly be influenced by public attitudes, cost, and the expected impact of the reform on other parts of the criminal justice system. A total of 66 footnotes are listed.
Index Term(s): England; Police prosecutor relations; Prosecution
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