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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 91903 Find in a Library
Title: Prosecution System - Survey of Prosecuting Solicitors' Departments
Author(s): M Weatheritt; J MacNaughton
Corporate Author: Royal Cmssn on Criminal Procedure
United Kingdom
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 24
Sponsoring Agency: Crown Publishers, Inc
New York, NY 10022
Royal Cmssn on Criminal Procedure
London, SW1A 1DH, England
Sale Source: Crown Publishers, Inc
201 E. 50th Street
New York, NY 10022
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: A questionnaire survey of 30 chief prosecuting solicitors in England and Wales and chief police constables collected data on staff, relationships with local authorities, and types of prosecutions conducted in order to assess proposals extending the role and functions of the prosecuting solicitors' departments.
Abstract: While police in England and Wales have responsibility for prosecuting criminal offenses, many forces are able to draw on a prosecuting solicitors' office for legal advice and representation in court. The more common arrangement is a prosecuting solicitors' office responsible to and funded by the police authority, although some report to the county council. The survey found that many prosecuting solicitors' departments were quite large, averaging a staff of 20. Almost all chief prosecuting solicitors stated that their staff appeared for police as a matter of course in committals, difficult cases, and summary trials of indictable offenses. The majority also prosecuted all indictable cases and contested ones. Whether the department was responsible to the police or the council made little difference to staffing or number and types of prosecutions. Prosecuting solicitors generally implemented decisions taken by the police and rarely were asked for advice in the early stages of charging. Advice was usually confined to legal issues, although most occasionally advised on cautioning. Chief constables did not always accept their prosecuting solicitors' advice, but only in extreme circumstances did this lead to a solicitor's refusing to act. Most departments depended on a good working relationship with the police for their status and influence. Finally, private lawyers conducted only a minority of prosecutions, commonly where some criticism of police action was alleged, and were not used as a source of legal advice like their prosecuting solicitor counterparts. Footnotes are given.
Index Term(s): England; Prosecution by police; Prosecutors
Note: Research Study No. 11
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