Private prosecutions

As a result of a combination of financial restraints and over-demand on the public purse, in recent years there is a marked trend and heightened consciousness towards private prosecutions being brought by members of the public, whether individuals or companies

A quick Google search for the term “private prosecution” will refer the prospective consumer to a whole host of firms offering their wares in this respect. Our esteemed former Prime Minister, has himself been subject to a crowd-funded private prosecution for Misconduct in a Public Office. Illustrious firms advertise their prowess in this field to their wealthy client base and are themselves the subject of adulatory articles in our newspapers – offering perhaps a solution to the perceived public funding gap.

There are of course serious reservations about this new market: what are the motives behind the prosecutions? Who is funding them? Will the incentive to comply with the onerous duties of candour as a “prosecutor” be outweighed by financial and personal incentives? Will we see a raft of vexatious prosecutions? These are all issues that have recently come to the fore in several high-profile cases.

Image of 2 open books and an ink pen

As a result, there is now some pushback against the trend. Misconduct in a Public Office, that vague, ill-defined and nebulous Napoleonic-era offence used so often in the past to bring prosecutions against anyone connected to public life has been the subject of a Law Commission recommendation that (aside from recommending clarifying the elements of the offence) calls for any prosecution to be subject to DPP consent. Such an imposition would of course take all future prosecutions of this kind away from the private prosecutor’s control.

In addition, early and vigorous challenges to the issue of the summonses in the Magistrates Court will serve at an early stage to scrutinise the various aspects of private prosecutions that give cause for concern and help to weed out improper conduct and vexatious prosecutions. Indeed, Janes Solicitors were recently instructed in a high-profile case where the summonses were withdrawn once it was challenged and the true nature of the prosecution became apparent.

Janes Solicitors have extensive and in-depth experience in representing clients who are the subject of or wish to bring private prosecutions. If you are considering bringing your own private prosecution or are the subject of charges or investigations being brought by a private prosecutor, please contact pour expert criminal defence lawyers for advice and assistance.

Contact an expert private prosecutions lawyer

Janes Solicitors provides bespoke specialist advice on all areas of serious and complex fraudregulatorytaxation and serious financial crime matters. With extensive experience in all areas of fraud and financial crime and a well-earned reputation as leaders in our field, our expert defence team take a proactive and pragmatic approach to legal advice and case strategy. We are committed to your successful outcome.  Janes Solicitors pride ourselves on our case tailored approach for each client in and our fearless commitment in each and every case we undertake.

If you or your business have concerns, are under suspicion or investigation or have been arrested or prosecuted for any serious fraud or financial crime offence, contact us today on 020 7930 5100, or via our online contact form.

David Janes | Partner

Head of Serious and Complex Fraud and Taxation
020 7930 5100 | Out of hours: 07789 622 430

James Mullion | Partner

020 7930 5100 | Out of hours: 07789 622 430

Need advice? Call us now.
020 7930 5100
Out of hours: 07789 622 430