Private Prosecutions

Private Prosecutions

Our Motoring, Crime and Regulatory Team is experienced at conducting Private Prosecutions on behalf of businesses and organisations who may have suffered crime at the hands of others

Private prosecutions can be a powerful and effective remedy for organisations and companies who have suffered commercial loss due to fraud, counterfeiting, trademark infringement or other business related crime. Instigating proceedings privately may allow you to influence the direction of the prosecution in a timely fashion rather than depend on state prosecution agencies that have experienced cuts in resources to tackle such areas. 

What is a Private Prosecution?

A private prosecution is a prosecution started by a private individual, or entity who/which is not acting on behalf of the police or other prosecuting authority. A private prosecution brings the offender before the court to face justice in the same way that a prosecution by the police and CPS. The right of individuals or companies to bring a private prosecution is preserved by section 6(1) of the Prosecution of Offenders Act 1980. 

Advantages of a Criminal Prosecution

There are numerous advantages to instigating a private prosecution compared to civil litigation. Convictions may result in prison sentences, significant financial penalties and the confiscation of criminal proceeds and assets. Criminal courts can order compensation and disqualify individuals from acting as company directors. This provides a powerful deterrent to others in the future. 

There are also distinct advantages from a legal costs perspective. Private prosecutors may recover investigation and legal costs from central funds even in cases where the defendant is found not guilty. Costs recovery is not dependent on the means of the defendant because they are paid from government central funds. Provided the proceedings have been conducted in good faith, private prosecutors are generally not required to pay the defendant's costs in the event that they are acquitted. Furthermore there are no court fees for commencing a private prosecution. 

We offer representation and advice to businesses who are contemplating a private prosecution. We are able to advise at the outset of your options and the prospects of success, the work we will be able to do for you and the likely costs.

For more information on private prosecutions and how we can help you, please contact our Motoring, Crime and Regulatory Team on 01279 755777 or get in touch with Dan Hart, Solicitor Advocate in our Motoring, Crime and Regulatory Team.

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