In July, the House of Commons Justice Committee launched an inquiry to assess the sufficiency of safeguards surrounding the use of private prosecutions in the criminal justice system. The inquiry will focus on cases brought by large organisations against individuals when the organisation is also the alleged victim of the offence. Concerns relating to the use of private prosecutions include they being potentially motivated by commercial purposes, ulterior than to achieve justice in the criminal case, and whether they are conducted to the same procedural standard as those undertaken by the public prosecutor. JUSTICE answered the inquiry’s appeal for written evidence.
In our written submissions we outlined our concerns and made suggestions to safeguard the integrity of the process and assure fairness for those involved. Our submissions highlighted issues concerning the issuing of a summons, objectivity in the analysis of evidence, the fairness of costs orders, and the process for judicial review and appeal. We also recognise that for victims of crime, the route of private prosecution offers the opportunity to seek justice and should be preserved for those who need it.