HC Deb 06 May 1988 vol 132 c627W
Mr. Alex Carlile

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will place in the Library a copy of the manual of guidance issued to Crown prosecutors in England and Wales; and if he will make a statement as to the criteria upon which a decision to prosecute is based, as set out in the manual.

The Attorney-General

[pursuant to his reply, 22 April 1988, c. 574]: I have now had the opportunity of considering with the Director of Public Prosecutions whether it would be proper to place the manuals of guidance issued to Crown prosecutors in the Library. It is the view of both the Director and myself that such a course would be inappropriate.

The requirement in section 10 of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 to publish guidance for Crown prosecutors expressly refers to the general principles upon which certain key prosecution decisions are taken. As I stated in my answer of 22 April, those general principles are set out and illustrated in the code for Crown prosecutors. The terms of section 10 do not, in my view, require the Director to make available for inspection detailed internal guidance, instructions, and so on, issued to assist Crown prosecutors in the exercise of their duties and assembled for convenience in manual form.

Both the Director and I continue to recognise the need for the general principles of prosecution decision-making to be as open and easily understood as possible. With this objective in mind, the Director is considering whether, and, if so, to what extent, the existing published criteria might usefully be expanded.