HC Deb 24 November 1999 vol 339 c105W
Dr. Starkey

To ask the Solicitor-General if he will make a statement regarding the Code for Crown Prosecutors. [99859]

The Solicitor-General

The Code for Crown Prosecutors is issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions as required by section 10 of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985. It is an important public document. It sets out the fundamental principles to be applied by Crown Prosecutors when deciding whether or not an individual should be prosecuted and, if a prosecution is to follow, what charges should be preferred. By applying the Code casework, decisions can be made fairly, consistently and independently. The current edition of the Code was published in June 1994.

Sir Iain Glidewell's review of the Crown Prosecution Service recommended an amendment of the Code for Crown Prosecutors. The current edition of the Code at paragraph 6.2 reads in part: In cases of any seriousness, a prosecution will usually take place unless there are public interest factors tending against prosecution which clearly outweigh those tending in favour.

The Glidewell report concluded that the Code test should be applied in the same way to all cases, whatever their degree of seriousness. The report was concerned that the Code as drafted, if read literally, might incorrectly result in the Code being applied differently to cases which are not so serious. The Glidewell report therefore recommended that the words In cases of any seriousness be removed from the relevant paragraph.

That recommendation has been accepted. On 26 August, the Crown Prosecution Service issued to CPS staff a notice putting that recommendation into immediate effect.

The Crown Prosecution Service, with appropriate consultation, is to review the Code for Crown Prosecutors to take account of the Human Rights Act 1998. Formal amendment to the Code, in accordance with the Glidewell recommendation, will be made when the Code is reissued after this review.