The Criminal Justice System
The CPS works in partnership with the police, courts, the Home Office, the Ministry of Justice and other agencies throughout the Criminal Justice System.
For comprehensive information about the Criminal Justice System (CJS) please visit the GOV.UK website's Crime and Justice page.
Others in the Criminal Justice System
- The Law Officers
- The Ministry of Justice
- The Home Office
- The Serious Fraud Office
- The Courts
- The Police
- The National Offender Management Service
- Her Majesty's Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI)
The Attorney General fulfils the role of chief legal adviser to the government and superintends the principal prosecuting authorities within England and Wales. These are the Crown Prosecution Service and the Serious Fraud Office. The Attorney General also has overall responsibility for the Treasury Solicitor's Department, the National Fraud Authority and Her Majesty's Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate, and fulfils a number of independent public interest functions. The Attorney General for England and Wales also holds the office of Advocate General for Northern Ireland. For more information about the Law Officers go to www.gov.uk/government/organisations/attorney-generals-office.
The Ministry of Justice has responsibility for different parts of the justice system – the courts, prisons, probation services and attendance centres. Its work spans criminal, civil and family justice, democracy, rights and the constitution. For more information about the Ministry of Justice, go to www.gov.uk/government/organisations/ministry-of-justice
The Home Office is the lead government department for immigration and passports, drugs policy, crime, counter-terrorism and police. For more information about the Home Office go to www.gov.uk/government/organisations/home-office.
The Serious Fraud Office prosecutes serious or complex fraud, and corruption. For more information about the Serious Fraud Office go to www.sfo.gov.uk.
Provide administration of the civil, family and criminal courts in England and Wales.
Advocates representing the CPS prosecute the majority of the criminal cases that are heard within the magistrates' courts and the Crown Courts. Magistrates' courts deal with the less serious criminal offences. Youth courts are special magistrates' courts which deal with all but the most serious charges against people aged between 10 (the age of criminal responsibility) and under 18. Crown Courts deal with the most serious offences, which are triable by judge and jury. For more information about the courts go to www.justice.gov.uk/about/hmcts.
There are 43 police forces across England and Wales responsible for the investigation of crime, collection of evidence and the arrest or detention of suspected offenders. Once a suspect is held, in minor cases the police decide whether to caution them, take no further action, issue a fixed penalty notice or refer to the CPS for a conditional caution, or in the more serious cases, send the papers to the CPS to decide upon prosecution. For more information, go to your local police force website through the Police Services Portal at www.police.uk.
The National Offender Management Service provides administration of correctional services in England and Wales through Her Majesty's Prison Service and the Probation Service. Prison and probation services ensure the sentences of the courts are properly carried out and work with offenders to tackle the causes of their offending behaviour - www.justice.gov.uk/about/noms.
HMCPSI is an independent organisation that inspects and reports on the operations of The Crown Prosecution Service. For more information go to www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmcpsi/.