The principles we follow
The Code for Crown Prosecutors sets out the basic principles to be followed by Crown Prosecutors when they make case decisions. The decision on whether or not to charge a case against a suspect is based on the Full Code Test as outlined in the Code. The Full Code Test has two stages:
The evidential stage
This is the first stage in the decision to prosecute. Crown Prosecutors must be satisfied that there is enough evidence to provide a "realistic prospect of conviction" against each defendant on each charge. They must consider whether the evidence can be used and is reliable. They must also consider what the defence case may be and how that is likely to affect the prosecution case.
A "realistic prospect of conviction" is an objective test. It means that a jury or a bench of magistrates, properly directed in accordance with the law, will be more likely than not to convict the defendant of the charge alleged. (This is a separate test from the one that criminal courts themselves must apply. A jury or magistrates' court should only convict if it is sure of a defendant's guilt.) If the case does not pass the evidential stage, it must not go ahead, no matter how important or serious it may be.
The public interest stage
If the case does pass the evidential stage, Crown Prosecutors must then decide whether a prosecution is needed in the public interest. They must balance factors for and against prosecution carefully and fairly. Some factors may increase the need to prosecute but others may suggest that another course of action would be better.
A prosecution will usually take place however, unless there are public interest factors tending against prosecution which clearly outweigh those tending in favour. The CPS will only start or continue a prosecution if a case has passed both stages.
We will be independent and fair
We will prosecute independently, without bias and will seek to deliver justice in every case.
We will be honest and open
We will explain our decisions, set clear standards about the service the public can expect from us and be honest if we make a mistake.
We will treat everyone with respect
We will respect each other, our colleagues and the public we serve, recognising that there are people behind every case.
We will behave professionally and strive for excellence
We will work as one team, always seeking new and better ways to deliver the best possible service for the public. We will be efficient and responsible with tax-payers' money.
Equality and inclusion
The CPS commitment to inclusion and equality is at the heart of how we work. It is important to us both as an employer and in the way we approach our responsibilities as a prosecuting authority. The two are closely linked - supporting a diverse workforce allows us to provide a better service to the public.
We also value the insight we get from engaging directly with the communities we serve, who provide welcome scrutiny of our work. This inclusive approach means that:
- Effective community engagement builds greater trust with the public victim and witness satisfaction, and better informed prosecution policy and practice.
- The CPS has an inclusive culture, reflected in a diverse workforce, locally and nationally, and at all levels of the organisation
- By opening up the CPS and acting on input from diverse communities, we aim to inspire greater confidence in the CPS, in particular from witnesses and victims, resulting in improved prosecution outcomes.
The Equality Act 2010 underpins the way we work; data is available in the Publications section of this website.
We have published our CPS 2020 inclusion and community engagement strategy, which sets out our ambition to build on strong foundations, making sure we continue to lead the way on promoting fairness, equality, diversity and inclusion across the criminal justice system.
Around 6,000 people work for the Crown Prosecution Service, across England and Wales in a variety of roles. Almost half our employees are lawyers, who are responsible for deciding whether to prosecute cases, and represent the Crown in many hearings in the courts. The rest work to assist prosecutors preparing cases for court, or in other professions including operational delivery, finance, human resources, communications and digital and technology services.
Director of Public Prosecutions
Stephen Parkinson is the Director of Public Prosecutions. He was appointed by the Attorney General and took up post on 1 November 2023.
Stephen studied law at University College London, before qualifying as a barrister in 1980 and as a solicitor in 2005.
He began his legal career in 1984 as a junior prosecutor at the Department of the Director of Public Prosecutions, which became the CPS in 1986. He progressed to Assistant Branch Crown Prosecutor roles and later established and led the CPS’ International Co-operation Unit.
Stephen subsequently held roles across Government, including positions in the Treasury Solicitor’s Department, where he was responsible for most of the Government’s regulatory litigation, and the Department of Trade and Industry, where he headed a team providing legal advice in live company investigations. For four years from 1999, Stephen was Deputy Head of the Attorney General’s Office.
For the past 20 years, Stephen has been a practising defence lawyer. He became Head of Criminal Practice at the law firm Kingsley Napley in 2006, going on to become Senior Partner at the firm in 2018. Representing a range of clients, Stephen developed an extensive practice advising on, or undertaking, investigations for organisations, companies, and individuals.
The CPS Board
The CPS Board provides strategic leadership and is collectively responsible for delivering our organisational objectives. It plays a key role in ensuring that the organisation is equipped to provide a professional, efficient and high quality service.
The CPS Board is chaired by Monica Burch, the lead non-executive Board member.
Monica Burch - Lead Non-executive Board Member and Chair
Monica has had a long and distinguished legal career, retiring as chair and senior partner at Addleshaw Goddard LLP in 2016. As a lawyer, she practised in the fields of commercial litigation and international arbitration, advising on a wide range of claims in a number of jurisdictions. In 2010, Monica was appointed a Recorder of civil cases.
In addition to Chairing the CPS Board, Monica sits on the Nominations, Leadership and Remuneration Committee. She is also a non-executive director at Lloyds underwriter Ark Syndicate Management Limited and at Argenta Private Capital Limited, a Non-Executive Director of law firm Shoosmiths LLP and a member of the Advisory Council of The Mentoring Foundation, a not-for-profit foundation assisting women to reach the top of large organisations.
Stephen Parkinson, DPP
Stephen Parkinson is the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Simon Jeffreys - Non-executive Board Member
Simon was the former Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer at The Wellcome Trust, and Chief Administrative Officer at Fidelity International. For most of his professional life he was a senior audit partner at PwC, leading the firm’s Investment Management and Real Estate practice globally.
Simon is the Chair of the CPS Audit and Risk Assurance Committee. Outside of the CPS he chairs the boards of Aon UK and Henderson International Income Trust.
Dr Subo Shanmuganathan - Non-executive Board Member
Subo trained as a research scientist, completing her PhD in Clinical Immunovirology at Imperial College London. She has held senior executive roles in the public and not-for-profit sectors as well as in a social enterprise and brings management and leadership experience from a 25-year career building and transforming organisations.
Subo has been a Trustee of three charities working in international development and education. She is also a Non-Executive Director for Southeast Coast Ambulance NHS Foundation Trust and Bromley Healthcare CIC using her clinical and education background to support the delivery of emergency, urgent and community care.
She is a trained senior leadership coach and mentor and has been a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy for 21 years.
Kathryn Stone - Non-executive Board Member
Kathryn has spent more than 40 years of her career in public service. In 2007 she was awarded an OBE for services to people with learning disabilities whilst Chief Executive of national charity Voice UK.
Appointed as the Commissioner for the Victims and Survivors in Northern Ireland in 2012, she gave a voice to the victims of the Troubles and oversaw the transformation of services for their support.
In 2014, she became a Commissioner for the Independent Police Complaints Commission, with responsibility for seven police forces in the Midlands and the North.
In 2016, Kathryn took up the role of Chief Legal Ombudsman of England and Wales.
Since January 2018 Kathryn has been the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, an independent officer of the House of Commons. In September 2022 Kathryn was appointed as Chair of the Bar Standards Board.
CPS senior leadership
The role of the non-executive Board Members is to provide external perspective, challenge and advice on matters referred to the Board.
CPS senior leadership
Tristan Bradshaw - Director of Operational Change and Delivery (Interim)
As the Director of Operational Change and Delivery Tristan has responsibility for the performance and continuous improvement of operations across the CPS. He leads our Operations Directorate which has the responsibility for operational change, court business, performance management, operational compliance and assurance, legal and operational training, continuous improvement and operational effectiveness.
He is also the CPS Head of Profession for Operational Delivery and leads the Business Delivery Group.
Tristan has worked for the CPS for most of his career in a range of roles across Operational Units, CPS national headquarters, as part of a CJS multi-agency project team, as a Senior Business Manager in CPS London, as the Area Business Manager for CPS West Midlands, and Deputy Director of Operational Delivery.
Dawn Brodrick - Chief People Officer
Prior to joining the CPS Dawn spent five years as Chief People Office at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. She was previously the Director of People for the Department of Communities and Local Government, and has held a variety of senior roles at HM Revenue and Customs and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
Dawn began her career on the frontline of DWP and held operational roles across London, including managing and leading Jobcentre operations.
She holds a masters in Strategic Human Resource Management and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). In 2015, Dawn received a CB in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to the public sector.
Mike Browne - Director of Communications (Interim)
Mike was Director of Communications for The Law Society for six years.
He also brings communications leadership experience from a range of organisations including the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, the Health Foundation and the General Dental Council.
He was made a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations in 2022 and has chaired its Professional Practices Committee.
Steve Buckingham - Chief Finance Officer
Steve is the Chief Finance Officer (CFO) of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) taking up post in May 2021.
He is a member of the CPS Executive Group (EG) and Chair of the CPS Investment Committee (IC) and is also an independent member of the Royal Navy (RN) Audit Committee.
Steve has held senior financial and commercial posts across government at DWP, The Child Maintenance & Enforcement Commission and Jobcentre Plus.
Steve began his career working for the BT Group Plc where he qualified as a Chartered Global Management Accountant.
Matthew Cain - Chief Digital and Information Officer (Interim)
Matthew joined the CPS in 2022 and leads the Digital and Information Directorate.
As Chief Digital and Information Officer, Matthew is the executive group member responsible for all the organisation’s technology, digital transformation, security, and information management. His focus is on building user-centred teams with security at the heart of everything we do.
Matthew previously built an award-winning customer services, digital and data team in the London Borough of Hackney. He co-founded a social media research agency providing services to global brands. He has also served as a trustee of a national arts organisation.
Gregor McGill - Director of Legal Services
Gregor McGill qualified as a solicitor in 1987. In 2002, Gregor joined HM Customs & Excise as a senior lawyer. In 2006, Gregor was appointed Head of the Serious Organised Crime Division at Revenue and Customs Prosecution Office (RCPO).
In 2009, Gregor was appointed Head of the Fraud Prosecution Division and in 2010 as a Legal Director in CPS London.
Gregor was appointed Head of the Organised Crime Division in the CPS in August 2012 and worked closely with the National Crime Agency. Gregor took up his role as Director of Legal Services at the CPS in January 2016.
Grace Ononiwu - Director of Legal Services
Grace Ononiwu was appointed as Director of Legal Services within the Crown Prosecution Service in April 2021.
Grace qualified as a solicitor in 1991 and joined a private firm of solicitors practising criminal law.
She joined the CPS as a Crown Prosecutor and held a number of positions, which led to her appointment as Northamptonshire Chief Crown Prosecutor in April 2005, making her the first African Caribbean to be appointed as a Chief Crown Prosecutor in the history of the CPS.
In 2012, she was appointed Chief Crown Prosecutor for the East of England Region, and in 2014 appointed Chief Crown Prosecutor of the West Midlands Region, making her the first woman and first Black person to hold both posts. In the 2019 Queen’s Birthday Honours, Grace was awarded the Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to Law and Order.
Baljit Ubhey - Director of Strategy and Policy
Baljit Ubhey joined the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) as a legal trainee in 1992 later qualifying as a prosecutor in London. Baljit has since held many roles including Chief Crown Prosecutor of CPS London.
In January 2017, Baljit was appointed as the Director of Prosecution Policy & Inclusion, leading a policy team within the CPS’ operations directorate whilst leading on equality and inclusion across the service. In September 2019 Baljit became the Director of the Strategy and Policy Directorate.
In addition to her career with the CPS, Baljit has held a number of external roles such as non-executive director for BARTS and the Royal London Hospital and has worked with a number of charities.
Audit and Risk Assurance Committee
The Audit and Risk Assurance Committee is responsible for ensuring that the CPS Board and Accounting Officers gain the assurance they need on risk management, the control environment, the integrity of the financial statements and other elements of the Annual Report and Accounts. The Committee is chaired by a Non-Executive Board Member (NEBM). He is joined by a further NEBM and one independent member. The Committee meets four times a year.
Current members of the Committee:
- Simon Jeffreys (Chair)
- Stephen Parkinson (DPP)
- Michael Dunn
- Deborah Harris
- Dr Subo Shanmuganathan
Independent Member of the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee
Michael is currently a Non-Executive Director, Audit Chair and Senior Independent Director of London & Continental Railways Limited (LCR Properties) which works between the public and private sectors to develop housing projects with transport elements. He is also Non-Executive Director and Senior Independent Director of Storm Housing Group. He has previously served as Non-executive and Chair of Audit and Risk on the board of the Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing Association and as Non-Executive Chair of Metworks.
A Chartered Accountant with senior finance and risk experience in property, construction, treasury, regulated businesses and investor relations, he was formerly Chief Financial Officer of the regeneration specialist St Modwen Properties plc and of the support service provider May Gurney Integrated Services plc.
Michael joined the Crown Prosecution Service Audit and Risk Committee in November 2021.
Deborah Harris FCA
Deborah is a member of the Audit & Risk Assurance Committee and an experienced non-executive.
Outside of the CPS, Deborah is a Director and Chair of the Risk & Audit committee for Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance and a Trustee and Chair of the Risk, Audit & Compliance Committee for The Children’s Society, a national charity.
Deborah is also the founding Chair of the women empowerment network Lean In UK and is currently Deputy President of the London Society of Chartered Accountants, and a Council member of the ICAEW.
Nominations, Leadership and Remuneration Committee
Nominations, Leadership and Remuneration Committee (NLRC) is responsible for advising the CPS Board on key elements of effectiveness linked to organisational culture and leadership strategies, including ensuring that there are robust systems in place to identify and develop senior leaders from diverse talent pools, draw up appropriate workforce and succession plans and scrutinise incentive structures. The membership of NLRC includes the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Chief Executive and two Non-Executive Board Members, with the Chief People Officer being a required attendee. The Committee meets four times a year.
Current members of the Committee
- Kathryn Stone (Chair)
- Stephen Parkinson
- Monica Burch
Ministerial Strategic Board
The Ministerial Strategic Board (MSB) is a joint CPS/Attorney General’s Office Board. It was formed in March 2019 as part of the CPS/AGO Framework. The Framework was updated in December 2020. The MSB’s overarching aim is to oversee the strategic direction for the CPS and jointly hold the CPS to account for the delivery of its strategic objectives. The MSB is chaired by the Attorney General. Membership comprises the Solicitor General, Director of Public Prosecutions, the CPS Chief Executive, the CPS Lead Non-Executive Board Member and the Director-General of the AGO. They meet four times a year. The minutes from this meeting can be found on the Attorney General’s Office website.
Specialist Casework Divisions and CPS Proceeds of Crime
Our Central Casework Divisions deal with some of the most complex cases we prosecute. They work closely with specialist investigators from a range of organisations, including the National Crime Agency, HM Revenue & Customs and the Independent Police Complaints Commission, as well as police forces across England and Wales.
The specialist divisions, each headed by a Head of Division (equivalent to a Chief Crown Prosecutor), are:
Your local CPS
The CPS operates across England and Wales, with 14 regional teams prosecuting cases locally.
Each of these 14 CPS Areas is headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor, and works closely with local police forces and other criminal justice partners.
Find out who’s who in your area, and read more about local cases.
Find out about your area