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Consultation on the Code for Crown Prosecutors 2018

Outcome of this consultation
Opening date:
Closing date:

Alison Saunders CB, the Director of Public Prosecutions, has today launched a consultation on a proposed new edition of the Code for Crown Prosecutors (the Code). The Code is used on a daily basis by prosecutors and the police when deciding whether or a not a suspect should be charged with a criminal offence.

The Code is periodically revised so that it reflects legal and social developments, as well as changes in prosecution policy and practice. The current edition of the Code was published in January 2013. The proposed revisions retain the style of the 2013 Code, which introduced a shorter, streamlined version, with an overarching statement of principles. Beneath the Code sits a body of legal guidance and policies, which provide further detailed assistance to prosecutors on specific offences and topics.


This is a summary of responses to the public consultation undertaken by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) on the revised Code for Crown Prosecutors (the Code). The proposed revisions were published on 23 July 2018 and consulted on for a period of eight weeks, ending 17 September 2018

Consultation closed

Consultation content

The main proposed revisions to the Code are:

  • Disclosure: This is included for the first time as part of Evidential Stage: when assessing whether there is sufficient evidence to charge, prosecutors must consider the potential impact of any other material.
  • Proceeds of Crime: Prosecutors are instructed to consider proceeds of crime at various stages of a case: when considering the public interest in charging a suspect; when selecting charges; when making submissions on court venue; and when considering a defendant’s offer of a plea.
  • The Threshold Test: This has been clarified and simplified, to ensure it is only applied when necessary. Review of the Threshold Test is to be carried out earlier, by the time the prosecution case is served. We have also extended the use of the Threshold Test to cases where it is not appropriate to apply the Evidential Stage of the Full Code Test, due to outstanding reasonable lines of enquiry.

Other proposed revisions to the Code include:

  • The Full Code Test (FCT) is to be applied in most cases after reasonable lines of enquiry have been pursued, unless the prosecutor is satisfied that any further evidence is unlikely to materially affect the application of the FCT. This strikes a balance between ensuring we do not charge cases prematurely and preventing unnecessary delays in charging.
  • The FCT decision may be postponed, or not made at all, if there is a failure by the police or other investigators to follow advice to pursue a line of enquiry or comply with a request for information.
  • Additions to the Public Interest section include:
    • A lower culpability level if the suspect has been compelled, coerced or exploited, particularly if the suspect is a victim of a linked crime.
    • The hate crime factors are expanded to include a suspect targeting or exploiting a victim, based on any of the stated characteristics.
    • Maturity: prosecutors are reminded that young adults will continue to mature into their mid-twenties.
    • There is a new paragraph on the independence of the prosecutor. Independence was key to the formation of the CPS and is still central to the way in which we work.
    • Guidance on the consideration to be given to any relevant prosecution or enforcement policy of other prosecutors or Government departments.
    • The approach to be taken where the law differs in England and Wales.
    • Some of the language has been updated, such as “court venue” instead of “mode of trial”, and “children and young people” instead of “youths”.

This is the eighth edition of the Code. You can read the proposed text here or download it as a PDF document. The seventh edition remains in effect and is available on the CPS website.

Questions for Consultation

In advance of its finalisation and implementation, we would welcome your views on four specific questions regarding the revised Code:

  • Question 1: Do you agree that when deciding whether there is sufficient evidence to prosecute, prosecutors should consider whether there is any other material that may affect the sufficiency of evidence?
  • Question 2: Do you have any views on the revised Threshold Test?
  • Question 3: Prosecutors are required to consider a suspect’s / defendant’s proceeds of crime when deciding whether to charge [4.14.b], when selecting charges [6.1.c], when making submissions on court venue [8.3] and when a defendant offers a plea [9.2]. Do you have any observations on these requirements?
  • Question 4: Do you have any further comments on the proposed revisions to the Code? Any comments that you have outside these questions are also welcome.

How to Respond

It would be helpful if you could give your feedback using our online form (see below) for ease of analysis.

You can also download a response form, complete it, and return it to by midnight on 17 September 2018. Please use the same form if you wish to submit a hard copy of your response to the postal address below.

If you are replying by email, we would be grateful if you would not attach any other documents to the consultation response form document. There are limits on the size of documents that we are able to accept and any completed response form document which has an attachment runs the risk of not being delivered. If you wish to send an attachment to us, or raise any queries that you have on the consultation, these can be submitted separately to the same e-mail address shown above.  

We would prefer electronic submissions if possible but, if you would rather submit your feedback in hard copy it can be returned, by the same date, to:

Rae Slawinski
The Code Consultation
Crown Prosecution Service
102 Petty France
London SW1H 9EA

Please include your name, organisation (if applicable), postal address, telephone number and email address in any response.

Dogfennau yn Gymraeg/Documents in Welsh

Ymgynghoriad ar Cod i Erlynwyr y Goron 2018 - testun arfaethedig gyda chwestiynau (dogfen PDF, oddeutu 26kb)

Templed ar gyfer ymgynghori ar y Cod ar Gyfer Erlynwyr y Goron 2018 (dogfen Word) - lawrlwythwch, llenwi a anfon ato: cyn hanner nos ar 10 Medi 2018.

Alternative Formats

If you require a copy of the consultation papers in any other format, for example, audio or large print, please contact the e-mail or postal addresses above.

Next Steps

After the consultation closing date, we will consider every individual response received. A summary of the consultation responses will be published on the CPS website in accordance with the Government's guidelines.

We look forward to receiving your response.

Responses: Confidentiality and disclaimer

The information you send us may be passed to colleagues within the CPS, the Government or related agencies. Furthermore, information provided in response to this consultation, including personal information, may be published or disclosed in accordance with the access to information legislation including the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).

If you want the information that you provide to be treated as confidential, please be aware that, under FOIA, there is a statutory Code of Practice with which public authorities must comply and which deals, amongst other things, with obligations of confidence. In view of this it would be helpful if you could briefly explain to us why you regard the information you have provided as confidential.

If we receive a request for disclosure of the information we will take full account of your explanation, but we cannot give an assurance that confidentiality can be maintained in all circumstances. An automatic confidentiality disclaimer generated by your IT system will not be regarded as binding on the CPS.

Please ensure your response is marked clearly if you wish your response and name to be kept confidential. Confidential responses will be included in any statistical summary of numbers of comments received and views expressed. The CPS will process your personal data in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018 - in the majority of circumstances this will mean that your personal data will not be disclosed to third parties.

CPS Consultations

We want to hear your views about our prosecution policy. You can help us to be better informed, fairer and more representative by participating in our consultations. We welcome your feedback.

Alternative formats

If you require a copy of the consultation papers in any other format, for example, large print or Braille, please contact the e-mail or postal addresses above.

How to respond to consultations

  • Visit the consultation page
  • Read the consultation documents
  • Respond to the consultation using the online form, by email or by post
  • Make sure you submit your response by the closing date

Government Consultation Principles

The Consultation Principles 2016 are available from the Cabinet Office website (opens in new window).

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