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Public consultation on Mental Health Conditions and Disorders: Draft Legal Guidance

Outcome of this consultation
Opening date:
Closing date:

The CPS is conducting a public consultation on a proposed revision of its Legal Guidance on prosecuting defendants with mental health issues.

Please read the Mental Health Conditions and Disorders: Draft Legal Guidance, including the questions to which we would like answers, and let us know what you think.

You can also download a PDF copy of the Mental Health Conditions and Disorders: Draft Legal Guidance, if you prefer.


We have published revised policy guidance on the approach we take in relation to suspects and defendants with mental health conditions and disorders.

We are publishing this guidance because we want to explain the approach we take in these cases. It has been developed in conjunction with a number of stakeholders.

The purpose of the consultation was to provide interested persons with an opportunity to provide comments and to ensure the final version of the guidance was informed by as wide a range of views as possible. Following the consultation, you can find the new guidance below:

Revised CPS Legal Guidance on Mental Health: Suspects and Defendants with Mental Health Conditions or Disorders; and

CPS Legal Guidance on Mental Health: Victims and Witnesses with Mental Health Conditions and Disorders

The Summary of Responses has also been published on this website.

Consultation content

The CPS wants to ensure that prosecutors are given optimal assistance when taking the decision to prosecute in such cases and when they prosecute them in court.

Key amendments include:

  • The revised guidance signposts CPS lawyers to key policy documents, introduces them to statutory definitions and explains basic definitions.
  • The guidance addresses issues across a case life: the decision to prosecute; fitness to plead and / or stand trial; remand considerations; defendant special measures; sentencing and diversion.
  • It provides additional information for prosecutors about a variety of mental health conditions and directs them to websites for greater information.
  • It provides more detailed discussion on a range of public interest considerations.
  • There is reference to local liaison and diversion services and more information on when diversion may be appropriate.
  • There is reference to the Equality Act 2010 which is triggered by defendants who meet the definition of disability and, as a result, may be entitled to reasonable adjustments and special measures when giving evidence.
  • The section on fitness to plead has been expanded and there is additional guidance for prosecutors in circumstances where the suspect’s mental health means that a nominal penalty is the likely outcome.
  • The sentencing section sets out the types of disposal and the availability and conditions of each sentence.

The consultation will seek views on four main areas of the proposed revisions to the guidance:

  1. Information prosecutors need about each mental health condition or disorder;
  2. Appropriate public interest factors;
  3. Appropriate factors when considering diversion from prosecution; and
  4. Whether the “fitness to plead” procedure is set out clearly and accurately.

There is also an opportunity for respondents to add any other general observations they may have about the proposed guidance.

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 4 June 2019. 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:

Mental Health Legal Guidance Consultation
Crown Prosecution Service
10th Floor 102 Petty France
London SW1H 9EA

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

Easy Read

We have published this paper in Easy Read so that you can tell us what you think about it. Click here to read it.

Dogfennau yn Gymraeg

Ymgynghoriad cyhoeddus ar Anhwylderau a Chyflyrau Iechyd Meddwl: Cyfarwyddyd Cyfreithiol - yn y Gymraeg

Templed ar gyfer ymateb i'r ymgynghoriad ar y Ymgynghoriad cyhoeddus ar Anhwylderau a Chyflyrau Iechyd Meddwl: Cyfarwyddyd Cyfreithiol. E-bostiwch gyda'ch ymateb.

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).

View all consultations

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