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The Criminal Process

The Criminal Process (5th edn)

Liz Campbell, Andrew Ashworth, and Mike Redmayne
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date: 04 October 2022

p. 1937. Prosecutionslocked

p. 1937. Prosecutionslocked

  • Liz Campbell, Liz CampbellFrancine McNiff Chair of Criminal Jurisprudence, Monash University
  • Andrew AshworthAndrew AshworthEmeritus Vinerian Professor of English Law, University of Oxford
  •  and Mike RedmayneMike RedmayneThe Late Professor of Law, London School of Economics


This chapter outlines the origins and functions of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), before moving on to discuss several aspects of the prosecutorial function in the criminal process, in the belief that the decision to prosecute someone in itself is a form of imposition by the state that requires justification. The principle of equality of treatment is discussed throughout the chapter, not least in relation to the differences of approach taken by different prosecuting agencies. The chapter evaluates some of the practices of the CPS and examines empirical evidence of its performance of various tasks. It notes that, as with other large organizations, formulating principles and guidance satisfactorily is not sufficient to ensure that implementation in practice. The role of the CPS in refining and defining the criminal law is examined as well as the role of the victim, review and oversight of prosecution decisions and policies and prosecutorial ethics.

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