Liverpool-based Exchange Chambers is setting up a specialist team to meet the growing demand in the UK for private prosecutions as public bodies struggle with austerity cuts. Tony McDonough reports
Exchange Chambers in Liverpool is looking to capitalise on the growing demand for private prosecutions by setting up a specialist team.
An Act of Parliament in 1985 offered the right to individuals and businesses to bring private prosecutions. And the popularity of such actions has grown significantly in the UK in recent years.
Exchange Chambers’ says its dedicated team of Queen’s Counsel and Senior Junior Counsel is “ideally placed” to provide the specialist legal advice and representation private prosecutions require.
Jonathan I’Anson, chief executive at Exchange Chambers, said: “Private prosecutions are becoming increasingly commonplace as businesses seek to achieve justice, and recoup their losses in a cost effective and efficient way.
“It is a growth area and presents particular challenges both for the prosecution and defence. Corporations and individuals may wish to bring prosecutions independently but may also find themselves the target of ill-founded or malicious private prosecutions.”
According to Nick Buckley, senior clerk at Exchange Chambers, the growth of private prosecutions has arisen due to the budget cuts among the police, Crown Prosecution Service, Serious Fraud Office and other prosecuting authorities during the years of austerity.
He explained: “The recent guidance issued by the Crown Prosecution Service as to how decisions on charging alleged offenders are to be made and the stark fact that economic crime appears to be being moved further down the ladder of importance only serves to enhance this point.
“The message to businesses is clear – If the police or the prosecuting agencies decide not to pursue a case, then there are still methods for achieving justice. The right to privately prosecute empowers businesses and allows them to pursue efficient, effective, practical and draconian remedies against the offender.”