A private prosecution may be brought by a private individual, or entity. This allows access to justice for those who do not feel their interests are being properly and effectively advanced by public investigatory and prosecutory authorities.

The right to bring private prosecutions is preserved by section 6(1) of the Prosecution of Offences Act (POA) 1985.

Private prosecutions may for example, be brought by a company where it has been defrauded by an employee or by an individual who has been assaulted.

Often private prosecutions are brought where the police have shown an unwillingness to investigate. This commonly happens where the police initially suggest that an allegation of fraud is a civil matter and ought to be dealt with in the civil courts. This may be incorrect and if it can be shown that there has been dishonesty, then it is likely a criminal offence has occurred.

We often work in conjunction with commercial litigation solicitors to advise as to the merits of a private prosecution where their clients have been defrauded.

Advantages of private prosecutions are that they are targeted and often far more expedient that a public prosecution. Further, whilst the overriding duty of the private prosecutor is to the Court and the exercise of justice, the client will have a greater level of input into the case and access to the prosecutor.

Private Prosecutions