Private Criminal Prosecutions

May 30, 2014 tags: Blog, Legal Articles, Private Crime

There are considerable advantages in mounting your own private criminal prosecution.

  • Speed. The case can be before the Court within days of instructions being given, and usually conclude within months rather than at the more leisurely pace of civil proceedings.
  • Profile. Criminal cases are reported far more frequently than civil cases, and will thus bring added pressure on the defendant to settle any associated civil claim.
  • Penalties such as compensation are unlimited and enforced by prison terms rather than the bailiff.

Private prosecutions are not reliant on the financially pressurised police or other government agencies. Numerous viable prosecutions are not pursued by the State because of financial or resource limitations in these austere times. There are major costs incentives for a private prosecutor. You can claim unlimited compensation from the defendant in the Crown Court.  Perhaps most attractively, and even if the defendant is not in a position to pay costs or if the prosecution is not successful, the court can and should order “reasonable” costs for investigation and legal expenses to be paid out of central funds. Your only financial commitment would be to fund the case to the stage of it being deemed reasonable to pursue. This decision will occur very early on in the process, and these fees would be recoverable at the end of the case. Throughout the investigation and prosecution of the case we will bring you the same skills that we have been recognised for in our high-level defence work. Examples of private prosecutions that may be useful to our commercial clients:-

  • Fraudulent trading. Using a company as an instrument of fraud or prejudice to creditors is punishable by 10 years in prison and unlimited compensation. We have commenced cases against a freeholder company director for granting lease extensions at a large discount to his family lessees but not the non-family lessees.
  • Copyright theft- same penalties apply. We are retained to advise and represent a major record catalogue owner on a series of criminal prosecutions against pirates.
  • Fraud by abuse of position, by someone who has a duty to safeguard a person’s financial interests and acts in detriment of that duty. We are advising a former business partner who’s earnings were received into his former partner’s bank account and not paid over.
  • Regulatory breaches such as failure to provide service charge information, punishable by £2,500 fine for each offence

Please contact us to discuss how we can progress your case with you. Not every case amounts to a breach of the criminal law, but we will always advise on all your options, including the criminal route, when strategising the best plan for you. [gravityform id="1" name="Contact Us:"]

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