The Private Prosecutors’ Association (PPA) is formed by leading legal and fraud professionals.
Today marks the launch of the UK’s first professional association for private prosecutors, the PPA. The broad aims of the association are to develop best practice amongst private prosecutors, raise public awareness of the use of private prosecutions and advance the education and training of its members in this area of the law. Furthermore it will serve to inform the public of what is expected of private prosecutors and is aimed at ensuring public confidence in the integrity of the criminal justice process.
The PPA has been formed by a group of leading legal and fraud professionals with experience of bringing private prosecutions including: Hannah Laming, a partner at Peters and Peters, Annabel Kerley, a director at EY, Rachna Gokani, a barrister at QEB Hollis Whiteman, Stuart Biggs, a barrister at Foundry Chambers and Melinka Berridge, a partner at Kingsley Napley.
The concept of a private prosecution may not be familiar to all. It is a criminal prosecution brought by someone other than the traditional state prosecuting authorities. Public prosecutors and law enforcement agencies have suffered massive cutbacks in recent years which impact on investigations and prosecution of certain types of crime. In the current climate of austerity the use of private prosecutions is on the rise.
Hannah Laming, Chairperson of the PPA says that the motivation behind launching the first professional body dedicated to private prosecutions was “to draw together professionals with expertise in bringing private prosecutions and to recognise and promote best practice in this field. The PPA provides a forum for discussion; the opportunity to make collective representations on important issues affecting private prosecutors or prosecutions; and networking and educational events for members and non-members.”
The association is planning a series of roundtable discussions over the course of the next year where a range of practitioners will be invited to examine the different stages involved in conducting a private prosecution, focusing on best practice. It is intended that, following those discussions, the association will draw together the lessons learnt and produce a code of conduct for their members to sign up to. The first roundtable will be held at QEB Hollis Whiteman on 18 September 2017 to discuss “Evidence gathering and investigatory powers of the private prosecutor”. Alison Levitt QC has expressed her support for the organisation and will participate in the series of roundtables, bringing to bear her considerable experience as Principal Legal Advisor to the Director of Public Prosecutions, where her role included considering private prosecutions referred to the DPP.
The association is now inviting membership from legal professionals, accountants, investigators or other professionals with suitable experience in the bringing of private prosecutions. Further details can be obtained at the association’s website http://private-prosecutions.com/