Private prosecution is a growth area and presents particular challenges both for the prosecution and the defence. Corporations and individuals may wish to bring prosecutions independently but may also find themselves the target of ill-founded or malicious private prosecutions. The 2 Hare Court private prosecution team have considerable experience of advising and representing clients on both sides of private prosecutions.
Amongst our number are numerous senior former and current prosecutors, including those who have acted as First Senior, Senior and Junior Treasury Counsel (barristers appointed by the Attorney General to prosecute the most serious and complex criminal cases to come before the courts).
It is no coincidence that such advice is being sought in a period of economic downturn when the Police, Crown Prosecution Service, Serious Fraud Office and other prosecuting authorities are suffering budgetary restraints. Private prosecutions can offer clients closer involvement and control over decision making, a thorough degree of preparation and a more senior and experienced level of legal representation than may otherwise be provided by the public prosecution authorities.
Members of chambers can offer advice in relation to the particular issues that arise in private prosecutions:
- prospects of success,
- applying for and resisting the issue of a summons,
- applications to the Director of Public Prosecutions to take over and stop a prosecution,
- presenting and resisting abuse of process arguments
- recovery of costs.
Members of chambers are currently appearing on both sides of a €100m fraud on a Swiss oil and gas company following related civil litigation. Other recent instructions include:
- Advising claimants in Commercial Court proceedings on bringing private prosecutions;
- Advising an ultra high net worth individual from the former Soviet Union on commencing a private prosecution for computer hacking;
- Advising an international art dealer on commencing a private prosecution for dealing in forgeries;
- Advising complainants on the merits of private prosecution in respect of sexual allegations where the Crown Prosecution had declined to prosecute;
- Advising a major financial institution on dealing with a malicious private prosecution;
- Defending senior professionals accused of fraud in the context of business dealings;
- Advising the Crown Prosecution Service on taking over private prosecutions, including those involving major fraud;
- Prosecuting cases on behalf of state agencies including the Royal Mail.