Mount your own private prosecution and instruct a leading crime lawyer
You can instruct a leading criminal lawyer, like Jim Meyer, to mount a private prosecution on your behalf. Follow the example of others, including the HSE and the DVSA, and hire Jim to provide you with top-rated criminal prosecution and enforcement services.
With over 28 years experience as a criminal litigator, including 20 years prosecuting matters on behalf of government regulators and enforcement agencies, Jim offers bespoke prosecution services to companies and individuals alike. He will give you honest, straightforwardadvice in relation to your prospects of success, the merits of initiating proceedings, and the likely cost.
Criminal prosecutions are not just the work of the Crown Prosecution Service, the Serious Fraud Office or the other statutory prosecuting authorities
Section 6(1) Prosecution Offences Act 1985 provides the right for individuals and companies to bring a private prosecution; the advantage to you in doing so is speed and control.
Private prosecutions are also generally cheaper than civil litigation and the threat of a criminal record, a potential sentence of imprisonment and confiscation proceedings makes the threat of private prosecution a massive deterrent against others who may wish to do you harm.
If you are the victim of crime you can pursue a private prosecution process and hire legal support and services of your choosing – you don’t have to rely on the police or an industry regulator. If you’ve been turned down elsewhere or have waited months (or even years) to achieve justice, you should consider instructing Jim to advise on the merits of initiating your own private prosecution. He will assemble a hand-picked team of experts and investigators to give you the best prospects of success.
If you hire Jim Meyer as your lawyer, you aren’t just buying his time; you’ll benefit from his obsessive compulsion to dig into the detail of your case and to exhaust all lines of inquiry in an effort to secure you the best result.
Relevant cases related to private criminal prosecutions
QBD (Eady J)
25 February 2021
A claimant was not entitled to receive legal aid to bring a private prosecution for the crime of aggression related to participation in the Iraq war as it was not recognised as an offence in English law. His claim was struck out as having no reasonable prospect of success and as being an abuse of process as it was an attempt to pursue a public law challenge by way of a private claim and relitigate matters which had already been decided.
Permission was refused for an application for judicial review of a decision of the DPP to take over and discontinue a private criminal prosecution alleging that a party during civil proceedings had perverted the course of justice by fabricating documents and lying. The DPP's decision that the prosecution was not in the public interest was not irrational. The applicant was ordered to pay the costs of the DPP and the interested parties as the case was exceptional.
CA (Civ Div) (Sir Terence Etherton MR, Dame Victoria Sharp PQBD, Davis LJ)
2 October 2020
An applicant who had succeeded in a private prosecution was in principle entitled to recover from central funds his costs incurred in enforcing a confiscation order made in the underlying criminal proceedings. Although the enforcement proceedings were themselves governed by civil procedural law, it would be contrary to public policy to permit payment of the prosecutor's costs of the confiscation proceedings out of central funds while prohibiting such an outcome for the ensuing enforcement proceedings.
A district judge had not erred in refusing to issue a summons against the former Prime Minister Tony Blair for administering a noxious substance contrary to the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 s.23. The court had no territorial jurisdiction as the "mischief" complained of, namely the use of Depleted Uraniam bullets, took place in Iraq.
The Court of Appeal refused permission to appeal against a refusal of permission to apply for judicial review; by reason of the Senior Courts Act 1981 s.18(1) it had no jurisdiction to entertain the proposed appeal because the decision under challenge was in a criminal cause or matter. The court made general observations with regard to appeals from judgments in criminal causes or matters.
A private prosecutor was not entitled to payment out of central funds of his costs relating to confiscation order enforcement proceedings, as the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 s.17 was not intended to apply to civil proceedings in the High Court, even if the proceedings were consequential on criminal proceedings.
The DPP's decision to take over and discontinue a private prosecution brought against a speaker who had expressed anti-Zionist views at a public rally was not irrational. The prosecution had been brought on the basis of the Public Order Act 1986 s.5, and the DPP had been entitled to conclude that although the speaker's words might have been intemperate, offensive and distressing to some, they were not abusive within the meaning of s.5 and the prosecution was unlikely to succeed.
Permission was granted for documents disclosed in civil proceedings to be produced as evidence in a private prosecution brought by the claimant against the same defendants, based on materially the same facts as the civil claim but including allegations of fraud. There was a public interest in facilitating the prosecution of crimes and it was the prosecutor's duty to lay before the court all the evidence relevant to the offences charged.
Costs on the indemnity basis were awarded against an individual who had brought a private prosecution in the magistrates' court but failed to comply with the duty of candour and had engaged in unreasonable conduct in prosecuting the litigation.
QBD (Martin Griffiths QC)
18 October 2018
The court refused to grant a Norwich Pharmacal order to an investment firm which was contemplating the private prosecution of two individuals it suspected of using insider information to buy shares in a company shortly before a public announcement increased its share value. The matter was already the subject of civil proceedings where disclosure could be sought, and the firm's suspicions had been referred to the CPS which was well placed to decide whether to investigate. A Norwich Pharmacal order was not necessary for the firm to obtain justice.
The court quashed a district judge's decision to issue summonses for offences of fraud which had been issued on the application of a private prosecutor. The prosecutor had failed to comply with his duty of candour by not disclosing material which would have enabled the court to consider whether the application was vexatious, an abuse of process or otherwise improper, to consider whether to make further enquiries and to require the party that he sought to prosecute to be notified of the application and to hear that party.
The Crown Prosecution Service's Victims' Right to Review Guidance, under which the CPS would not consider a victim's request for a review of the decision to offer no evidence against an accused until after the prosecution had concluded, was an inflexible policy but was not unlawful. It struck a necessary and proportionate balance between the rights of the victim, the accused, and the CPS's prosecutorial independence.
QBD (Choudhury J)
21 December 2017
An unless order was made against an individual who had not complied with an order to pay costs of £425,000 resulting from his failed claim for tainted gift. He had made no attempt to comply and at the last minute had made an unsubstantiated contention that he lacked funds.
Permission to apply for judicial review of a magistrates' court's refusal to issue a summons for the private prosecution of politicians for the crime of aggression through their participation in the 2003 Iraq war was not granted. There was no prospect of the Supreme Court holding that the decision in R. v Jones (Margaret)  UKHL 16, that the crime of aggression had not been incorporated or assimilated into domestic criminal law, was wrong. It was for Parliament, and not the courts, to make such conduct criminal under domestic law and Parliament had deliberately chosen not to do so.
CA (Crim Div) (Davis LJ, Phillips J, Judge Dickinson QC)
28 July 2017
A judge's decision to stay private criminal proceedings as an abuse of process could not stand where there was an error of law and principle in her approach in reaching the decision she reached, and in consequence her ruling was one which it was not reasonable for her to have made.
The court considered the powers of, and duties upon, individuals bringing private prosecutions. It also considered the discretion exercisable by the magistrates' court under the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 s.19 to make a costs order against private prosecutors where it found that proceeding in such a way amounted to an "unnecessary or improper act or omission"
CA (Civ Div) (Sir Brian Leveson PQBD, Hallett LJ, Burnett LJ)
16 November 2016
The Court of Appeal considered whether the Division Court could and should order the Football Association Premier League to pay the costs of a failed private prosecution of publicans for the offence of fraudulently receiving satellite TV programmes, namely English Premier League football matches which originated from non-UK based broadcasters. Judgment reserved. The transcript is not yet available, it will be published to Lawtel as soon we receive it.
An individual could, in principle, bring a private prosecution against someone who had been given a prior police caution for the same incident, and where that caution was still extant. However, that was only so as long as there had been no assurance at the time of administering the caution that there would be no future prosecution. It would be bad practice on the part of the police not to use the recommended form of caution in paras 72 and 88 of the Ministry of Justice guidance about simple cautions, issued in November 2013.
DC (Hamblen LJ, Cranston J)
5 July 2016
The power referred to in the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 s.44, whereby the court could dismiss the complaint if it found an assault or battery to have been so trifling as not to merit punishment, only applied to private prosecutions and not to prosecutions brought by the CPS or the police.
CA (Crim Div) (Lord Thomas LCJ, Rafferty LJ, Holroyde J)
11 September 2014
The costs an appeal in the Court of Appeal Criminal Division of a private prosecution would be paid from central funds in an application under the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 s.17 where it had been proper and reasonable to instruct the solicitors and/or advocates actually instructed, and the relevant costs had been reasonably incurred.
Summonses issued by a lay magistrate alleging misconduct in public office against a Chief Crown Prosecutor and her deputy were quashed as the informations pertained to their decisions not to investigate allegations against a wide range of potential defendants, despite Crown Prosecutors having no such investigative powers. Further, the informations were vexatious.
CA (Crim Div) (Lord Thomas LCJ, Foskett J, Hickinbottom J)
24 January 2014
The court determined important issues concerning private prosecutions, including whether a private prosecutor was entitled to bring confiscation proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 even if it had no financial or personal interest in the outcome, and the propriety of a private prosecutor procuring assistance from the police in return for a "donation" to police funds. There was an urgent need for consideration of the circumstances in which the police should assist in confiscation proceedings brought by private prosecutors.
The court allowed property seized under search and seizure warrants subsequently quashed on grounds of material non-disclosure to be retained to facilitate a private prosecution by the party responsible for the non-disclosure where it was in the public interest to allow the prosecution to proceed.
SC (Lord Neuberger (President), Lady Hale JSC, Lord Mance JSC, Lord Kerr JSC, Lord Wilson JSC)
14 November 2012
The application of the Director of Public Prosecutions' current policy to take over a private prosecution and discontinue it unless the evidence was such to render a prosecution more likely to result in a conviction than not, did not frustrate the policy and objects underpinning the right to maintain a private prosecution in the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 s.6.
CA (Crim Div) (Rafferty LJ, McCombe J, Thirlwall J)
7 November 2012
Although the police should have informed a magistrates' court, when applying for arrest and search warrants, that a private company was likely to prosecute any charges brought, the appellant had not demonstrated that the magistrates would have refused the applications if they had known.
"The prosecutor" in the Animal Welfare Act 2006 s.31 was not limited to prosecutors who prosecuted pursuant to a power conferred by some statutory provision but applied to anyone initiating a prosecution under the Act. The court set out the proper method for bringing a challenge to a certificate issued under s.31(2) of the Act.
The policy of the Crown Prosecution Service to take over the conduct of private prosecutions in order to discontinue them where there was no reasonable prospect of conviction against any of the accused was lawful. The High Court should be slow to conclude that the judgment of an expert prosecutor as to the reliability of evidence or the likelihood of securing a conviction was so far out that it should be struck down as irrational: that was an area where challenges by way of judicial review were to be strongly discouraged.
SC (Lord Saville JSC, Lord Rodger JSC, Lord Brown JSC, Lord Judge JSC, Lord Kerr JSC, Lord Clarke JSC, Sir John Dyson JSC)
28 July 2010
The Financial Services Authority's powers to prosecute criminal offences were not limited to the offences referred to in the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 s.401 and s.402. Therefore, the FSA had the power to prosecute offences of money laundering contrary to the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 s.327 and s.328.
To pursue a private prosecution for false imprisonment against a chief constable who had no involvement at all with the person's arrest and detention was hopelessly misconceived, vexatious and an abuse of process, and was serious misconduct that merited the exercise by a magistrates' court of its power to stay proceedings as an abuse of process.
The police had no power to retain property under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 s.22 against the wishes of the person otherwise entitled to possession of it once a decision not to prosecute had been taken so that a private body could consider whether to bring a prosecution, or whilst that private prosecution was being brought.
A district judge should have stayed as an abuse of process a private prosecution against a newspaper brought on the basis that an interview was likely to identify a child and was an offence under the Children Act 1989 s.97, as the private prosecutor had been prepared to be identified herself in circumstances which were likely to identify the child.
A magistrates' court had acted perversely in issuing a summons against a barrister alleging that he had attempted to pervert the course of justice where the information that was laid for the issuing of the summons was an abuse of process, vexatious and oppressive as it sought to re-open matters that the Court of Appeal had determined were completely unsubstantiated and without any merit whatsoever.
A judge had erred in holding that a third party private prosecutor was required to establish that a prosecution of an offence constituted not just an individual grievance but had a public interest and benefit, as there was no authority for such a test and it was for Parliament, not the courts, to limit the right of private prosecution.
The court gave guidance on the approach to be taken by magistrates when considering an application to issue a summons for a private prosecution after the Crown Prosecution Service had discontinued a prosecution in respect of the same conduct.
HL (Lord Bingham of Cornhill, Lord Rodger of Earlsferry, Lord Carswell, Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood, Lord Mance)
26 July 2006
A private prosecution could be regarded as an abuse of the process of the magistrates' court where a defendant had agreed to be formally cautioned by the police on the assurance that, if he agreed, he would not have to go before a criminal court.
PC (Mau) (Lord Bingham of Cornhill, Lord Hoffmann, Lord Hope of Craighead, Lord Carswell, Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood)
25 April 2006
Decisions of the Director of Public Prosecutions of Mauritius that private prosecution proceedings were nolle prosequi could be challenged by way of judicial review as the DPP was a public officer exercising statutory functions.
It was not unlawful or abusive for an individual to bring a private prosecution against an individual who had already received a police caution in respect of the offence that was the basis for the private prosecution.
A public company had the right to lay an information regarding an alleged assault by a shareholder on a director at the company's annual general meeting as it was required by statute to hold annual general meetings, and it was clearly entitled to take proper steps to ensure that such meetings were controlled in an orderly fashion.
The justices had not erred in holding that there was a reasonable excuse for the wilful obstruction of a highway by a fast food van on the basis that it was parked in an industrial area where the only traffic was attracted by the van itself.
The first defendant's bicycle rickshaws were not hackney carriages within the meaning in s.4 Metropolitan Public Carriage Act 1869 but stage carriages, as passengers were charged separate and distinct fares for their respective places. The defendant's drivers had not solicited persons to hire the rickshaws as they had made no form of invitation to prospective clients.
Where the district judge had failed to make a finding as to fault, she should have directed herself that a stay was the exception rather than the rule, and also that it would be rarer still for a stay in the absence of such a finding.
Where the defendant had considered Home Office guidance in its decision to prosecute a young offender, that decision could not be held irrational or unlawful because the defendant had not invited the Crown Prosecution Service to intervene so that the matter could be dealt with by way of reprimand.
DC (Schiemann LJ, Silber J)
24 February 2000
The justices had been entitled to conclude that although the respondent had punched the appellant, the punch had been neither excessive nor reckless, and accordingly the charge of common assault had not been made out.