Prosecution of Offences Act 1979

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1979 c. 31


Prosecution of OffencesAct 1979

1979 CHAPTER 31

An Act to consolidate certain enactments relating to the prosecution of offences in England and Wales and to repeal certain obsolete enactments relating thereto.

[4th April 1979]

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

The Director of Public Prosecutions

The Director of Public Prosecutions

S-1 The Director of Public Prosecutions and Assistant Directors.

1 The Director of Public Prosecutions and Assistant Directors.

(1) The Secretary of State may appoint the Director of Public Prosecutions (in this Act referred to as ‘the Director’); but a person shall not be so appointed unless he is a barrister or solicitor of not less than ten years standing.

(2) The Secretary of State may also appoint such number of Assistant Directors of Public Prosecutions (in this Act referred to as ‘Assistant Directors’) as the Minister for the Civil Service sanctions; but a person shall not be so appointed unless he is a barrister or solicitor of not less than seven years standing.

(3) There shall be paid to the Director, and to any Assistant Director so appointed, such remuneration as the Minister for the Civil Service may determine.

(4) An Assistant Director may do any act or thing which the Director is required or authorised to do by or in pursuance of any Act, or otherwise.

S-2 Duties of Director.

2 Duties of Director.

(1) It shall be the duty of the Director, under the superintendence of the Attorney General—

(a ) to institute, undertake or carry on such criminal proceedings (whether in the criminal division of the Court of Appeal, or in the House of Lords on appeal under Part II of the Criminal Appeal Act 1968 from the criminal division or from a divisional court of the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court, or in such a divisional court, or before the Crown Court, or before a magistrates' court, or otherwise); and

(b ) to give such advice and assistance to chief officers of police, justices' clerks and other persons (whether officers or not) concerned in any criminal proceedings respecting the conduct of those proceedings,

as may be prescribed, or as may be directed, in a special case, by the Attorney General.

(2) The regulations shall provide for the Director's taking action in cases which appear to him to be of importance or difficulty, or which for any other reason require his intervention.

S-3 Directions to Director to appear on appeals.

3 Directions to Director to appear on appeals.

(1) Without prejudice to section 2 above, it shall be the duty of the Director to appear for me Crown or the prosecutor, when directed by the court to do so, on any appeal under—

(a ) section 1 of the Administration of Justice Act 1960 (appeal from the High Court in criminal cases); or

(b ) Part I or Part II of the Criminal Appeal Act 1968 (appeals from the Crown Court to the criminal division of the Court of Appeal and thence to the House of Lords.)

(2) In subsection (1) above ‘the court’ means—

(a ) in the case of an appeal to or from the criminal division of the Court of Appeal, that division; and

(b ) in the case of an appeal from a divisional court of the Queen's Bench Division, the divisional court.

S-4 Saving for private prosecutions.

4 Saving for private prosecutions.

4. Nothing in this Act shall preclude any person from instituting or carrying on any criminal proceedings; but the Director may undertake, at any stage, the conduct of those proceedings, if he thinks fit.

S-5 Delivery of recognizances, etc. to Director.

5 Delivery of recognizances, etc. to Director.

(1) Where the Director gives notice to any justice that he has instituted or undertaken or is carrying on any criminal proceedings, the justice shall, at the prescribed time and in the prescribed manner or at the time and in the manner directed, in a special case, by the Attorney General, send the Director every recognizance, information, certificate, deposition, document and thing connected with those proceedings which the justice is required by law to deliver to the appropriate officer of the Crown Court.

(2) The Director shall—

(a ) subject to the regulations, cause anything which is sent to him under subsection (1) above to be delivered to the appropriate officer of the Crown Court; and

(b ) be under the same obligation (on the same payment) to deliver to an applicant copies of anything so sent as the said officer.

(3) It shall be the duty of every justices' clerk to send the Director, in accordance with the regulations, a copy of the information and of any depositions and other documents relating to any case in which a prosecution for an offence before the magistrates' court to which he is clerk is withdrawn or is not proceeded with within a reasonable time.

Consents to prosecutions

Consents to prosecutions

S-6 Consents to prosecutions, etc.

6 Consents to prosecutions, etc.

(1) This section applies to any enactment which prohibits the institution or carrying on of proceedings for any offence except—

(a ) with the consent (however expressed) of a Law Officer of the Crown or of the Director; or

(b ) where the proceedings are instituted or carried on by or on behalf of a Law Officer of the Crown or the Director,

and so applies whether or not there are other exceptions to the prohibition (and in particular whether or not the consent is an alternative to the consent of any other authority or person).

(2) An enactment to which this section applies—

(a ) shall not prevent the arrest without warrant, or the issue or execution of a warrant for the arrest, of a person for any offence, or the remand in custody or on bail of a person charged with any offence; and

(b ) shall be subject to any enactment concerning the apprehension or detention of...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT