Private Criminal Prosecution - How to Start a Case

Page created: on 9th June 2019

Disclaimer: No liability can be accepted for loss caused by the information on this page.
The ground rules for private prosecutions appear to be continually changing.

If in doubt - don't.

Initial warning

We very wary of London firms asking for large sums of money upfront (on account)

A large amount of money asked for upfront is almost a statement of an intent never to bring the case to court

How many cases has the law firm brought to a point of prosecution?

Be suspicious of very high hourly rates - these are reserved for the gullible and large corporates with money to burn

Be suspicious of firms that mention the full code test in their sales meetings.
A judge is unlikely to use the term "full code test".

First questions to be asked prior to starting a prosecution

Is the offence known in law?

Is there a prima facie case?

Is the case in time?

Is the case vexatious?

Jurisdiction - Can the case be run in the UK?

From the start have:

Legal bundle material file

Unused material file

Main elements to a private prosecution legal bundle:

Title with contents

Case description

Copy of Summons to be served

Copy of relevant law

Witness statements conforming with Criminal Procedure Rules

Risks and perils of deciding to start a private prosecution

You could lose all money put into a case without any visible result
ie. the case might not even go to court

If the case is seen as vexatious then it is possible for the private prosecutor to be asked to pay the other sides costs

The emotional stress of a private prosecution can be damaging to health

The stress of dealing with solicitors and barristers can be very wearing, their agenda is not usually to get your case into court at the lowest reasonable cost in the shortest reasonable time.

Regardless of the case a private prosecution will be very extremely time consuming and emotionally draining

Benefits of starting a private prosecution

In principle a proportion or all the costs might be refunded "win or lose"

A prosecution is a big deterrent for both companies and individuals

email contact:
cookalastair @

High Court Judicial Review Application

Private Prosecution Judicial Review Claim Form

Private Prosecution links:-

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