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Victim's Right to Review

Volume 563: debated on Wednesday 5 June 2013

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has today published interim guidance to Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) staff on handling cases that give rise to a victim’s right to review (VRR). The VRR guidance, which takes immediate effect, follows a judgment by the Court of Appeal (Thomas LJ, Dobbs J, and the Recorder of Redbridge) in R v Christopher Killick [2011] EWCA Crim 1608 that a victim of crime has a right, derived from the ordinary principles of English law, to seek a review of a CPS decision not to prosecute; meaning a clear procedure for the exercise of this right is required.

The guidance sets out when the victims’ right to review arises, the process for victims to request a review and how the review will be conducted by the CPS. Victims will be notified of their right to review when a CPS prosecutor decides not to charge or to terminate criminal proceedings involving that person as a victim. If the victim requests a review of the decision, a different prosecutor will consider the decision afresh and determine whether or not the decision of the original prosecutor was wrong. The decision on whether to reinstitute proceedings as a result of that review will be made at the level of deputy chief Crown Prosecutor or above.

The guidance has been issued on an interim basis and is the subject of a consultation exercise that will last for three months. The DPP will publish his final guidance later this year, once he has considered the responses to the consultation. Copies of the interim guidance have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.