Evaluating challenges to decisions not to prosecute: do the victims’ right to review, judicial review and private prosecutions provide a coherent and principled framework?

Colman, Stephen (2020) Evaluating challenges to decisions not to prosecute: do the victims’ right to review, judicial review and private prosecutions provide a coherent and principled framework? Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Abstract

The Victims’ Right to Review (VRR) was introduced in 2013. It provides a new mechanism through which victims can challenge decisions not to prosecute alongside the established routes of judicial review and private prosecutions.

This thesis evaluates the extent to which these mechanisms, individually and collectively, provide victims with a coherent and principled framework for challenging decisions not to prosecute.

The VRR is a simple, convenient mechanism which may improve victims’ perceptions of procedural fairness and provide an appealing alternative to judicial review. However, its utility is significantly limited by a narrow definition of ‘victim’ and the rigid qualifying criteria that confine this mechanism to non-prosecutions. It offers victims only limited opportunities to participate in the pre-trial stage of the prosecution process.

The requirement that victims use the VRR to challenge decisions not to prosecute limits access to judicial review thereby protecting the public prosecutor from the independent and transparent scrutiny of judicial review. Private prosecutions are of limited value to victims as they are procedurally onerous and are fundamentally undermined by the CPS policy of applying the Code for Crown Prosecutors to private prosecutions.

Individually, the VRR, judicial review and private prosecutions each have some value for victims, but they all have significant limitations. Collectively, they do not provide victims with a coherent and principled framework for challenging decisions not to prosecute. The VRR should be both expanded to include a wider range of cases and reformed to encourage victims to make representations creating a more meaningful right of review for victims whilst continuing to protect the rights of defendants. The right of private prosecution for ordinary citizens, in contrast, should be abolished because it has the potential to conflict with the rights of defendants and the public interest.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Law
Depositing User: Chris White
Date Deposited: 05 Aug 2021 13:05
Last Modified: 05 Aug 2021 13:05
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/80988
DOI:

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