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Recent Changes in the English Public Prosecution Service

Chris Lewis

Public prosecution services throughout the world have been developing very speedily in the
last decade. This is true, not only in countries as far apart as South Africa, Pakistan and
Tanzania but in England as well. The English Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) was set up
only in 1986 but has developed considerably since then. In particular, since 2000, under
successive Directors of Public Prosecution, it has become a confident and influential
criminal justice agency. It has been given more powers, its structures have been tightened
and it has absorbed some other prosecution authorities. Although its influence on
investigation is indirect, CPS has made intelligent use of the internet and taken a strategic
approach to developing criminal justice policy in a more effective way than other agencies.
With its legal guidelines, CPS is starting to develop a third form of law to set aside Statute and
Case Law. This has happened during favourable conditions that have now come to an end.
The impact of public expenditure cuts will place a brake on developments but over the longer
term it is likely that the CPS will move to a more central role in criminal justice matters. The
new government elected in May 2010 is likely to make only minor changes to the CPS.

Keywords: England, Prosecution, Criminal Justice, Crime Investigation