Posted on the 25th November 2015

What is a Private Prosecution?

Private prosecutions come into play either when statutory prosecution services such as the police or the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) make the decision not to proceed with a criminal investigation, or when a private individual or company simply wishes to have more of a direct involvement with said prosecution.

Aside from the fact that the prosecution is instigated by a member of the private sector, be it an individual or a company, the procedure remains much the same as that of a Crown service.

Private prosecutions are an increasingly popular route for legal action because they enable the claimant to be more involved in the litigation. They can be more direct compared to public prosecutions, which makes the process more efficient and often leads to it being resolved more quickly as a result.

Private prosecutions are often employed as a method for dealing with criminal injustices that have occurred and dismissed by statutory prosecution services. Inter-business fraud for example, is a frequent reason for a prosecution to be resolved privately.

The message to businesses here, is that if your claim is not deemed significant enough to be pursued by an underfunded and stretched Crown Prosecution Service, there are still methods for achieving justice.

Is going private realistic for my business?

A benefit of having a case deemed suitable for consideration by the Crown is that the costs will be significantly reduced and paid for by the prosecutors. If you are considering pursuing an alternative legal route, the costs of a private prosecution are probably your top concern.

Believe it or not, this is a concern within the legal sphere too. With court fees rising in recent months, many businesses perceive the risk of the financial implications of taking a case to court and losing, as being too high to be worth it. On top of the fiscal, legal and time resources required to pursue a successful legal claim, now the costs of a private prosecution have increased, shifting the balance heavily in favour of large businesses and corporations. Those with the resources and manpower to dedicate to run litigation effectively can take on the risks and potential costs of a private prosecution, others can’t.

This view is prevalent with many businesses, but this is largely down to a lack of knowledge about alternative methods of funding a legal case. If awareness of options available to businesses was more widespread, it seems a certainty that the private prosecution option would be considered more often by smaller firms.

Annecto Legal specialises in providing expert legal advice for a wide array of situations as well as third party funding support for litigation. Win or lose, the costs (and therefore the financial risks) of a claim are taken on by one of Annecto’s funding partners in return for reasonable and pre-arranged percentage should the case be successful.

Other options exist in terms of criminal litigation for your business outside of the CPS. If your case has been deemed not important enough to be taken to court, it doesn’t mean that it is, and it also doesn’t mean that your claim is over. If fiscal risk is the barrier preventing you or your company from filing a lawsuit, litigation funding helps you break this wall down and get what is due.

Get in touch with one of our experts to day to find out how Annecto Legal can help you see your case come to fruition via third party litigation funding. The types of cases we work with include: breach of contract, commercial dispute resolution, professional negligence, bank negligence or fraud and suing a solicitor.