Health Professions: Criminal Proceedings

Attorney General written question – answered on 27th June 2022.

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Photo of Derek Twigg Derek Twigg Labour, Halton

To ask the Attorney General, with reference to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) guidance on the Full Code Test within the document entitled The Code for Crown Prosecutors, published on 26 October 2018, whether the CPS applies the same survival rate threshold when making charging decisions for people who are trained or licensed (a) doctors, (b) nurses and (c) other medical practitioners.

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk The Solicitor-General

The evidential threshold that is applied by the CPS when making charging decisions is the same threshold that is applied in all cases, for all offences and for all suspects. There is no separate threshold that is applied for different types of suspects, such as trained or licensed doctors, nurses and other medical practitioners.

The Code for Crown Prosecutors (the Code) is issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) under section 10 of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985. The Code gives guidance to prosecutors on the general principles to be applied when making decisions about prosecutions.

Prosecutors must only start or continue a prosecution when the case has passed both stages of the Full Code Test (FCT), which is set out at section 4 of the Code. The FCT has two stages, the evidential stage, followed by the public interest stage.

At the evidential stage, prosecutors must be satisfied that there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction. The Code provides further guidance on how the evidential stage should be assessed.

If the case passes the evidential stage, prosecutors must go on to consider whether a prosecution is required in the public interest. The Code provides a series of questions that prosecutors should consider when applying the public interest stage.

When making charging decisions, prosecutors must also comply with any guidelines issued by the Attorney General, and with the policies and guidance of the CPS. CPS guidance contains further evidential and public interest factors for specific offences and is available for the public to view on the CPS website.

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