The Casework Divisions deal with prosecutions requiring specialist knowledge and experience: The Attorney General oversees the work of the CPS, meeting regularly with the DPP and requesting briefings on matters of public or Parliamentary concern.
Historically in England, with no police forces and no prosecution service, the only route to prosecution was through private prosecutions brought by victims at their own expense or lawyers acting on their behalf.
From 1829 onwards, as the police forces were formed, they began to take on the burden of bringing prosecutions against suspected criminals.
CPS Direct provides charging advice/authorisation by phone and electronically to police forces at all hours.
Most charging decisions by the CPS are now made by CPS Direct, which then passes the prosecution to the appropriate CPS Area.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is the principal public agency for conducting criminal prosecutions in England and Wales.
It is headed by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).Her Majesty's Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI) is responsible for inspecting the work of the CPS.The CPS will often provide confidential advice to investigators on the viability of a prosecution in complex or unusual cases.This includes clarifying the intent needed to commit an offence or addressing shortcomings in the available evidence.Unlike in many other jurisdictions, the CPS has no power to order investigations or direct investigators to take action.The only exceptions to this rule are when a case involves matters of national security or the Attorney must personally consent to a prosecution (e.g.all Official Secrets Act prosecutions require the Attorney General's permission to proceed).In 1962 a Royal Commission recommended that police forces set up independent prosecution departments so as to avoid having the same officers investigate and prosecute cases, although technically the prosecuting police officers did so as private citizens.The Royal Commission's recommendation was not implemented by all police forces however, and so in 1978, another Royal Commission was set up, this time headed by Sir Cyril Philips.As of March 2013 the CPS employs more than 6,900 staff, 2,900 solicitors and barristers are on the advocate panel, employed externally or self-employed, who deal with all aspects of criminal casework.Crown Prosecutors (also known as reviewing lawyers) provide advice to investigators and take charging decisions; Crown Advocates present prosecution cases in court; Associate Prosecutors represent the CPS in cases with guilty pleas in the magistrates' courts; and paralegals/casework assistants provide clerical support and help with progressing cases.