March 14, 2023
McGuireWoods London partner Francesca Titus and trainee solicitor Oscar Ratcliffe co-authored a recent article in Solicitors Journal on the emergence of private prosecutions in complex fraud cases.
The authors cited an October 2022 House of Commons Justice Committee report concluding that fraud is the most commonly experienced crime in England and Wales, but that only .75% of cases are prosecuted by the Crown Prosecution Service. Private prosecutions, which are initiated and executed by nonstate entities, provide an effective alternative for reducing the backlog, according to the authors.
“A private prosecutor can choose their own legal counsel and shape the direction of an investigation and prosecution,” Titus and Ratcliffe wrote. “The House of Commons Justice Committee Report found that one of the key challenges in prosecuting fraud is the volume of documentation to be worked through, with City of London Police currently holding more than 70m pages of evidence relating to ongoing investigations. Private prosecutors have the option of engaging law firms with access to the latest document review technology, with legal teams experienced in handling this evidential volume in an efficient manner.”