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Core Quality Standards

What are the Core Quality Standards?

We prosecute criminal cases in court on behalf of the public. Our role is to protect the public, support victims and witnesses and deliver justice. The Core Quality Standards tell you what you can expect us to do when we prosecute people in court.

The Core Quality Standards is one of two documents. The second document is the Code for Crown Prosecutors. Together these documents tell you:

  • What we do
  • How we make decisions
  • The service you can expect from us.

Core Quality Standards Summary

  • Preface and introduction
  • Standard 1: We will provide the police and other investigators with advice to assist in tackling crime effectively and bringing offenders to justice.
  • Standard 2: We will make timely, effective and fair charging decisions in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors.
  • Standard 3: We will use out-of-court disposals as alternatives to prosecution, where appropriate, to gain speedy reparation for victims and to rehabilitate or punish offenders.
  • Standard 4: We will oppose bail for defendants where appropriate, taking particular account of the risk posed to victims and the public.
  • Standard 5: We will prepare all our cases promptly and in accordance with the Criminal Procedure Rules so that guilty pleas can be entered at the earliest opportunity, and fair trials can take place on the appointed dates.
  • Standard 6: We will present our cases fairly and firmly.
  • Standard 7: We will assess the needs of victims and witnesses, keep them informed about the progress of their case and seek appropriate support to help them to give their best evidence.
  • Standard 8: We will explain our decisions to victims when we stop cases or substantially alter the charge.
  • Standard 9: We will assist the court in the sentencing process and seek to confiscate the proceeds of crime.
  • Standard 10: We will consider whether to exercise our rights of appeal when we believe the court has made the wrong legal decision.
  • Standard 11: We will deal promptly and openly with complaints about our decisions and the service we provide.
  • Standard 12: We will engage with communities so that we are aware of their concerns when we make decisions.

Why are the Core Quality Standards important?

The standards are important because:

  • Victims, witnesses, suspects and defendants depend on prosecutors to carry out their duties to a high standard.
  • The police, the courts and other criminal justice agencies rely on prosecutors to deliver an efficient and effective service.
  • The public and those responsible for checking the work of prosecutors, want to hold prosecutors to account for their delivery of the standards.

The standards ensure that we comply with the Criminal Procedure Rules.

The standards guide us in organising the service and managing the prosecution process. We expect the public to hold us to account if we fail to provide the service described in them. We will judge our success as prosecutors by our ability to deliver the Core Quality Standards.

Other formats

Printed copies of this document and information about alternative languages and formats are available from :

CPS Communication Division
Rose Court
2 Southwark Bridge
London SE1 9HS