In England and Wales, certain prosecution cases are handled by Complex Casework Units (CCUs), including those involving serious drug-related offences and high-profile murders.
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The Crown Prosecution Service
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) prosecutes criminal cases that have been investigated by the police and other authorities.
If you are formally charged with a criminal offence, your case will be handed to the CPS. If the CPS decides to proceed with the prosecution, it will prepare the prosecution’s case. This will be presented to the court.
In the majority of cases, the work is carried out locally by prosecutors based in regional hubs. For instance, if you are accused of a criminal offence in Bristol, it will be handled by the CPS South West. However, in some cases, a specialised team of prosecutors is deemed necessary. These are known as Complex Casework Units (CCUs).
When do Complex Casework Units become involved?
Guidance produced by the CPS states that casework should be referred to CCUs if it has “characteristics of complexity that distinguish them from non-complex crimes”. These characteristics might include:
- Large scale human trafficking
- Serious drug-related offences involving substantial importation, manufacture or supply, particularly with an international dimension
- Major targeted local criminals in organised or international crime
- High profile, multi-victim and/or multi-defendant murders
In addition, the Chief Crown Prosecutor has the discretion to direct cases that do not meet these characteristics to a CCU. This is likely to happen where there are:
- Unusual legal or evidential issues
- Complex expert evidence or multiple experts
- Extensive confiscation issues
- Significant or multiple foreign enquires or liaison with foreign law enforcement agencies
- Protected witnesses
- Multi-agency involvement
- Resident source
- Extensive undercover police operations/multiple uses of sources
- Calls for the skills of a CCU prosecutor
As leading criminal defence solicitors, we have considerable expertise in serious, high-profile crimes. We are well versed in dealing with complex litigation and have an excellent understanding of how the CPS’ specialist prosecution departments operate. Is it possible to get the CPS to drop the charges on me ?
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