Attorney General

The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) provides legal advice and support to the Attorney General and the Solicitor General (the Law Officers) who give legal advice to government. The AGO helps the Law Officers perform other duties in the public interest, such as looking at sentences which may be too low.



Secretary of State

 Portrait

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General

 Portrait

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)

Shadow Ministers / Spokeperson
Liberal Democrat
Lord Thomas of Gresford (LD - Life peer)
Liberal Democrat Shadow Attorney General

Plaid Cymru
Liz Saville Roberts (PC - Dwyfor Meirionnydd)
Shadow PC Spokesperson (Attorney General)

Labour
Emily Thornberry (Lab - Islington South and Finsbury)
Shadow Attorney General
Scheduled Event
Thursday 14th March 2024
10:10
Attorney General
Oral questions - Main Chamber
14 Mar 2024, 10:10 a.m.
Attorney General
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Scheduled Event
Thursday 9th May 2024
10:10
Attorney General
Oral questions - Main Chamber
9 May 2024, 10:10 a.m.
Attorney General
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Debates
Thursday 22nd February 2024
Select Committee Docs
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Select Committee Inquiry
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Written Answers
Wednesday 21st February 2024
Prosecutions: Slavery
To ask the Attorney General, how many and what proportion of (a) children and (b) adults prosecuted for (i) homicide, …
Secondary Legislation
Tuesday 23rd January 2024
County Durham (Electoral Changes) Order 2024
This Order makes changes to electoral arrangements for County Durham following recommendations made by the Local Government Boundary Commission for …
Bills
None available
Dept. Publications
Wednesday 21st February 2024
11:42

Attorney General Commons Appearances

Oral Answers to Questions is a regularly scheduled appearance where the Secretary of State and junior minister will answer at the Dispatch Box questions from backbench MPs

Other Commons Chamber appearances can be:
  • Urgent Questions where the Speaker has selected a question to which a Minister must reply that day
  • Adjornment Debates a 30 minute debate attended by a Minister that concludes the day in Parliament.
  • Oral Statements informing the Commons of a significant development, where backbench MP's can then question the Minister making the statement.

Westminster Hall debates are performed in response to backbench MPs or e-petitions asking for a Minister to address a detailed issue

Written Statements are made when a current event is not sufficiently significant to require an Oral Statement, but the House is required to be informed.

Most Recent Commons Appearances by Category
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Bills currently before Parliament

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Acts of Parliament created in the 2019 Parliament

Attorney General has not passed any Acts during the 2019 Parliament

Attorney General - Secondary Legislation

This Order makes changes to electoral arrangements for County Durham following recommendations made by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England. The area of the county remains unchanged.
This Order makes changes to electoral arrangements for the unitary authority of North Northamptonshire (“the Authority”) following recommendations made by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England. This Order does not change the boundary of the Authority itself.
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Petitions

e-Petitions are administered by Parliament and allow members of the public to express support for a particular issue.

If an e-petition reaches 10,000 signatures the Government will issue a written response.

If an e-petition reaches 100,000 signatures the petition becomes eligible for a Parliamentary debate (usually Monday 4.30pm in Westminster Hall).

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50 most recent Written Questions

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department

16th Feb 2024
To ask the Attorney General, how many and what proportion of (a) children and (b) adults prosecuted for (i) homicide, (ii) attempted homicide and (iii) other offences had been assessed under the modern slavery national referral mechanism in each of the last 10 years.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) does not hold data on the number of defendants assessed under the modern slavery National Referral Mechanism (NRM). This information could only be obtained by an examination of CPS case files, which would incur disproportionate cost.

The NRM is the UK framework for identifying and referring potential victims of modern slavery and ensuring they receive the appropriate support. Certain public authorities, including the police, have a statutory duty to refer potential victims to the NRM. Adults must agree to this. The CPS cannot make referrals; it is not a first responder.

Section 45 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 provides for a statutory defence for adult and child victims of modern slavery who are accused of committing criminal offences. The defence does not apply to the most serious crimes such as murder or manslaughter.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
16th Feb 2024
To ask the Attorney General, how many and what proportion of charges that used the threshold test subsequently recorded an application of the full code test in each of the last 10 years.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) does not hold data from which it is possible to cross-reference Threshold Test charging decisions about a defendant with subsequent Full Code Test decisions. This information could only be obtained by an examination of CPS case files, which would incur disproportionate cost.

The Code for Crown Prosecutors is clear that the Threshold Test may only be applied after a rigorous examination of its five conditions. This ensures that it is only applied when necessary and that cases are not charged prematurely. Any decision to charge under the Threshold Test must be kept under review and the Full Code Test must be applied as soon as practicable.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
16th Feb 2024
To ask the Attorney General, how many and what proportion of (a) homicide and (b) attempted homicide cases was the threshold test applied in each of the last 10 years.

Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) Management Information is available showing the number of pre-charge legal decisions when the Principal Offence Category allocated at the first consultation was homicide and whether the final consultation completed against the suspect involved application of the Threshold Test.

Data can be provided from April 2019 to the end of September 2023 and the tables below show this information for each year and the financial year 2023/24 to date.

Table 1 - Legal Decisions

2019-2020

2020-2021

2021-2022

2022-2023

April - September 2023

Threshold Test

840

850

971

1030

524

% Threshold Test of Legal Decisions

47.5%

49.0%

53.0%

54.2%

54.1%

Table 2 - Decisions to Charge

2019-2020

2020-2021

2021-2022

2022-2023

April - September 2023

Threshold Test

836

848

968

1026

523

% Threshold Test of Legal Decisions

59.8%

58.8%

62.1%

64.3%

65.6%

Table 3 - Decisions to NFA/OoCD

2019-2020

2020-2021

2021-2022

2022-2023

April - September 2023

Threshold Test

4

2

3

4

1

% Threshold Test of Legal Decisions

1.1%

0.7%

1.1%

1.3%

0.6%

Data Source: CPS Case Management Information System

Principal Offence Categories comprise a range of offences. These cannot be separated to report suspect outcomes by specific offence.

Legal decisions are to charge, take no further action (NFA), or recommend an out of court disposal (OoCD).

Following the receipt of a file from the police requesting a CPS charging decision, several consultations may take place before the final decision whether to charge or not is taken by the reviewing lawyer. The first consultation may result in a legal decision outcome or in an action plan that needs to be sent to the police for further investigation or additional evidentiary material to allow a charging decision to take place.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
16th Feb 2024
To ask the Attorney General, how many and what proportion of (a) children and (b) adults prosecuted under joint enterprise provisions in the Crown Prosecution Service Joint Enterprise Pilot 2023 for (i) homicide, (ii) attempted homicide and (iii) other offences were assessed under the modern slavery National Referral Mechanism.

The methodology of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) Joint Enterprise Pilot 2023 is set out on their website at: www.cps.gov.uk/publication/crown-prosecution-service-joint-enterprise-pilot-2023-data-analysis.

This involved the application of a local ‘flag’ to joint enterprise homicide and attempted homicide cases which were then manually reviewed and certain case features were counted. The number of cases in which the defendant was assessed under the modern slavery National Referral Mechanism was not counted during the pilot and it is not possible to extract further management information from the local ‘flag’ centrally.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
6th Feb 2024
To ask the Attorney General, what steps she is taking to support external stakeholders to contribute to the next annual review of disclosure.

In conducting any review, it is essential we involve operational partners and stakeholders affected by the changes.

The 2023 update to the Attorney General’s Guidelines has been focused on digital evidence and a working group was established with representatives including the Crown Prosecution Service, Serious Fraud Office, HM Revenue and Customs, National Crime Agency, police, Ministry of Justice, and Home Office. In addition, specific sessions were held with the legal defence community.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
5th Feb 2024
To ask the Attorney General, with reference to the Code for Crown Prosecutors, how many and what proportion of joint enterprise (a) homicide, and (b) attempted homicide charges in the Crown Prosecution Service Joint Enterprise Pilot 2023 that used the Threshold Test subsequently recorded an application of the Full Code Test.

The methodology of the Crown Prosecution Service (“CPS”) Joint Enterprise Pilot 2023 (the “Joint Enterprise Pilot”) is set out on the CPS website: Crown Prosecution Service Joint Enterprise Pilot 2023: Data Analysis | The Crown Prosecution Service (cps.gov.uk).

The methodology involved the application of a local ‘flag’ to joint enterprise homicide and attempted homicide cases which were then manually reviewed and certain case features counted. The number of cases in which the Threshold Test in the Code for Crown Prosecutors was applied was not counted during the Joint Enterprise Pilot and it is not possible to extract further management information from the local ‘flag’ centrally.

Informed by the results of the Joint Enterprise Pilot, the CPS has updated its case management system in order to commence a full national monitoring scheme in the spring. A new mandatory national Joint Enterprise Monitoring Code ‘flag’ will enable the CPS to extract management information from such cases centrally, including whether the Threshold Test was applied when a defendant was charged.

The Code for Crown Prosecutors is clear that the Threshold Test may only be applied after a rigorous examination of its five conditions. This ensures that it is only applied when necessary and that cases are not charged prematurely. Any decision to charge under the Threshold Test must be kept under review and the Full Code Test must be applied as soon as practicable.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
5th Feb 2024
To ask the Attorney General, in how many and what proportion of the joint enterprise (a) homicide and (b) attempted homicide cases in the Crown Prosecution Service Joint Enterprise Pilot 2023 was the threshold test applied.

The methodology of the Crown Prosecution Service (“CPS”) Joint Enterprise Pilot 2023 (the “Joint Enterprise Pilot”) is set out on the CPS website: Crown Prosecution Service Joint Enterprise Pilot 2023: Data Analysis | The Crown Prosecution Service (cps.gov.uk).

The methodology involved the application of a local ‘flag’ to joint enterprise homicide and attempted homicide cases which were then manually reviewed and certain case features counted. The number of cases in which the Threshold Test in the Code for Crown Prosecutors was applied was not counted during the Joint Enterprise Pilot and it is not possible to extract further management information from the local ‘flag’ centrally.

Informed by the results of the Joint Enterprise Pilot, the CPS has updated its case management system in order to commence a full national monitoring scheme in the spring. A new mandatory national Joint Enterprise Monitoring Code ‘flag’ will enable the CPS to extract management information from such cases centrally, including whether the Threshold Test was applied when a defendant was charged.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
30th Jan 2024
To ask the Attorney General, how many convictions for paedophilia were referred to her Department under the unduly lenient sentence scheme in 2023.

The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) receives requests to refer sentences under the Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme to the Court of Appeal and publishes annual reports on the outcomes of the requests which it refers.

The annual report for 2023 has not yet been published. The latest annual report, for the year 2022, was published on 17 October 2023 (see Unduly lenient sentence annual case outcomes data - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)).

The AGO also releases weekly statistics of requests to refer sentences. Weekly statistics for 2023, including requests to refer sentences for offences involving paedophilia (such as indecent images of a child, rape of a child under 13, and sexual assault of a child under 13) can be found at Outcome of unduly lenient sentence referrals - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
1st Feb 2024
To ask the Attorney General, how many and what proportion of female civil servants in the Crown Prosecution Service were employed on temporary contracts in each of the last three years.

For the financial year ending 31 March 2021, of all female civil servants employed by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), 6.1% (274) were employed on temporary contracts. This equates to 4% of all CPS workforce headcount.

For the financial year ending 31 March 2022, of all female civil servants employed by the CPS, 5.9% (279) were on temporary contracts. This equates to 3.9% of all CPS workforce headcount.

For the financial year ending 31 March 2023, of all female civil servants employed by the CPS, 2.9% (147) were on temporary contracts. This equates to 1.9% of all CPS workforce headcount.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
29th Jan 2024
To ask the Attorney General, which policies under each arms length body reporting to their Department fall within the scope of the Environmental principles policy statement, published on 31 January 2023.

The duty, which came into force on 1 November 2023, does not require the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) nor its superintended bodies (the Crown Prosecution Service, the Government Legal Department, the Serious Fraud Office, and HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate) to maintain a comprehensive list of policies within scope of the duty.

The AGO and the bodies it superintends do not lead on policy.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
23rd Jan 2024
To ask the Attorney General, what targets her Department has set to help achieve the Government's commitments on net zero.

As part of the greening government commitments framework, set for the period between April 2021 to March 2025, the Attorney General’s Office’s overall and direct emissions reduction targets are 49% and 25%, respectively.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
23rd Jan 2024
To ask the Attorney General, whether her Department has had recent discussions with the Law Society on the management of Family Protection Trusts by firms of solicitors.

While the Attorney General and I, and our department, regularly engage with the legal professions, we have not discussed the management of Family Protection Trusts by firms of solicitors with the Law Society.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
23rd Jan 2024
To ask the Attorney General, pursuant to the Answer of 16 January 2023 to Question 9197 on Attorney General: Written Questions, for what reason her Department has been unable to answer the Questions within the usual time period.

I responded to your questions 6773 and 6774 on 24 January 2024. Please accept my apologies for the delay.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
17th Jan 2024
To ask the Attorney General, how many equalities impact assessments her Department completed in each of the last five years for which data is available.

Under the Public Sector Equality Duty (the Duty), all public authorities, including Government departments, are required by law to ensure that they have due regard to certain equality considerations when carrying out their functions. While ‘equality impact assessments’ (EIAs) may be produced, there is no legal requirement for duty assessments to be recorded in a specific format.

The Government Legal Department (GLD) is the Attorney General’s Office’s (AGO) HR shared service provider and is therefore responsible for EIAs at the AGO. In the last five years, GLD has completed four EIAs when making substantive changes to HR policies and procedures (two EIAs in 2021 and two in 2023).

The AGO has completed no EIAs relating to policy changes. This aligns with its role as a department that does not hold policy in its own right.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
13th Dec 2023
To ask the Attorney General, pursuant to the Answer of 12 December 2023 to Question 4982, which other three individuals have received severance payments since 2015; in which years those severance entitlements arose; and what the cost of each payment was.

I would like to thank the Rt Hon Member for bringing this matter to our attention. Due to an oversight in the administrative process by officials, these three payments were not disclosed in the 2022-23 HM Procurator General and Treasury Solicitor Annual Report and Accounts. The payments will be properly reflected in the 2023-24 HM Procurator General and Treasury Solicitor Annual Report and Accounts, in line with prevailing guidance on departmental accounts.

In the interests of transparency, I can confirm that in the 2022-23 period, the following payments were made:

My right hon. Friend the Member for Cheltenham (Alex Chalk) - £14,490 (August 2022)

My hon. Friend the Member for Eddisbury (Edward Timpson) - £14,490 (October 2022)

My right hon. Friend the Member for Northampton North (Sir Michael Ellis) - £23,612 (November 2022)

All three severance payments were made under the Ministerial and other Pensions and Salaries Act 1991, which provides for severance payments to Ministers who cease to hold office and are not reappointed to the government within 3 weeks. This reflects the lack of any notice period when Ministers leave government.

I would note that such statutory provisions have existed across governments of all political colours.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
13th Dec 2023
To ask the Attorney General, pursuant to the Answer of 12 December 2023 to Question 4982, whether the three other severance payments to Ministers made since 2015 were recorded in her Department's annual reports and accounts.

I would like to thank the Rt Hon Member for bringing this matter to our attention. Due to an oversight in the administrative process by officials, these three payments were not disclosed in the 2022-23 HM Procurator General and Treasury Solicitor Annual Report and Accounts. The payments will be properly reflected in the 2023-24 HM Procurator General and Treasury Solicitor Annual Report and Accounts, in line with prevailing guidance on departmental accounts.

In the interests of transparency, I can confirm that in the 2022-23 period, the following payments were made:

My right hon. Friend the Member for Cheltenham (Alex Chalk) - £14,490 (August 2022)

My hon. Friend the Member for Eddisbury (Edward Timpson) - £14,490 (October 2022)

My right hon. Friend the Member for Northampton North (Sir Michael Ellis) - £23,612 (November 2022)

All three severance payments were made under the Ministerial and other Pensions and Salaries Act 1991, which provides for severance payments to Ministers who cease to hold office and are not reappointed to the government within 3 weeks. This reflects the lack of any notice period when Ministers leave government.

I would note that such statutory provisions have existed across governments of all political colours.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
16th Jan 2024
To ask the Attorney General, with reference to the Government Legal Department Business Plan 2023-24, published on 23 May 2023, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of using the Pilgrim Quarter development as a worksite for the Government Legal Department.

Whilst Newcastle is not currently under consideration as a base for the Government Legal Department (GLD), the GLD's position might change in the future if demand for GLD services increases in the region.

GLD sites have been selected based on a model of developing a national organisation located in the proximity of its clients and using established legal markets which have strong pipelines for recruiting from diverse pools.

Decisions on sites are evidence-based, for example, on research and analysis of local academic and labour markets, whilst also reflecting various Government estate and property initiatives such as Places for Growth.

The Pilgrim Quarter Development will be the Government Hub for HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in the North East, housing 9,000 HMRC employees when complete. As GLD does not currently offer legal services to HMRC, we would not automatically co-locate within their sites.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
15th Jan 2024
To ask the Attorney General, when she expects the Government Legal Department to publish its gender pay gap report for the financial year 2022-23.

The Government Legal Department will publish its gender pay gap report for the financial year 2022-23 by 30 March 2024.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
15th Jan 2024
To ask the Attorney General, pursuant to the Answer of 18 December 2023 to Question 6413 on Government Legal Department, what the composition is of (a) her Department's Legal Advisers and (b) the Government Legal Department Litigation Group; and what (i) their legal qualifications and (ii) the professional standards to which they are required to adhere are.

The composition of the Ministry of Justice Legal Advisers Team, a division of the Government Legal Department (GLD), is as follows:

Description

Staff numbers

Head of Division/Director (Senior Civil Service Pay Band 2)

1

Deputy Director (Senior Civil Service Pay Band 1)

6

Senior Lawyer (Grade 6)

23

Lawyer (Grade 7) & Junior Lawyer (Legal Officer)

37

Senior Executive Officer, Higher Executive Officer

0

Legal Trainee, Executive Officer, Administrative Officer

10

The composition of the GLD's Litigation Group is as follows:

Description

Staff numbers

Head of Division/Director (Senior Civil Service Pay Band 2)

1

Deputy Director (Senior Civil Service Pay Band 1)

30

Senior Lawyer (Grade 6)

136

Lawyer (Grade 7) & Junior Lawyer (Legal Officer)

336

Senior Executive Officer, Higher Executive Officer

51

Legal Trainee, Executive Officer, Administrative Officer

203

These civil servants act on behalf of and in the name of the Treasury Solicitor, and pursuant to section 88 of the Solicitors Act 1974 are not required to be admitted or enrolled as a legal practitioner. They predominantly comprise of solicitors and barristers, the majority of which are admitted to practice in England and Wales, although some are qualified to practice in other jurisdictions.

The Costs Litigation Team includes qualified costs lawyers, in addition to which a small number of qualified legal executives are also employed in the Litigation Group. The balance of staff comprises legal trainees, apprentices, paralegals, and business support staff.

Qualified lawyers are required to adhere to the professional standards of their respective profession (solicitor, barrister, costs lawyer, or legal executive), and all staff are required to comply with the Civil Service Code.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
15th Jan 2024
To ask the Attorney General, what recent assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the Crown Prosecution Service in (a) prosecuting cases and (b) providing (i) information, (ii) assistance and (iii) support to victims.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) rolled out a new Crown Court operating model last year. This is a more effective and efficient approach to justice as it means the CPS serve more material on the defence at a much earlier stage so they can be more robust with case management and encourage earlier guilty pleas.

The CPS is transforming the service it provides to victims through its Victim Transformation Programme. The Programme is delivering an improved Universal Service offer for all victims of crime, which will build victims’ understanding of the role of the CPS, ensure that victims understand their rights, and signpost victims to relevant support.

The Victim Transformation Programme also includes an Enhanced Service offer for adult victims of rape and serious sexual offences (RASSO). The Enhanced Service will include the offer of a meeting with a member of the prosecution team once a victim has been notified their case is proceeding to trial. This will give victims the opportunity to discuss what happens next and ask questions about the process. The Enhanced Offer will also include a dedicated Victim Liaison Officer in all CPS RASSO Units to help improve the quality of engagement with adult RASSO victims.

The Victim Transformation Programme builds on actions the CPS has already taken to improve the quality of the communications and the service it provides to victims. For example, the CPS has published an online guide for all victims of crime, which explains what they can expect when their case reaches the CPS and what their entitlements are as victims. This has had nearly 110,000 views in total since its launch in September 2022. It follows an earlier guide the CPS produced for victims of rape and serious sexual offences, which has had over 320,000 views since November 2021.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
12th Jan 2024
To ask the Attorney General, what recent assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the CPS in ensuring access to justice for victims of crime.

Speedy access to justice is in the interest of victims, defendants, witnesses, and society.

The Ministry of Justice is co-ordinating cross-government action to support the Crown Courts and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is engaging with key delivery partners to support longer term improvements. The national Criminal Justice Board, re-instated last year by the Lord Chancellor, is a welcomed opportunity to identify and tackle the challenges faced by the criminal justice system.

The CPS rolled out a new Crown Court operating model last year. This is a more effective and efficient approach to justice as it means the CPS serve more material on the defence at a much earlier stage so they can be more robust with case management and encourage earlier guilty pleas.

Further, the CPS has an important role in ensuring that victims are informed and supported. The CPS is transforming the service it provides to victims through its Victim Transformation Programme. The Programme is delivering an improved Universal Service offer for all victims of crime, which will build victims’ understanding of the CPS’ role, ensure that victims understand their rights, and signpost victims to relevant support.

The Victim Transformation Programme also includes an Enhanced Service offer for victims with the greatest needs. The first cohort of victims to receive the Enhanced Service offer will be adult victims of rape and serious sexual offences (RASSO). The Enhanced Service will include the offer of a meeting with a member of the prosecution team once a victim has been notified their case is proceeding to trial. This will give victims the opportunity to discuss what happens next and ask questions about the process. The Enhanced Offer will also include a dedicated Victim Liaison Officer in all CPS RASSO Units to help improve the quality of engagement with adult RASSO victims.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
15th Jan 2024
To ask the Attorney General, pursuant to the Answer of 11 January 2024 to Question 8608 on Aiding and Abetting, what consideration the Crown Prosecution Service gives to a suspect’s level of (a) intention to assist or encourage and (b) contribution to the commission of an offence when making charging decisions using joint enterprise laws.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) guidance on secondary liability (Secondary Liability: charging decisions on principals and accessories | The Crown Prosecution Service (cps.gov.uk)) provides guidance to CPS prosecutors on what needs to be proved in respect of the secondary party’s participation in an offence.

The secondary party, by words or conduct, must encourage or assist the commission of the offence by another person, and must intend to do so.

Mere accidental presence at the scene of an offence or mere association with the principal offender or a group or gang will not alone be sufficient to prove that a secondary party participated in the offence.

If the offence requires a particular intent, the secondary party must intend to assist or encourage the other person to act with that intent.

The CPS guidance provides a number of scenarios to demonstrate the type and level of participation that may amount to assistance or encouragement.

The guidance also contains a section on intent (see “Mens rea – Intent”) that explains in detail how intent may be proved in practice, in relation to various types of scenarios.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
15th Jan 2024
To ask the Attorney General, pursuant to the Answer of 11 January 2024 to Question 8608, Aiding and Abetting, if she will direct the Crown Prosecution Service to clarify in future guidance that joint enterprise only applies where persons intentionally assist or encourage another to commit a crime.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) guidance is issued in accordance with the law as it currently stands.

The law on joint enterprise is a common law doctrine and is not currently governed by statute. A decision to legislate in this area (if deemed appropriate) is the responsibility of the Secretary of State for Justice.

The current guidance covers the main principles of joint enterprise, as clarified in the lead case of R v Jogee. It is clearly stated in the guidance that a secondary party to an offence must intend to encourage or assist the commission of the crime by another person.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
5th Jan 2024
To ask the Attorney General, how many prosecutions for assaults against prison officers have been dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service on the grounds of not being in the (a) public interest and (b) interests of justice in each of the last five years.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) does not hold data on the number of prosecutions for offences relating specifically to assaults on prison officers. The number of prosecutions commenced in the last five years for charges relating to assault and/or battery against emergency workers (charged by way of section 39 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 and section 1 of the Assaults on Emergency Workers
(Offences) Act 2018), which include prison officers, is set out below. It would not be possible to determine the outcome of these prosecutions or whether the charge related specifically to an assault on a prison officer without an examination of CPS case files, which would incur disproportionate cost.

2018-2019

2019-2020

2020-2021

2021-2022

2022-2023

Section 39, Criminal Justice Act 1988; Section 1, Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act 2018

4,401

23,676

28,906

35,301

31,996

Data Source: CPS Case Management Information System

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
8th Jan 2024
To ask the Attorney General, what steps she is taking to increase prosecution rates for (a) theft, (b) criminal damage and arson and (c) public order offences.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) reviews all cases received from the police, using the two-stage test (sufficient evidence for a reasonable prospect of conviction and an assessment of public interest factors) to determine suitability for prosecution. The volume of prosecutions is therefore determined by the number of cases received from the police which pass the two-stage test.

CPS data from the period April – June 2023 (our most recent available figures) shows high conviction rates for theft, criminal damage (including arson), and public order offences.

Across this period, the conviction rate for theft and handling was 91.1%. In the same quarter, the conviction rate for criminal damage (including arson) was 84.8%. The conviction rate for public order offences was 81.5%.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
11th Jan 2024
To ask the Attorney General, when she plans to respond to Questions 6773 and 6774 on Attorney General: Redundancy Pay, tabled by the hon. Member for Islington South and Finsbury on 13 December 2023.

The Attorney General's Office has indicated that it will not be possible to answer this question within the usual time period. An answer is being prepared and will be provided as soon as it is available.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
8th Jan 2024
To ask the Attorney General, what assessment she has made of the impact of the unduly lenient sentencing scheme on levels of paedophile crime.

The Unduly Lenient Sentence (ULS) scheme in England and Wales permits the Court of Appeal to review a sentence, correct a sentencing error, and give guidance on how to approach some of the most serious and complex sentencing exercises.

The Court of Appeal will only grant permission to refer a sentence in exceptional circumstances: for example, if the judge has passed a sentence that falls outside the range of sentences which a judge, applying their mind to all the relevant factors before them, could properly consider appropriate, or if the judge has made some gross error in law.

The scheme is kept under constant review. In November 2019, 14 new offences were added to the scheme. These included offences relating to indecent images of children.

In 2022, the Law Officers referred 139 cases to the Court of Appeal. The Court granted leave to refer in 105 (75%) cases and the sentence was increased in 95 (68%) cases. Of the 95 cases in which the sentence was increased, 23 (24%) were sentences for child sex offences.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
8th Jan 2024
To ask the Attorney General, with reference to the Crown Prosecution Service report of 29 September 2023, Crown Prosecution Service Joint Enterprise Pilot 2023: Data Analysis, whether joint enterprise applies where persons unintentionally assist or encourage another to commit a crime.

Joint enterprise is a common law doctrine, meaning that it has developed over time through case law rather than being set out in statute.

The doctrine may apply where two or more persons are involved in committing a criminal offence.

Where joint enterprise applies, the secondary party or accessory will be liable for the offence if they encourage or assist the commission of the offence by the principal party, and they intend to encourage or assist the commission of the offence.

The secondary party will not therefore be liable if they do not intend to encourage or assist the commission of the offence.

The outcomes of the Joint Enterprise pilot were published on 29 September 2023 and will inform the Crown Prosecution Service's national monitoring scheme of joint enterprise cases.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
13th Dec 2023
To ask the Attorney General, what discussions she has had with (a) Cabinet colleagues and (b) the Scottish Government on the potential impact of the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill on the Act of Union 1707.

The Law Officers’ Convention prevents me from disclosing outside Government whether the Attorney General has been asked to provide advice or the contents of any such advice. This is a longstanding principle of Cabinet collective agreement. The Attorney General has not had any discussions with the Scottish Government on this topic.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
6th Dec 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what discussions they have had, if any, with the Crown Prosecution Service on responding to requests made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 in an informative and expeditious manner.

The Attorney General’s Office has not had any discussions with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) on responding to requests made under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000 in an informative and expeditious manner.

The CPS processes FOI requests independently and in accordance with the requirements of the FOIA 2000.

Lord Stewart of Dirleton
Advocate General for Scotland
7th Dec 2023
To ask the Attorney General, whether her Department has (a) procedures and (b) notification systems in place for potential errors made by the Government Legal Department (GLD); whether errors by the GLD are recorded; whether financial losses arising from errors made by the GLD are recovered from the GLD; whether processes are in place to ensure that citizens receive redress when there has been a failure to process (i) applications, (ii) court orders and (iii) other maladministration by HM Courts and Tribunals Service; who in her Department is responsible for identifying and recording errors by the GLD; and what records her Department maintains of (A) apologies, (B) payments of compensation and (C) other matters relating to the GLD.

Where members of the public wish to raise a complaint about the Government Legal Department (GLD) or any of its staff, there is a relevant complaints procedure. Complaints will be investigated in accordance with the GLD complaints policy, which is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/government-legal-department/about/complaints-procedure#:~:text=Examples%20of%20maladministration-,What%20to%20do%20if%20you%20have%20a%20complaint,from%20receipt%20of%20your%20complaint.

There is then a right of appeal to the Treasury Solicitor. If the appellant is not satisfied with the department’s reply, and they feel that they have sustained injustice as a result of maladministration, they can consider bringing the matter to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration (the Ombudsman).

The Ombudsman can recommend that organisations make payments if a complainant has sustained financial loss or to acknowledge the complainant’s distress. However, the Ombudsman will not investigate complaints where the complainant has the option to pursue legal action.

The Attorney General and Treasury Solicitor also meet regularly to discuss performance and serious errors can be flagged.

HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has an administrative complaints procedure that allows citizens to complain about administrative failures to process applications and court orders or other maladministration. If HMCTS receives a complaint then it will investigate and take steps to put things right where any administrative error has been made. More information about this complaints process is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-courts-and-tribunals-service/about/complaints-procedure.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
7th Dec 2023
To ask the Attorney General, if she will have discussions with Cabinet colleagues on the potential application of the Offences Against the person Act 1861 in tackling the use of conversion practices with LGBT people.

The Law Officers' Convention enables the Attorney General and I to have frank discussions with our Ministerial colleagues.

The Law Officers' Convention means that we cannot disclose whether or not we have advised on a legal issue or whether we will do so in the future.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
7th Dec 2023
To ask the Attorney General, whether his Department has issued guidance to the (a) police and (b) Crown Prosecution Service on using existing legislation to tackle conversion practices against LGBT People.

The police are the responsibility of the Home Office.

While the Attorney General's Office superintends the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), the CPS are operationally independent. The CPS bring prosecutions in line with the Code for Crown prosecutors.

The Attorney General's Office has not issued any guidance to the CPS.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
5th Dec 2023
To ask the Attorney General, how much their Department spent on hospitality in (a) 2021, (b) 2022 and (c) 2023.

We do not routinely publish this data, as has been the case under successive administrations.

All Business Units within the Attorney General's Office (AGO) have a responsibility to keep official hospitality costs as low as possible and demonstrate good value for money. Details of ministerial and senior official hospitality are published on a quarterly basis and are available on GOV.UK.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
4th Dec 2023
To ask the Attorney General, whether any severance payments have been made by her Department to Ministers other than to the Rt hon. Member for Torridge and West Devon since 1 January 2015.

Apart from the severance payment made to the Rt Hon. Member for Torridge and West Devon, the Attorney General’s Office has made three other severance payments since 2015.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
4th Dec 2023
To ask the Attorney General, what discussions she has had with the Public Prosecution Service in Northern Ireland on increasing conviction rates for (a) theft and (b) burglary.

The Public Prosecution Service in Northern Ireland (PPSNI) is entirely independent and is not superintended by the Attorney General.

The Attorney General, as Advocate General for Northern Ireland, has limited statutory functions in relation to the PPSNI and the performance of the PPSNI does not fall within this remit.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
5th Dec 2023
To ask the Attorney General, how much the Attorney General's Office spent on external recruitment consultants in each of the financial years (a) 2020-21, (b) 2021-22, and (c) 2022-23.

The Attorney General’s Office spent £12,245 in financial year 2020-21, £0 in financial year 2021-22, and £1,470 in financial year 2022-23 on external recruitment consultants.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
27th Nov 2023
To ask the Attorney General, with reference to the Answers of 25 October 2023 to Question 203472 on Hare Coursing: Convictions and Prosecutions and 28 February 2018 to Question 129098 on Hare Coursing: Prosecutions, when the Crown Prosecution Service ceased maintaining a central record of the number of prosecutions for offences of hare coursing; and for what reason.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has never maintained a central record of the number of prosecutions specifically for offences of hare coursing and only holds data on the number of offences prosecuted under the Game Act 1831, the Night Poaching Act 1828 and the Hunting Act 2004, which all encompass hare coursing.

The CPS does not collect data that constitutes official statistics as defined in the Statistics and Registration Act 2007.

While the CPS does not centrally collate data showing the number of prosecutions involving hare coursing, management information data is available which shows the number of offences charged by way of the Game Act 1831, the Night Poaching Act 1928 and the Hunting Act 2004, in which a prosecution commenced. The table below shows the number of these offences recorded during each of the last three years.

Financial Year 2020-2021

Financial Year 2021-2022

Financial Year 2022-2023

Game Act 1831

53

121

67

Hunting Act 2004

28

86

82

Night Poaching Act 1828

21

28

40

Data Source: CPS Case Management System

It should be noted that the figures relate to the number of offences and not the number of individual defendants. It may be the case that an individual defendant is charged with more than one offence. No data are held on the final outcome or if the charged offence was the substantive charge at finalisation.

The official statistics relating to crime and policing are maintained by the Home Office and the official statistics relating to sentencing, criminal court proceedings, offenders brought to justice, the courts and the judiciary are maintained by the Ministry of Justice.

Michael Tomlinson
Minister of State (Minister for Illegal Migration)
21st Nov 2023
To ask the Attorney General, what is the annual cost to the public purse of her Department's expenditure on (a) IT infrastructure, (b) IT infrastructure purchased prior to 2013 and (c) legacy IT infrastructure for each year since 2010.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is responsible for the provision and management of up-to-date IT infrastructure, applications and processes for the Attorney General’s Office (AGO).

It is not possible to derive costs specific to the AGO as the IT infrastructure provided is not accounted for separately. The CPS do not hold a centralised record of AGO IT infrastructure costs. This information could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Michael Tomlinson
Minister of State (Minister for Illegal Migration)
21st Nov 2023
To ask the Attorney General, with reference to the Central Digital & Data Office's guidance entitled, Guidance on the Legacy IT Risk Assessment Framework, published 29 September 2023, how many red-rated IT systems are used by her Department as of 21 November 2023.

As of 21 November 2023, the Attorney General's Office, as a Ministerial Department, has no red-rated legacy IT systems as defined in the Central Digital and Data Office (CDDO) Legacy IT Risk Assessment Framework.

Michael Tomlinson
Minister of State (Minister for Illegal Migration)
20th Nov 2023
To ask the Attorney General, what was the total sum (a) paid to and (b) received from the Good Law Project by HM Government in respect of legal costs in each financial year since 2017-18.


There were 42 case files opened in respect of actual court proceedings between His Majesty’s Government and the Good Law Project during the period since the start of the 2017-18 financial year. HM Government won 19 and lost 6, 7 cases were settled, and 9 cases were withdrawn by the Good Law Project. One has yet to deliver an outcome.

In total, in regard to these 42 cases:

The Good Law Project has paid £984,098.45 in legal costs to HM Government, while HM Government has paid £160,925.71 in legal costs to the Good Law Project.

In financial year 2017-2018, no payments were made or received.

In financial year 2018-2019, £40,000 was paid to, and £4,753 was received from, the Good Law Project.

In financial year 2019-2020, £0 was paid to, and £59,013.19 was received from, the Good Law Project.

In financial year 2020-2021, £85,000 was paid to, and £10,000 was received from, the Good Law Project.

In financial year 2021-2022, £0 was paid to, and £286,000 was received from, the Good Law Project.

In financial year 2022-2023, £35,925.71 was paid to, and £544,000 was received from, the Good Law Project.

In financial year 2023-2024, £0 has been paid to, and £80,332.26 has been received from, the Good Law Project.

Michael Tomlinson
Minister of State (Minister for Illegal Migration)
9th Nov 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what meetings or conversations the Crown Prosecution Service has had with (1) Stonewall or other campaigners for transgender rights, and (2) campaigners for the gender critical point of view, in the past three years; and on what policies or practices were these groups consulted during that time.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) does not hold a central record of all local and national meetings with stakeholders across all 14 CPS Areas and Central Casework Divisions over the past three years. The level of resource involved in obtaining this information would be disproportionate.

It has been possible to identify the number of meetings the CPS has had with Stonewall at a national headquarters level during the years 2022, and 2023, and this has been answered in PQ 671. The level of resource involved in obtaining the same information from earlier years would be disproportionate.

Lord Stewart of Dirleton
Advocate General for Scotland
8th Nov 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government whether they intend to place in the Library of the House, for each Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) panel or group that relates to hate crime or violence against women and girls: (1) its name; (2) its current membership; and (3) a description of the process for selecting members and any CPS criteria for the balance of its membership.

The Crown Prosecution Service keeps membership of all local and national external stakeholder groups, panels and forums under review to ensure that they contain relevant expertise and are representative of communities served.

Membership is subject to frequent change based on the nature of the forum or thematic subject being explored at any given meeting.

This material will not be placed in the Library of the House due to the level of resource that would be required to keep such dynamic information up-to-date.

Lord Stewart of Dirleton
Advocate General for Scotland
8th Nov 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has taken to ensure that people with gender critical beliefs are represented on CPS panels and forums where such beliefs are relevant, such as hate crime panels.

Members of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) National External Consultation Group on Hate Crime are selected for their expertise in hate crime and are drawn from academia and the third sector.

The CPS keeps membership of all external stakeholder groups under review to ensure that they contain relevant expertise and are representative of the communities the CPS serves.

Lord Stewart of Dirleton
Advocate General for Scotland
8th Nov 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government whether the Crown Prosecution Service carried out an impact assessment with regards to (1) the protected characteristic of sex, and (2) belief in the immutability of sex, before the 2022 revision of its domestic abuse guidance; and if so, whether they will place a copy of this impact assessment in the Library of the House.

In accordance with the Public Sector Equality Duty, under s.149 of the Equality Act 2010, a full Equality Impact Assessment (EIA) was conducted when the Domestic Abuse Prosecution Guidance 2022 was revised in order to appropriately identify and consider its potential impact in terms of equality. It gave due regard to equality considerations for protected characteristics as detailed within the body of s.149.

The EIA for the Domestic Abuse Prosecution Guidance remains under review and has been updated on several occasions since the guidance was published in 2022. The CPS do not intend to place a copy of the EIA in the Library as it is continuously reviewed and updated. A copy of the document as it appeared in 2022 has been provided.

Lord Stewart of Dirleton
Advocate General for Scotland
9th Nov 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the Crown Prosecution Service’s assertion that there is a “Global narrative attacking the rights of all protected characteristics” as stated in its Pride Month Hate Crime Roundtable report of 23 June, published on the Crown Prosecution Service website.

The article in the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) community newsletter published in June 2023 relates to a Pride month hate crime roundtable event. The roundtable was a local community engagement event held with members of the LGBT community affected by homophobic and transphobic hate crime. The quote represents reportage of discussion amongst external attendees at the event and was not intended to reflect organisational views of the CPS.

Lord Stewart of Dirleton
Advocate General for Scotland
9th Nov 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the propriety of Crown Prosecution Service staff referring to live criminal cases as examples of transphobic hate in published material such as newsletters, and roundtable reports, and what guidance they have issued in this regard.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) emphasises that criminal proceedings in live cases are active and the defendants have a right to a fair trial. It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.

The CPS has published legal guidance on reporting restrictions, it can be found here: https://www.cps.gov.uk/legal-guidance/contempt-court-reporting-restrictions-and-restrictions-public-access-hearings

Lord Stewart of Dirleton
Advocate General for Scotland
8th Nov 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what action the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has taken to ensure that it operates an inclusive environment for employees with gender critical beliefs and those opposed to those beliefs; and whether they will place in the Library of the House copies of any CPS employee guidance or other documents that bear on this issue.

All employees are expected to act in accordance with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) Values which state, “We will treat everyone with respect. We will respect each other, our colleagues, and the public we serve, recognising that there are people behind every case.”

A member of the National D&I team is a member of the Sex Equality and Equity Network (SEEN) civil service network to ensure that a gender critical perspective is considered when commenting on policy and process change.

Lord Stewart of Dirleton
Advocate General for Scotland
8th Nov 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government whether the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) consulted individuals or organisations outside the CPS about its plans to revise its domestic abuse guidance in 2022; and, if so, which individuals or organisations.

The Domestic Abuse Prosecution Guidance was revised in 2022 to reflect changes brought in by the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 (DA Act).

The new legislation created the need for an updated document that accurately reflects the law relating to domestic abuse and appropriately supports prosecutors in their application of it. The revision was necessary, and as such, no external organisations or individuals were consulted as to whether the CPS should revise the Guidance.

External stakeholders were consulted on later revisions of the guidance

The Solicitor General has answered a question regarding the organisations consulted when Annex D of the guidance was being developed (PQ 604).

Lord Stewart of Dirleton
Advocate General for Scotland