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

Suella Braverman
Attorney General

 Portrait

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)

Shadow Ministers / Spokeperson
Labour
Emily Thornberry (LAB - Islington South and Finsbury)
Shadow Attorney General

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

Scottish National Party
Angela Crawley (SNP - Lanark and Hamilton East)
Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Attorney General)
Junior Shadow Ministers / Deputy Spokesperson
Labour
Ellie Reeves (LAB - Lewisham West and Penge)
Shadow Solicitor General
There are no upcoming events identified
Debates
Thursday 16th September 2021
Brexit: Opportunities
Commons Chamber
Select Committee Docs
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Select Committee Inquiry
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Written Answers
Wednesday 1st December 2021
Prosecutions
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people arrested in (1) 2019, (2) 2020, (3) 2021, are awaiting a determination …
Secondary Legislation
Monday 21st June 2021
Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 (Specified Proceedings) (Coronavirus) (Amendment) (No. 2) Order 2021
This Order is made under section 3 of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 (c. 23). Section 3 sets out …
Bills
None available
Dept. Publications
Tuesday 30th November 2021
12:23
Treaty
None available

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
Apr. 28
Oral Questions
Sep. 25
Urgent Questions
Oct. 07
Westminster Hall
Oct. 05
Adjournment Debate
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Bills currently before Parliament

Attorney General does not have Bills currently before Parliament


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 is made under section 3 of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 (c. 23). Section 3 sets out the functions of the Director of Public Prosecutions. These include taking over the conduct of all criminal proceedings instituted on behalf of a police force, unless the proceedings are specified in an Order made by the Attorney General under section 3(3).
This Order brings into operation on 28th June 2021 a revised code of practice prepared by the Attorney General and the Advocate General for Northern Ireland under section 377A of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (“the Act”) in relation to England and Wales and Northern Ireland.
View All Attorney General Secondary Legislation

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).

Trending Petitions
Petitions with most signatures
Attorney General has not participated in any petition debates
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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

17th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people arrested in (1) 2019, (2) 2020, (3) 2021, are awaiting a determination from the Crown Prosecution Service.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) does not maintain a central record of the dates of arrest for suspects in cases submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service for a charging decision. This information could only be obtained by an examination of CPS case files, which would incur disproportionate cost.

Lord Stewart of Dirleton
Advocate General for Scotland
17th Nov 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what her Department’s process is for (a) recording and (b) keeping minutes of all meetings relating to Government business.

Formal, structured meetings are usually minuted, however, not all meetings need to be minuted.

The Cabinet Office expects that the general guidance that departments give to their staff will help officials make judgements as to what meetings need to be minuted, noting their Civil Service Code obligation to ‘keep accurate official records.’ The retention policy of the Attorney General’s Office is that records of all diaries, calendars, gifts/hospitality, Invitations, outgoing correspondence and information on visits and speeches will be held for 5 years.

Specific procedures are in place for external meetings involving ministers. These are publicly available and can be found in the Guidance on the management of Private Office Papers.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Attorney General, how many senior civil servants employed by her Department were based in each of the 12 NUTS1 regions of the UK on (a) 1 March 2019, (b) 1 March 2020, (c) 1 March 2021 and (d) 1 September 2021.

All Attorney General’s Office employees are employed in one NUTS1 region, which is London (Inner London – West, Westminster).

The number of civil servants employed by the department in this region and on those specified dates are as follows:

(a) 1 March 2021 – 50 staff

(b) 1 June 2021 – 50 staff

(c) 1 September 2021 – 46 staff

The number of senior civil servants employed by the department in this region and on those specified dates are as follows:

(a) 1 March 2019 – 6 staff

(b) 1 March 2020 – 6 staff

(c) 1 March 2021 – 6 staff

(d) 1 September 2021 – 5 staff.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
19th Nov 2021
To ask the Attorney General, how many civil servants employed by her Department were based in each of the 12 NUTS1 UK regions on (a) 1 March 2021, (b) 1 June 2021 and (c) 1 September 2021.

All Attorney General’s Office employees are employed in one NUTS1 region, which is London (Inner London – West, Westminster).

The number of civil servants employed by the department in this region and on those specified dates are as follows:

(a) 1 March 2021 – 50 staff

(b) 1 June 2021 – 50 staff

(c) 1 September 2021 – 46 staff

The number of senior civil servants employed by the department in this region and on those specified dates are as follows:

(a) 1 March 2019 – 6 staff

(b) 1 March 2020 – 6 staff

(c) 1 March 2021 – 6 staff

(d) 1 September 2021 – 5 staff.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
15th Nov 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what the average turnaround time has been for inquest applications by the Attorney General to the High Court under the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 in each of the last 10 years.

Section 13 of the Coroners Act 1988 permits an application to be made to the High Court for either an order for a fresh inquest into a death, or an order to hold an inquest if one has not already been held. An application under section 13 cannot be brought unless the Attorney General’s authority – referred to as her ‘fiat’ – has been obtained. Once the Attorney General has granted or refused her fiat, the Attorney General’s Office does not usually have any further role in the process.

An applicant has six weeks from the grant of the Attorney General’s fiat to make an application to the High Court. The High Court will then decide whether to order an investigation to be carried out in accordance with Part 1 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009.

Neither the Attorney General’s Office nor the Ministry of Justice hold data on how long it takes between the Attorney’s fiat being granted and the High Court disposing of an application made under section 13.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what steps she is taking to prosecute individuals charged with fraud by false representation particularly in relation to fraudulent property transactions.

In March 2021, the CPS launched its first ever Economic Crime Strategy to ensure they keep at pace with the constant changing nature of crime. It is a high-level strategy which allows the flexibility to respond and adapt to new and emerging threats.

The CPS has a dedicated Specialist Fraud Division to ensure it has the right skills and resources to prosecute complex cases.

The CPS also has a Proceeds of Crime unit dedicated to asset recovery and in 2018, the CPS created three new Fraud Centres in CPS Areas to increase capability and resilience in dealing with fraud casework.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what steps she is taking to help improve prosecution levels under section 24 of the Offences Against The Person Act 1861.

The recent rise in reports of spiking is incredibly concerning and is being investigated by the police. The CPS will always treat maliciously administering poison as a high harm offence and is working in close partnership with the police to bring perpetrators of this offence to justice.

Between 2020-2021 there were 222 prosecutions for cases charged under Section 24, which was an increase of 22% on the previous year.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what steps she is taking to ensure the effectiveness of the Serious Fraud Office.

The Law Officers’ sponsorship and statutory superintendence of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is undertaken in accordance with the Framework Agreement between the Law Officers and the Director of the SFO, which was published in January 2019.

As set out in the Framework Agreement, The Law Officers regularly meet the Director and her senior leadership team to discuss the SFO’s work in tackling the top level of serious and complex fraud, bribery, and corruption. This includes regular Ministerial Strategic Boards, chaired by the Attorney General or Solicitor General, which oversee the strategic direction of the SFO and hold the SFO to account for the delivery of its strategic objectives.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
3rd Nov 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what estimate she has made of the number of ivory items owned by or collated by her office.

The Attorney General’s Office has not made any estimates of the number of ivory items owned or collated by the Department.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what funding her Department has allocated to Stonewall in each of the last five years; and for what projects that funding has been allocated.

The Attorney General’s Office has not allocated any funding to Stonewall in the last 5 years

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
22nd Oct 2021
To ask the Attorney General, how many of her Department's ministers have been exempted from quarantine in a hotel after returning to the UK from a covid-19 red list country to which they have travelled for the purposes of conducting official business.

The Attorney General and Solicitor General have not claimed any exemptions from the requirement to quarantine after returning from a red list country as neither Law Officer has undertaken any official business overseas since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Details of Ministers’ overseas travel are published quarterly on GOV.UK, and all travel is arranged in line with official regulations.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Attorney General, how many referrals the CPS received from the National Crime Agency for charging decisions under the Money Laundering Regulations in each of the last three years.

The number of referrals the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), Specialist Fraud Division (SFD) has received from the National Crime Agency (NCA) for charging decisions under the Money Laundering Regulations for the last three years are as follows:

  • 4 cases received in 2018-19
  • 2 cases received in 2019-20
  • 4 cases received in 2020-21

CPS data is available through its Case Management System (CMS) and associated Management Information System (MIS). The CPS collects data to assist in the effective management of its prosecution functions. The CPS does not break down figures that constitute official statistics as defined in the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007.

However, the CPS is not able through either CMS or MIS to breakdown referrals to differentiate whether they were made by the police or other investigative organisations in England and Wales. On this occasion we have been able to provide the data because of a recent manual review, so whilst we have endeavoured to produce figures that are as accurate as possible, this data is subject to human error.

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.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Attorney General, how many staff were employed in rape and serious sexual offences units in each (a) CPS area and (b) year since 2010.

Each of the 14 CPS Areas has a dedicated RASSO Unit, staffed by specially trained prosecutors and other operational delivery staff, equipped to deal with the complexities of rape cases. The below data shows the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) staff employed in each CPS RASSO Unit, which were established in 2016, as of 31 March for each year from 2017. The figures are set out in decimals as there are many part-time members of staff who work in RASSO Units.

CPS Areas are not uniform in size and as such there is a disparity in the staffing levels between each Area. Furthermore, case numbers and types of case in RASSO Units may vary from year to year and across Areas.

It is also important to note that CPS Areas have the flexibility to move staff between teams to support local needs. While the below figures show the number of FTE staff employed in each CPS RASSO Unit in each year, they do not include members of staff who have been moved to teams in other Areas to support local needs

CPS Area20172018201920202021
Cymru Wales27.0124.6421.6420.0618.97
East Midlands20.0220.5422.1920.1423.95
East of England22.2923.8523.7019.1919.65
London North*31.7631.7524.7626.11
London South*38.0236.3333.0134.14
Merseyside and Cheshire19.9821.8020.9419.9519.48
North East27.0028.3128.6826.7024.49
North West44.5750.5347.8745.8242.26
South East27.9625.1524..6420.9119.21
South West23.2921.9020.0218.0816.68
Thames and Chiltern19.8021.8220.0227.3324.14
Wessex26.2621.3022.5218.9819.33
West Midlands34.3833.6935.7436.5134.05
Yorkshire and Humberside37.4534.8035.0632.4835.95

*Prior to 2017, London South and London North operated as a single CPS Area, and the combined number of FTE staff in the pan-London RASSO Unit for 2017 was 66.23.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what steps she is taking to improve her Department's response times to correspondence from members of the public.

This Government recognises the importance of responding to members of the public in an effective and timely manner, and the Cabinet Office published an updated Guide to Handling Correspondence for government departments and agencies on July 2021.

The guidance reasserts the standards for handling correspondence, including a 20 working day deadline for departments to respond to members of the public, criteria outlining when a response to a member of the public is required, and when a piece of correspondence from a member of the public should be transferred to another department. Following publication of the updated guidance, all departments have been reminded that they must follow the processes outlined in the guidance. The Attorney General’s Office always aims to respond to public correspondence within 20 working days where it falls within our remit.

My department's timeliness in responding to MP letters and Freedom of Information requests is among the best in the civil service. Since January 1st 2018, 80% of MP and Lords letters my department received were responded to within our target of 20 working days, and 99% of Freedom of Information requests were responded to within the statutory time limit. I am confident that public correspondence is responded to by my office in a similarly timely fashion and that every effort is made by my officials to respond as promptly as possible.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Attorney General, how many referrals the Crown Prosecution Service has received from the National Crime Agency's International Corruption Unit for charging decisions for each year in the last five years.

The CPS is committed to tackling economic crime, including where these crimes span multiple jurisdictions. The CPS works closely with the National Crime Agency (NCA) and other investigative agencies; this includes providing early investigative advice on cases, obtaining evidence from overseas using mutual legal assistance and proving support through its network of prosecutors deployed overseas.

The CPS does not breakdown referrals by individual departments within the NCA. The following data is available which shows the number of cases received by the CPS Specialist Fraud Division from the National Crime Agency for pre-charge decisions.

Pre-charge decision receipts

2016-20172017-20182018-20192019-20202020-2021
112620642

The following shows number of cases where charging decisions have been reached.

Pre-charge decision finalisations

2016-20172017-20182018-20192019-20202020-2021
02264234

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Attorney General, how many cases referred by the National Crime Agency's International Corruption Unit the Crown Prosecution Service has reached charging decisions on for each year in the last five years.

The CPS is committed to tackling economic crime, including where these crimes span multiple jurisdictions. The CPS works closely with the National Crime Agency (NCA) and other investigative agencies; this includes providing early investigative advice on cases, obtaining evidence from overseas using mutual legal assistance and proving support through its network of prosecutors deployed overseas.

The CPS does not breakdown referrals by individual departments within the NCA. The following data is available which shows the number of cases received by the CPS Specialist Fraud Division from the National Crime Agency for pre-charge decisions.

Pre-charge decision receipts

2016-20172017-20182018-20192019-20202020-2021
112620642

The following shows number of cases where charging decisions have been reached.

Pre-charge decision finalisations

2016-20172017-20182018-20192019-20202020-2021
02264234

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what overseas visits have been made by (a) herself, her predecessor or senior officials in her Department, (b) the Director of Public Prosecutions or senior CPS officials and (c) the Director of the Serious Fraud Office or senior officers over the last 12 months; which countries were visited; what matters were discussed; and whether covid-19 quarantine rules were followed by all people making such visits.

The Attorney General, Solicitor General and senior officials in the department have not undertaken any overseas visits in the last 12 months.

In June 2021, Lisa Osofsky (The Director of the Serious Fraud Office) and John Carroll (Chief Operating Officer of the Serious Fraud Office) visited the United States of America (USA). The purpose of the visit was to meet strategic partners and discuss collaboration and cooperation in tackling serious and complex economic crime. They both followed Covid protocols throughout their time abroad and on returning to the UK.

In October 2021, on a visit to the USA, the Director attended a work meeting with DOJ Senior Officials. In this meeting, she met with American Operational partners and discussed collaboration and cooperation in tackling serious and complex economic crime. The Director followed Covid protocols in place for foreign travel.

No overseas visits have been undertaken by any other Senior SFO Officer over the past 12 months.

Over the past 12 months, the Director of Public Prosecutions completed two overseas business trips, to Poland and the United States. During both visits, the DPP met key stakeholders, including HMG officials. Both of these visits provided an important opportunity to demonstrate support for CPS Liaison Prosecutors based in these jurisdictions and to cement the importance of their role and our cooperation with our international partners.

On both occasions, there were no requirements to quarantine on entry into either country, or on return to the UK.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
11th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the circumstances in which they would refer a bill passed by one of the devolved legislatures to the Supreme Court.

The Law Officers may refer the question of whether a Bill or any provision of a Bill would be within the legislative competence of a devolved legislature to the Supreme Court for a decision.

This power is set out in relation to the Scottish Parliament, the Senedd and the Northern Ireland Assembly in section 33 of the Scotland Act 1998, section 112 of the Government of Wales Act 2006, and section 11 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, respectively. The power must be exercised within four weeks of the Bill passing its final stage in the relevant devolved legislature.

The Law Officers exercise this power where we believe that a Bill, or a provision of a Bill, is outside the legislative competence of the relevant devolved legislature. The parameters of the devolved legislatures’ competence are set out in the relevant Acts of Parliament which have devolved various policy areas. The power in each case is discretionary and exercised in accordance with the wider public interest.

Turning to the particular Act of the Scottish Parliament to which the question refers, the UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Continuity) (Scotland) Bill passed its final stage in the Scottish Parliament on 22 December 2020. Having taken all relevant matters into consideration, the Law Officers decided that in all the circumstances to use their discretion not to refer the UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Continuity) (Scotland) Bill to the Supreme Court.

Lord Stewart of Dirleton
Advocate General for Scotland
11th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government why the law officers did not refer the UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Continuity) (Scotland) Act 2021 to Supreme Court within four weeks of the bill being passed by the Scottish Parliament.

The Law Officers may refer the question of whether a Bill or any provision of a Bill would be within the legislative competence of a devolved legislature to the Supreme Court for a decision.

This power is set out in relation to the Scottish Parliament, the Senedd and the Northern Ireland Assembly in section 33 of the Scotland Act 1998, section 112 of the Government of Wales Act 2006, and section 11 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, respectively. The power must be exercised within four weeks of the Bill passing its final stage in the relevant devolved legislature.

The Law Officers exercise this power where we believe that a Bill, or a provision of a Bill, is outside the legislative competence of the relevant devolved legislature. The parameters of the devolved legislatures’ competence are set out in the relevant Acts of Parliament which have devolved various policy areas. The power in each case is discretionary and exercised in accordance with the wider public interest.

Turning to the particular Act of the Scottish Parliament to which the question refers, the UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Continuity) (Scotland) Bill passed its final stage in the Scottish Parliament on 22 December 2020. Having taken all relevant matters into consideration, the Law Officers decided that in all the circumstances to use their discretion not to refer the UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Continuity) (Scotland) Bill to the Supreme Court.

Lord Stewart of Dirleton
Advocate General for Scotland
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Attorney General, how many open cases the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has closed due to the CPS sending queries to those that had submitted the case, but receiving no response in the allotted time, in (a) 2018, (b) 2019, (c) 2020 and (d) 2021.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) may close cases at the pre-charge stage as ‘pending response – further investigation’ for a number of reasons, which are not limited to queries about submitted cases. The reasons could include, for example, that the suspect had died. However, it is not possible to distinguish in the CPS figures between the reasons.

Closing a case that is pending response for further investigation is known as an ‘administrative finalisation’, not a legal decision, and may not be the end of the case. The table below shows the numbers finalised pending response for further investigation, excluding submissions for early advice (EA), per calendar year.

2018201920202021*

Pending Response - Further Investigation

(excluding EA)
30,78228,20923,9786,196

*In line with the CPS publication policy the 2021 figure covers January – March 2021.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Attorney General, how many (a) company self-referrals, (b) whistleblower, (c) victim, (d) professional advisory, (e) competitor and (f) other referrals have been made to the Serious Fraud Office in each financial year between 2015-16 and 2020-21.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) receives a large number of reports and referrals from multiple different sources relating to a wide range of offences. Whistleblower referrals have been routinely published in the SFO Annual Report on Whistleblowing Disclosures since 2017. The figures are set out below:

  • During the period from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021, the SFO managed 175 whistleblowing disclosures.
  • During the period from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020, the SFO managed 128 whistleblowing disclosures.
  • During the period from 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019, the SFO managed 137 whistleblowing disclosures.
  • During the period from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018, the SFO managed 102 whistleblowing disclosures.

The SFO does not hold a detailed breakdown of the number of referrals within each of the other categories requested. However, the total number of all other referrals made to the SFO within the time period requested are set out below:

  • During the period from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021 the SFO managed 1335 non whistleblower referrals.
  • During the period from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020 the SFO managed 1160 non whistleblower referrals.
  • During the period from 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019 the SFO managed 1151 non whistleblower referrals.
  • During the period from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018 the SFO managed 1045 non whistleblower referrals.
  • During the period from 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017 the SFO managed 1397 referrals – including whistleblower reports received in this financial year.
  • During the period from 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016 the SFO managed 2749 referrals – including whistleblower reports received in this financial year.
Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Attorney General, if she will examine the length of sentence handed to Sam Pybus under the unduly lenient sentence scheme.

My office received a number of referrals to review the sentence in this deeply disturbing case. I agree that the sentence appears too low, and I have referred it to the Court of Appeal to be reviewed. The case will be heard in due course and the Court of Appeal will decide whether to increase the sentence.

Suella Braverman
Attorney General
14th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they plan to have with the Serious Fraud Office about reports of British companies engaging in bribery overseas.

The SFO is an independent law enforcement agency, superintended by the Attorney General’s Office. As set out in the Framework Agreement between the two organisations there are regular meetings between the Law Officers and the Director of the SFO to discuss both the SFO performance at an organisational level and to provide an oversight of high-profile casework.

Lord Stewart of Dirleton
Advocate General for Scotland
14th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of allegations in the BBC’s Panorama programme on 13 September that British American Tobacco paid a bribe to the then President of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe.

Following a three-year investigation into British American Tobacco, in January 2021 the SFO determined that this case did not meet the evidential tests as defined in the Code for Crown Prosecutors. As with all cases that fail this first limb of the Code, it was therefore not in the public interest to continue with the investigation.

The SFO is aware of the allegations made in the BBC’s Panorama programme in September 2021.

The SFO continues to assist its international law enforcement partners with ongoing investigations related to this matter, and will assess any new material on its merits, as with any allegation of serious fraud, bribery or corruption. The SFO does not disclose the actions it takes to assess allegations.

Lord Stewart of Dirleton
Advocate General for Scotland
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Attorney General, with reference to the BBC Panorama programme of 12 September 2021, whether the Serious Fraud Office plans to review its assessment of the compliance of British American Tobacco with the Bribery Act 2010 in response to the findings of the Panorama programme.

Following a three-year investigation into British American Tobacco, in January 2021 the SFO determined that this case did not meet the evidential tests as defined in the Code for Crown Prosecutors. As with all cases that fail this first limb of the Code, it was therefore not in the public interest to continue with the investigation.

The SFO is aware of the allegations made in the BBC’s Panorama programme of 12 September 2021 and will review and assess any material which is provided to it.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what plans she has to refer the allegations made in the BBC’s Panorama programme of 12 September 2021 regarding British American Tobacco to the Serious Fraud Office.

The SFO is aware of the allegations made in the BBC’s Panorama programme of 12 September 2021. Following a three-year investigation into the British American Tobacco, in January 2021 the SFO determined that this case did not meet the evidential tests as defined in the Code for Crown Prosecutors. As with all cases that fail this first limb of the Code, it was therefore not in the public interest to continue with the investigation.

The SFO continues to assist its international law enforcement partners with ongoing investigations related to this matter and will assess any new material it receives. The SFO does not comment on the actions it takes to assess allegations.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Attorney General, if she will list the companies that have supplied Union Jack flags to her Department since 2019.

The Attorney General’s Office (AGO), Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), Serious Fraud Office (SFO), Government Legal Department (GLD) and Her Majesty’s Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI) have not purchased any Union Flags over the last two years.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Attorney General, how many and what proportion of Union Jack flags purchased by her Department in each of the last two years were manufactured in the UK.

The Attorney General’s Office (AGO), Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), Serious Fraud Office (SFO), Government Legal Department (GLD) and Her Majesty’s Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI) have not purchased any Union Flags over the last two years.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Attorney General, whether her Department's investigation into British American Tobacco in South Africa and Zimbabwe included investigating the allegations and interviewing the witnesses in the BBC Panorama programme on this topic; and whether the Serious Fraud Office plan investigating these allegations further.

Following a three-year investigation, the SFO determined that this case did not meet the evidential tests as defined in the Code for Crown Prosecutors. As with all cases that fail this first limb of the Code, it was therefore not in the public interest to continue with the investigation. The SFO does not provide detailed commentary on how it conducts its investigations.

The SFO continues to assist our international law enforcement partners with ongoing investigations related to this matter and will assess any new material it receives.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the decision making process within the Serious Fraud Office on whether to open, continue or close a criminal investigation into a corporate entity.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has robust assurance processes in place to ensure effective decision-making on whether to open, continue, or close a criminal investigation into a corporate entity. This includes the SFO’s Case Evaluation Board (CEB) and Case Review Panels (CRPs), both of which are chaired by the SFO General Counsel.

The CEB reviews intelligence submissions against the Director’s Statement of Principle and assesses strategic and tactical risks, costs, and resource implications to make an informed recommendation to the Director on whether to initiate or decline an investigation. CRPs seek to scrutinise all cases at least twice a year to ensure that sound judgement and appropriate investigative and legal expertise are being used in cases, and that cases are progressing appropriately and comply with all relevant legal and operational guidance.

While the SFO exercises independence in its individual casework decisions, I am regularly updated by the Director and her senior leadership team on the SFO’s casework.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what the Serious Fraud Office’s conviction rate was for (a) individuals and (b) corporations in 2020-21.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO), by its specialist nature, takes on a relatively small number of large, complex economic crime cases which can take several years to investigate. This means that small changes in case numbers can lead to significant fluctuations in in the SFO’s conviction rate.

Against this context, in 2020-21 the SFO’s conviction rate for individuals was 67 percent, which included three convictions in the $1.7bn Unaoil bribery case and one guilty plea in the Petrofac bribery case. No corporations were brought to trial in 2020-21. The SFO also secured two Deferred Prosecution Agreements against corporates in 2020-21, returning £47.4m in fines and penalties to the UK taxpayer and compelling these organisations to reform.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
21st Jul 2021
To ask the Attorney General, whether he has had a discussion with the Director of the Serious Fraud Office on a renewal or extension to the five-year appointment to that post.

I have had no discussions with the Director of the Serious Fraud Office on a renewal or extension to the five-year appointment to that post, which is not due to come to an end until August 2023.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what his current policy is on the wearing of face coverings in his (a) Department, (b) departmental agencies and (c) related bodies during the covid-19 outbreak.

Throughout the pandemic, the Civil Service, including the Attorney General’s Office (AGO), Government Legal Department (GLD), Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI), have followed, and continue to follow, the latest government guidance in relation to managing the risk of COVID-19 in the workplace, including any variations between the four nations of the UK.

In England, the BEIS ‘Working Safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)’ guidance provides sensible precautions employers can take to manage risk and support their staff. The guidance is available via this link: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-covid-19/offices-factories-and-labs#offices-7-2.

Whilst it is for individual employers to determine which mitigations are appropriate to adopt as they review their workplace risk assessments in light of the updated guidance. Face coverings, which are no longer required by law, are one possible mitigation employers could adopt if the situation / context warranted it.

HMCTS requires all court users to continue to wear face coverings in court buildings. The CPS’s advice to staff, which has been agreed with trade unions is that, unless exempt, all court users are required to wear a face covering in all public areas of court and tribunal buildings.

The AGO, GLD, CPS, SFO and HMCPSI fully support individuals who choose to wear a face covering in the workplace.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the CPS has adequate resources to prosecute hate crime against the Jewish community (a) on social media and (b) in communities across the UK.

I know the CPS recognises the serious impact hate crimes have on peoples’ lives and will always seek to prosecute where there is sufficient evidence to do so, regardless of the offence or how it is committed. Their efforts have led to a continued rise in successful sentence uplifts for recorded hate crime, which this year reached its highest rate yet at 79.1% of cases.

Each CPS Area also has a Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor as a strategic hate crime lead and nationally there is a hate crime lead at Chief Crown Prosecutor level. A network of dedicated Hate Crime Coordinators operate across all 14 CPS Areas, providing experience and expertise on matters relating to hate crime and supporting front line prosecutors to secure sentence uplifts.

The CPS directly engages with communities affected by hate crime to ensure a greater awareness of the law and how it is applied. Within the Jewish community, the CPS sits on the cross-government antisemitism working group with the Community Security Trust, Board of Deputies, and Jewish Leadership Council. The CPS External Consultation Group on hate crime provides a further community perspective on prosecutorial activity.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of the time taken by the Crown Prosecution Services to make a decision on whether to prosecute in respect of Operation Sheridan.

The Attorney General and I are responsible for superintending the Crown Prosecution Service but do not have oversight of specific cases.

Operation Sheridan is a live investigation under active review by a team of lawyers from the CPS Specialist Fraud Division. It is a large and complex case with significant sensitivities. It would be inappropriate for me to comment further on individual case details.

The CPS have confirmed that they have substantial legal resource devoted to progressing the case and there is also significant management oversight, at a senior level from both CPS and police.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
7th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the need for improvements in the implementation of the public interest test in decisions about whether to prosecute in cases involving a suspect who may also be a survivor of domestic abuse.

All decisions to prosecute are made in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors, and a case must meet the evidential and public interest stages of the Full Code Test.

We recognise that suspects may also be victims of domestic abuse. Accordingly, the Code acknowledges that suspects may have a lower level of culpability if they are compelled, coerced, or are victims of crime. The sixth edition of Charging (The Director's Guidance) published in December 2020 reinforces that in such circumstances it may be appropriate to offer an of court disposal or not to proceed with a case.

The CPS also has bespoke guidance illustrating how bespoke conditional cautions can support offenders in appropriate cases.

Lord Stewart of Dirleton
Advocate General for Scotland
14th Jul 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what assessment he has made of the (a) reasons for the reduction in rape prosecutions and (b) effect of that reduction on the reporting of rape.

The CPS is determined to drive up the number of rape and serious sexual offence (‘RASSO’) cases going to court. Too few victims are seeing justice and reversing that is an absolute priority. The reasons for the decline in prosecutions are complex, with the Government rape review finding no single factor is to blame.

The CPS is working tirelessly in making improvements to the handling of these sensitive cases through its RASSO 2025 Strategy and the Joint National RASSO Action Plan with the police. This includes targeted work supporting victims in order to increase confidence in reporting. Following the impact of Covid-19 on prosecution volumes, it is encouraging to see increased volumes quarter on quarter – however, it is recognised that there is still work to be done.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what steps he is taking to strengthen young people's (a) engagement with and (b) understanding of (i) the work of the Crown Prosecution Service and (ii) other services provided by his Department.

The CPS has a strong record of outreach programmes to engage young people in its work, and to promote career opportunities, including through apprenticeships.

The CPS has over 400 apprentices currently enrolled onto programme across England and Wales and has a strong record of consistently meeting the apprenticeship targets as set out by Cabinet Office. At the end of June 2021, CPS was at 4.9% apprenticeship starts against the 2.3% target. 49% of the apprentices are aged 16 to 24 years old and 4% are aged under 19 years old.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Jul 2021
To ask the Attorney General, how many items of written correspondence from hon. Members sent to Ministers of their Department have been (a) received and (b) replied to since 1 April 2020; and how many of those responses were responded to by (i) Ministers and (ii) officials of his Department.

The Government recognises the great importance of the effective and timely handling of correspondence.

The Cabinet Office is currently compiling data on the timeliness of responses to Hon. and Rt Hon. members from Government Departments and Agencies. This data will be released, and made available to Members, in due course.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
29th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much debt is outstanding under confiscation orders obtained by the Crown Prosecution Service; and what assessment they have made of how much of the debt is recoverable.

The responsibility of paying a confiscation order remains with the defendant. Her Majesty’s Court and Tribunal Service (HMCTS) is responsible for the enforcement of all domestic confiscation orders, while the CPS will assist in some enforcement processes – for instance, by requesting mutual legal assistance from overseas jurisdictions in respect of assets located abroad.

As of the end of the last financial year (31 March 2021), the outstanding debt on CPS obtained confiscation orders was £1.3bn (excluding interest). Of these, the CPS is assisting HMCTS on enforcement action in relation to £600m, of which £170m has been assessed as being recoverable. There is no data held by the CPS in relation to the recoverable debt on confiscation orders that are being enforced solely by HMCTS.

The CPS set up a dedicated enforcement unit in their Proceeds of Crime Division in 2018 to specifically address the issue of enforcement. Where the CPS can take money from those who have profited from crime, they will not hesitate to do so. In 2019/20 over £100 million was recovered on CPS confiscation orders, stopping hundreds of criminals benefitting from their ill-gotten gains.

Lord Stewart of Dirleton
Advocate General for Scotland
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Attorney General, how many cases of malicious prosecution the Crown Prosecution Service or any other previous prosecuting has [had upheld against it] since 1999.

In respect of the two prosecuting agencies I superintend – the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) - neither have had any cases of malicious prosecution upheld against them since 1999.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of his Department's energy usage in (a) 2019, (b) 2020 and (c) 2021.

The following table sets out the total expenditure on energy (£) by the Government Legal Department (GLD) including HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI), the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the Serious Fraud Office (SFO). These figures are published as part of each Department’s respective annual reports.

Total Expenditure on Energy (£)

Financial year

GLD + HMCPSI

CPS

SFO

2018-19

568,725

757,000

135,000

2019-20

672,193

657,000

174,000

2020-21

333,033

357,000

Awaiting National Audit Office approval

The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) is unable to provide this information. As published in the HM Procurator General and Treasury Solicitor Annual Report and Accounts 2019/20, ‘The AGO occupies shared accommodation in 5-8 The Sanctuary, London and it is not possible to separately identify their energy or water consumption or recycling of waste’.

The AGO has recently moved, all accommodation interests are now managed through the Government Property Agency (GPA) and that body will publish any sustainability data in relation to the AGOs occupation within 102 Petty France, London.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Attorney General, for what reason does the CPS withdraw its support for rape cases going to full trial after a trial date has been set.

When deciding whether to prosecute a criminal case, prosecutors must follow the Code for Crown Prosecutors. This is the starting point for every decision they make and requires prosecutors to apply two key tests: the evidential test and the public interest test.

Prosecutors have a continuous duty to review cases, and there are a range of reasons that may mean a case no longer meets the Code test. The most common changes that result in a discontinuance include new undermining evidence, existing evidence being ruled as inadmissible, and victim withdrawal from proceedings.

The CPS is committed to improving victims’ confidence in and experience of the criminal justice process. The CPS is working tirelessly with its cross-government and criminal justice partners to make sure victims are supported from the moment they report a rape or sexual assault through the criminal justice process.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Attorney General, whether a risk assessment has been carried out on the secure holding of CCTV footage within his Department.

As has been the case under successive Administrations, it is not government policy to comment on security procedures in government buildings.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Attorney General, whether any Departmental business has been conducted on private email addresses; and what mechanisms are in place to ensure that full records are kept of that business.

As has been the case under successive Administrations, it is not government policy to comment on security procedures in government buildings.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
1st Jul 2021
What steps he is taking to increase the number of prosecutions relating to domestic violence.

This Government has introduced the landmark Domestic Abuse Act 2021.

Coordinated multi-agency action and supporting victims are key components of the CPS’s ambitious programme of work published in January, which will help narrow the disparity between reporting and criminal justice outcomes.

The CPS recently hosted a virtual domestic abuse conference with the police and the courts, sharing best practice and innovation.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Jul 2021
What steps he is taking to increase the number of prosecutions relating to domestic violence.

This Government has introduced the landmark Domestic Abuse Act 2021.

Coordinated multi-agency action and supporting victims are key components of the CPS’s ambitious programme of work published in January, which will help narrow the disparity between reporting and criminal justice outcomes.

The CPS recently hosted a virtual domestic abuse conference with the police and the courts, sharing best practice and innovation.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Jul 2021
If he will hold discussions with the CPS on improving prosecution rates for assault of emergency workers in (a) Kettering, (b) North Northamptonshire and (c) England.

I agree that we should do everything we can to protect our emergency workers. I hope that the Honourable Member will be pleased to know that between 2019 and 2020 the numbers of prosecutions for these offences increased by 27.2% in the East Midlands CPS Area and by 25.1% overall across England and Wales.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Jul 2021
What recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the referral process for members of the public and victims to request review of sentences under the Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme.

It is important that the ULS scheme is easy to operate. That is why there is no requirement to be connected to the case, and no particular form in order to make a reference.

The revised Victims’ Code, which came into force earlier this year, contains for the first time the entitlement of victims to be informed about the scheme. This ensures that victims know about the scheme, promptly after sentence and so referrals can be made within the time limit.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)