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

Michael Ellis
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)

Shadow Ministers / Spokeperson
Labour
Lord Falconer of Thoroton (LAB - Life peer)
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
None available
Select Committee Inquiry
None available
Written Answers
Friday 10th September 2021
Serious Fraud Office: Public Appointments
To ask the Attorney General, whether he has had a discussion with the Director of the Serious Fraud Office on …
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
Friday 17th September 2021
11:04
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

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
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
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
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
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
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
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
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
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
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
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
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
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
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
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
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
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
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
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
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
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
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
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
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
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
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
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
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
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
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
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
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
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
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Attorney General, when his Department’s current non-executive directors were appointed; what oversight officials of his Department had of the Ministerial appointments of those non-executive directors; and what assessment his Department made of the applicants' experience against the requirements for breadth and depth of experience set out in the Cabinet Office guidance on Departmental Boards of November 2014.

The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) does not have any non-executive directors sitting on its board. Whilst the AGO aligns its governance structures as closely as possible to Cabinet Office guidance, the appointment of non-executive directors would not be proportionate given the size of the AGO (headcount 54).

Michael Ellis
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what declarations of interests have been made by his Department’s non-executive directors; and where those interests are published.

The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) does not have any non-executive directors sitting on its board. Whilst the AGO aligns its governance structures as closely as possible to Cabinet Office guidance, the appointment of non-executive directors would not be proportionate given the size of the AGO (headcount 54).

Michael Ellis
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what financial payments his Department makes to its non-executive directors; how many times his departmental Board will meet in 2021-22; and what work the non-executive directors undertake.

The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) does not have any non-executive directors sitting on its board. Whilst the AGO aligns its governance structures as closely as possible to Cabinet Office guidance, the appointment of non-executive directors would not be proportionate given the size of the AGO (headcount 54).

Michael Ellis
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what private companies are contracted to provide security services at his Department’s buildings that contain Ministerial private offices; and whether there are closed circuit television cameras in any Ministerial private offices within his Department's estate.

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

Michael Ellis
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
16th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Government Legal Department, in any of its official (1) paperwork, (2) guidance, (3) instructions, (4) manuals, or (5) other documents, (a) has replaced, or (b) intends to replace, the word “mother” with the phrase “parent who has given birth”.

GLD has not replaced, nor does it intend to replace, the word “mother” with the phrase “parent who has given birth” in any of its official (1) paperwork, (2) guidance, (3) instructions, (4) manuals, or (5) other documents.

Lord Stewart of Dirleton
Advocate General for Scotland
16th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Lord Wolfson of Tredegar on 14 June concerning recent acquittals in the case of perverting the Court of Justice in relation to the Hillsborough disaster (HL Deb, cols 1668–71), what discussions they have had with the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) as to why the decision of the Court was not appealed; whether the DPP gave advice on the decision not to appeal; and whether the DPP intends to publish the advice not to appeal.

The decision not to pursue an appeal in these cases was made by the CPS team managing the original prosecution after seeking advice from senior counsel. Prosecution decisions are made independently from Government. The Director of Public Prosecutions did not provide advice on these cases.

To bring an appeal, the prosecution would have to be able to show that the Judge’s decision was wrong in law, that he had made an error about the facts or that his decision was otherwise unreasonable. After careful consideration, especially for the families involved, the CPS concluded that it could not meet this test.

On 26 May 2021, the CPS issued a public statement on this ruling and has confirmed publicly that the decision not to appeal was based on the conclusion that the legal test was not met.

Lord Stewart of Dirleton
Advocate General for Scotland
16th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Lord Wolfson of Tredegar on 14 June concerning recent acquittals in the case of perverting the Court of Justice in relation to the Hillsborough disaster (HL Deb, cols 1668–71), whether they have discussed with the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) the reasons for not bringing charges in relation to misconduct in public office; and whether they have asked the DPP to publish those reasons.

The CPS carefully considered the available evidence against a wide range of suspects but the Code for Crown Prosecutors only permits the CPS to commence a prosecution where there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction and where it is in the public interests to do so. The CPS brought prosecutions where the Code Test was met. The CPS makes prosecution decisions independently from Government.

In June 2017, the CPS published a public statement following the decision to charge the three individuals with perverting the course of justice alongside other suspects referred for a charging decision at the same time.

On 15 June, the DPP appeared before the Justice Select Committee and outlined the reasons why the CPS did not pursue misconduct in public office charges. Charges of misconduct in public office would only have been available against two of the three defendants and, the CPS assessed that perverting the course of justice was the correct charge against all three. The conduct alleged would have been identical whatever the charge selected. The DPP’s evidence is publicly available on the Justice Select Committee website.

Lord Stewart of Dirleton
Advocate General for Scotland
15th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Lord Wolfson of Tredegar on 14 June concerning recent acquittals in the case of perverting the Court of Justice in relation to the Hillsborough disaster (HL Deb, cols 1668–71), what plans they have to ask the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to revert to the practice of earlier DPPs of publishing their advice on their website.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) did not advise on these cases and there is no DPP advice to publish. Whenever appropriate the CPS will look to provide more detailed explanations about its decision making on its website.

Throughout criminal proceedings relating to the Hillsborough disaster, the CPS has issued regular press statements, and published reasons for its decision making. In particular, in June 2017, the CPS published a public statement following the decision to charge the three individuals with perverting the course of justice alongside other suspects referred for a charging decision at the same time.

On 26 May 2021 the CPS issued a public statement on this ruling and has confirmed publicly that the decision not to appeal was based on the conclusion that the legal test to do so was not met.

Lord Stewart of Dirleton
Advocate General for Scotland
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Attorney General, whether his Department has referred any Freedom of Information requests received by his Department to the central Cabinet Office Clearing House on Freedom of Information requests for advice on handling, in the last two years.

FOI requests are referred to the Clearing House in line with the published criteria available on gov.uk. The Clearing House, which has been in existence since 2004, provides advice to ensure a consistent approach across government to requests for information.

Lucy Frazer
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
7th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to improve the rate at which perpetrators of crime are charged in the criminal justice system.

The decision to charge suspects in England and Wales with criminal offences is made either by the police or by the CPS depending on the nature of the offence involved. The CPS make the decision to charge in serious cases but over the last five years the police have made the charging decision in 61% to 63% of the cases that are prosecuted by the CPS. In cases in which the CPS make the decision to charge, the CPS had a charging rate of between 74.5% and 77.7% over the last five years.

While the police and other investigators are responsible for conducting inquiries into any alleged crime and gathering evidence to inform a charging decision, prosecutors work closely with police during the investigation stage to assist with the building of strong cases. The recently introduced Director of Public Prosecution’s Guidance on Charging 6th Edition (DG6) supports this work to ensure cases are robustly prepared by police and prosecutors pre-charge.

This reflects aspects of the revised Attorney General’s Guidelines on Disclosure; both came into effect in England and Wales on the 31 December 2020.

Lord Stewart of Dirleton
Advocate General for Scotland
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Attorney General, whether his Department operates a red, amber and green rating system for categorising Freedom of Information requests according to their presentational sensitivity.

The Attorney General’s Office does not operate a red, amber and green rating system for categorising Freedom of Information requests according to their presentational sensitivity.

All FOI requests are treated exactly the same, regardless of who the request is from and their occupation.

Lucy Frazer
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what steps she is taking to ensure the prosecution of people whose acts towards fellow passengers on domestic flights are perceived to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on disability or perceived disability.

Courts in the United Kingdom have the power to deal with offences which are committed on board any aircraft whilst on the ground or in the air over the United Kingdom, and on “British-controlled aircraft” whilst “in flight” outside United Kingdom airspace. In such instances, as with any crime, the CPS will prosecute cases that are referred to it by the police and other law enforcement agencies where the test set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors is met.

The Code makes it clear that where an offence involves hostility or prejudice based upon race, religion, sexual orientation, transgender identity, disability, gender or age, it is more likely that a prosecution will be required in the public interest. Where a crime is found by a court to involve hostility based on a disability, this will be an aggravating factor in the sentence and the court must openly state the crime involved this hostility.

Michael Ellis
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
24th May 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what meetings (a) he and (b) the Solicitor General have had with women's groups to discuss measures to prevent (a) gender-based violence and (b) domestic violence since February 2020.

Ministers engage regularly with stakeholders from across the justice sector and value the importance of listening to and the opportunity to understand their views in relation to relevant issues. Meetings with external organisations, including women’s groups, are published as part of the quarterly Ministerial transparency returns.

The following table includes a list of meetings the Law Officers have had with stakeholders and women’s groups since February 2020:

Minister

Date

Name of organisation or role

Purpose of meeting

Geoffrey Cox

2020-02-11

Victims' Commissioner, Victims' Commissioner for London, End Violence Against Women and Girls

Meeting to discuss cross-government work on rape.

Michael Ellis

2020-01-23

The Lighthouse

Visit to discuss their work supporting victims of Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse

Michael Ellis

2020-01-23

Victim Support

Visit to discuss their work supporting victims of crime

Suella Braverman

2020-04-22

Victims' Commissioner

Introductory meeting to discuss work on Rape And Serious Sexual Offending, the Cross-Government End-to-End Rape Review and Domestic Abuse

Suella Braverman

2020-09-09

Victims' Commissioner

To discuss criminal justice issues of interest to the Victims' Commissioner.

Suella Braverman

2020-11-04

Victims' Commissioner

Routine meeting to discuss issues of relevance to the Victims’ Commissioner (including rape and domestic prosecutions, the approach to disclosure, and wider victims’ work).

Lucy Frazer

2021-04-20

Domestic Abuse Commissioner

Introductory meeting to discuss issues in relation to Domestic Abuse, including the prosecution of DA cases during the pandemic.

Lucy Frazer

2021-04-26

Rape Crisis

Meeting to discuss work to improve the criminal justice response to rape and serious sexual offences (‘RASSO’).

Lucy Frazer & Michael Ellis

2021-05-10

Victims' Commissioner

Routine meeting to discuss progress towards publication of the cross-government rape review, and the impact of the pandemic on victims.

Michael Ellis
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
24th May 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what proportion of criminal cases have been dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service where automatism has been used as a defence in each of the last three years.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) does not maintain a central record of any defence employed by defendants in criminal proceedings. This information could only be obtained by an examination of CPS case files, which would incur disproportionate cost.

Lucy Frazer
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
24th May 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what proportion of correspondence sent by hon. Members to his Department received a substantive response within the service standard in each month of (a) 2018, (b) 2019 and (c) 2020.

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
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
11th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they will make a decision about the Charity Commission's request to refer the Royal Albert Hall to the charity tribunal.

The Charity Commission sought the previous Attorney General’s permission to refer a number of questions to the Tribunal concerning the Corporation of the Hall of Arts and Sciences – the Royal Albert Hall – which is a registered charity. While the Charity Commission has the power to refer questions to the Tribunal, it may only do so with the consent of the Attorney General, as set out in section 325 of the Charities Act 2011.

The issues concerned in this case are complex. The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) has engaged with the parties since the original request was made in order to explore the issues, which involve both modern charity law and its application to an organisation established over 150 years ago. This engagement has helped to refine the issues.

Before taking a decision on whether to consent to the latest iteration of the Commission’s request, the previous Attorney General asked the Commission and the Corporation to try to find a way forward without recourse to litigation. The AGO is awaiting an indication from the parties regarding the outcome of that process.

Lord Stewart of Dirleton
Advocate General for Scotland
20th May 2021
Whether his Department has received representations on the incorporation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into Scots law.

The Member for East Renfrewshire will be aware of my decision, alongside the Advocate General’s for Scotland, to refer the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill to the Supreme Court on legislative competence grounds. We have also referred the European Charter of Local Self-Government (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill.

It would not be appropriate for me to comment in detail on what are live proceedings.

Ultimately, our concerns with regards to these Bills do not relate to their policy content, nor to the approach the Scottish Parliament has taken in incorporating these international agreements into Scots law. Rather they relate to specific provisions in the Bill and whether they fall outside the Scottish Parliament’s legislative powers.

Michael Ellis
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
11th May 2021
To ask the Attorney General, how many CPS prosecutors have been in employment in (a) 2018, (b) 2019, (c) 2020 and (d) 2021.

The number of CPS prosecutors who have been in employment in (a) 2018, (b) 2019, (c) 2020 and (d) 2021 is as follows:

(a) 2485 (31 March 2018)

(b) 2579 (31 March 2019)

(c) 2692 (31 March 2020)

(d) 2943 (31 March 2021)

Source Data: Trent and Oracle HR Database

Lucy Frazer
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
11th May 2021
To ask the Attorney General, how many of the 167 cases referred to the Crown Prosecution Service by police under sections (a) 2(1) and (b) 2(A) of the Suicide Act 1961 between 1 April 2009 and 31 July 2020 related to a person with a terminal illness.

CPS Policy on assisted suicide provides guidance to prosecutors on assessing the evidential and public interest stages in the Code for Crown Prosecutors when reaching decisions in cases of encouraging or assisting suicide.

The Policy promotes consistency of decision making and is very clear about the factors which are to be considered both for and against prosecution. It sets out clear guidance about the importance of establishing whether the decision of the person who wants to commit suicide is voluntary, clear, settled, and informed, and whether the decision has been made without any pressure from the suspect.

The CPS publishes information collated from manual records on cases relating to Assisted Suicide. From 1 April 2009 up to 31 January 2021, there have been 167 cases referred to the CPS by the police that have been recorded as assisted suicide. Of these 167 cases:

  • 110 were not proceeded with by the CPS;
  • 32 cases were withdrawn by the police;
  • eight are currently ongoing cases;
  • three cases of encouraging or assisting suicide have resulted in a conviction;
  • one case of assisted suicide was charged and acquitted after trial in May 2015; and

eight cases were referred onwards for prosecution for homicide or other serious crime.

Of the 110 cases not proceeded with by the CPS, manual records indicate:

  • 29 - did not meet the evidential stage.
  • 45 - were not in the public interest.
  • 30 – where information on either the evidential test or the public interest test is not recorded.

A further six cases are recorded with more than one suspect in the same case; these resulted in a mixed outcome where the evidential stage was not met for some suspects and the public interest test was not met for the others.

CPS manual records do not capture specific case circumstances, including those relating to persons with a terminal illness.

The CPS collects data to assist in the effective management of its prosecution functions. The CPS does not collect data that constitutes official statistics as defined in the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007.

Lucy Frazer
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
11th May 2021
To ask the Attorney General, how many of the 167 cases referred to the CPS by police under the Suicide Act 1961, Sections 2(1) and 2(A), between 1 April 2009 and 31 July 2020 did not result in a charge; and how many of those cases failed to pass the (a) evidential and (b) public interest stage.

CPS Policy on assisted suicide provides guidance to prosecutors on assessing the evidential and public interest stages in the Code for Crown Prosecutors when reaching decisions in cases of encouraging or assisting suicide.

The Policy promotes consistency of decision making and is very clear about the factors which are to be considered both for and against prosecution. It sets out clear guidance about the importance of establishing whether the decision of the person who wants to commit suicide is voluntary, clear, settled, and informed, and whether the decision has been made without any pressure from the suspect.

The CPS publishes information collated from manual records on cases relating to Assisted Suicide. From 1 April 2009 up to 31 January 2021, there have been 167 cases referred to the CPS by the police that have been recorded as assisted suicide. Of these 167 cases:

  • 110 were not proceeded with by the CPS;
  • 32 cases were withdrawn by the police;
  • eight are currently ongoing cases;
  • three cases of encouraging or assisting suicide have resulted in a conviction;
  • one case of assisted suicide was charged and acquitted after trial in May 2015; and

eight cases were referred onwards for prosecution for homicide or other serious crime.

Of the 110 cases not proceeded with by the CPS, manual records indicate:

  • 29 - did not meet the evidential stage.
  • 45 - were not in the public interest.
  • 30 – where information on either the evidential test or the public interest test is not recorded.

A further six cases are recorded with more than one suspect in the same case; these resulted in a mixed outcome where the evidential stage was not met for some suspects and the public interest test was not met for the others.

CPS manual records do not capture specific case circumstances, including those relating to persons with a terminal illness.

The CPS collects data to assist in the effective management of its prosecution functions. The CPS does not collect data that constitutes official statistics as defined in the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007.

Lucy Frazer
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
11th May 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Policy for Prosecutors in Respect of Cases of Encouraging and Assisting Suicide between 1 April 2009 and 1 April 2021.

CPS Policy on assisted suicide provides guidance to prosecutors on assessing the evidential and public interest stages in the Code for Crown Prosecutors when reaching decisions in cases of encouraging or assisting suicide.

The Policy promotes consistency of decision making and is very clear about the factors which are to be considered both for and against prosecution. It sets out clear guidance about the importance of establishing whether the decision of the person who wants to commit suicide is voluntary, clear, settled, and informed, and whether the decision has been made without any pressure from the suspect.

The CPS publishes information collated from manual records on cases relating to Assisted Suicide. From 1 April 2009 up to 31 January 2021, there have been 167 cases referred to the CPS by the police that have been recorded as assisted suicide. Of these 167 cases:

  • 110 were not proceeded with by the CPS;
  • 32 cases were withdrawn by the police;
  • eight are currently ongoing cases;
  • three cases of encouraging or assisting suicide have resulted in a conviction;
  • one case of assisted suicide was charged and acquitted after trial in May 2015; and

eight cases were referred onwards for prosecution for homicide or other serious crime.

Of the 110 cases not proceeded with by the CPS, manual records indicate:

  • 29 - did not meet the evidential stage.
  • 45 - were not in the public interest.
  • 30 – where information on either the evidential test or the public interest test is not recorded.

A further six cases are recorded with more than one suspect in the same case; these resulted in a mixed outcome where the evidential stage was not met for some suspects and the public interest test was not met for the others.

CPS manual records do not capture specific case circumstances, including those relating to persons with a terminal illness.

The CPS collects data to assist in the effective management of its prosecution functions. The CPS does not collect data that constitutes official statistics as defined in the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007.

Lucy Frazer
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Attorney General, how many victims contacted the CPS to make a referral under the Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme in the most recent time period for which figures are available; whether his Department holds data on the number of referrals by type of offence in the relevant cases; and how many of those referrals resulted in a change to the sentence length of the offender.

Requests for referral under the Unduly Lenient Sentence (ULS) Scheme are made to the Attorney General’s Office (AGO). Many victims contact the AGO directly and do not go to the CPS, and therefore the CPS do not hold all relevant data. All requests made via the CPS are reflected in the AGO statistics.

The AGO received 787 requests to review sentences under the ULS in 2020 and 144 requests were from victims and family members of victims. Of those 84 were eligible for review within the scheme and 14 of those were referred to the Court of Appeal. The data held by the AGO shows of the 14 cases referred: 4 were homicide cases, 8 were non-fatal offences against the person and 2 cases were categorised as rape and sexual offences. The Court of Appeal increased the sentence in 9 of those cases.

Lucy Frazer
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what mandatory training on domestic abuse CPS prosecutors have received in the last 12 months; what proportion of prosecutors have completed that training; and what evaluation has been undertaken on effectiveness of that training.

The Crown Prosecution Service takes cases of domestic abuse extremely seriously. CPS prosecutors undertake specific e-learning modules with domestic abuse training delivered to all new lawyers joining CPS Areas. In the past 12 months, 349 staff have completed evidence led prosecution e-learning and 303 advocates have completed the domestic abuse drills course (an advocacy-based course supporting prosecutors dealing with domestic abuse cases, which covers issues around bail, guilty pleas, special measures, and case management). In addition to these mandatory modules, wider training on domestic abuse is also available to prosecutors.

As part of an ambitious domestic abuse programme launched in January 2021, the CPS is working with sector experts to review the current e-learning modules, to create additional learning opportunities and share messages with staff. The recent Domestic Abuse Best Practice Framework Conference demonstrates how key information can be shared virtually with prosecutors.

Lucy Frazer
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
23rd Apr 2021
To ask the Attorney General, how many and what proportion of victims that contacted the CPS to make a unduly lenient sentence referral had that referral rejected for being outside the 28 day time limit from the point of sentencing.

Unfortunately, the CPS does not hold this information. The 28-day statutory time limit is absolute; the statute provides no power to extend or to apply for leave to refer sentences to the Court of Appeal out of time. I very much welcome the introduction of the new Victim’s Code which was introduced on 1 April 2021 and which places an obligation on Witness Care Officers to notify victims about the unduly lenient sentence scheme.

Lucy Frazer
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Attorney General, whether officials in his Department have received remuneration for paid work for organisations or companies outside of Government in the latest period for which data is available.

On 23 April, the Cabinet Secretary wrote to the Chair of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee on the management of outside interests in the Civil Service.

The Committee published this letter on 26 April. It can be found here:

https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/5623/documents/55584/default/

The Cabinet Secretary’s letter sets out a series of steps to improve processes. This programme of work will also take account of any recommendations that emerge from Nigel Boardman’s review.

The Civil Service Management Code sets out, at paragraph 4.3.4, the requirement that civil servants must seek permission before accepting any outside employment which might affect their work either directly or indirectly. The applicable principles are those set out in the Business Appointment Rules. The Civil Service Management Code is published here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/civil-servants-terms-and-conditions

Where the civil servant is a member of the departmental board any outside employment, as well as other relevant interests will be published as part of the Annual Report and Accounts or other transparency publication.

Lucy Frazer
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
31st Mar 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what estimate she has made of the number of CPS prosecutions that have been classified as no longer in the public interest as a result of delays in criminal trials beginning in each of the last five years.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) case outcome records compiled in the Case Management System include an allocation of a principal reason for finalised prosecutions not resulting in a conviction (non-conviction outcomes), including the numbers which failed for public interest reasons.

The CPS does not have a specific reason accounting for delays in criminal trials. However, the category ‘Other charge/indictment; loss/harm minor from single incident; delay between offence/charge and trial’ may be allocated. This can apply where there has been a delay since the commission of the offence, or since the defendant was charged, leading either to the case being dropped by the CPS, or stopped by the court on the grounds of abuse of process. It is not possible to further disaggregate these reasons.

The table below shows the number of defendants allocated this reason in each of the last five years, and the six months April to September 2020

2015-2016

2016-2017

2017-2018

2018-2019

2019-2020

April - Sept 2020

Other charge/indictment, loss/harm minor from single incident, delay between offence/charge and trial

5,706

4,711

4,011

4,194

4,417

6,107

% Other charge/indictment, loss/harm minor from single incident, delay between offence/charge and trial

0.9%

0.8%

0.8%

0.8%

1.0%

4.3%

Total Non-Conviction Outcomes

107,579

94,692

84,834

80,474

70,816

21,857

% Non-Conviction Outcomes

16.9%

16.1%

15.9%

16.3%

15.7%

15.4%

Total Completed Prosecution Outcomes

637,778

588,021

533,161

494,811

451,046

141,885

Data Source: CPS Case Management Information System

Between April and September 2020, the volume of completed prosecution outcomes reduced due to court closures and social distancing. However, the volume of cases dropped by the CPS are not as reliant on court hearings and were less impacted.

In response to COVID-19 the CPS introduced an Interim Case Review Guidance on the Application of the Public Interest, as part of the COVID-19 crisis response. The guidance is to be applied for charging decisions, including decisions on whether to continue or discontinue a case that has already been charged. The guidance advises that when considering the question of whether a prosecution is a proportionate response, prosecutors should do so in the context of the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the potential delay to criminal proceedings. Application of the principles set out in this guidance may have contributed to an increase in the proportion of cases dropped under the category of ‘Other charge/indictment; loss/harm minor from single incident; delay between offence/charge and trial’.

Lucy Frazer
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Attorney General, how many West Yorkshire based organisations he has met in the last 12 months.

The Attorney General has not visited any West Yorkshire based organisations in the last 12 months.

Michael Ellis
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Attorney General, with reference to the oral contribution of the hon. Member for Sefton Central of 18 March 2021, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on concerns in respect of modern slavery in supply chains for the procurement of personal protective equipment.

I regularly meet ministerial colleagues to discuss important issues of common interest. However, it is a fundamental and longstanding principle of our system of Government that the fact of whether the Law Officers have advised on a particular issue is, by convention, not disclosed outside Government, without their consent. The Convention provides the fullest guarantee that government business will be conducted at all times in light of thorough and candid legal advice in circumstances in which Ministers and Law Officers can be fully open with one another.

The Government is committed to tackling modern slavery in supply chains. On 26 March 2020, we became the first country to publish a Government Modern Slavery Statement setting out the steps we have taken to identify and prevent modern slavery in our own supply chains. From September 2021 onwards, Ministerial departments will publish their own annual statements setting out the steps they have taken in their priority risk areas.

The Home Office is working with DHSC, NHS and external experts to develop tailored training and guidance for HMG buyers and suppliers on best practice approaches to preventing modern slavery in PPE supply chains.

Michael Ellis
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
8th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Keen of Elie on 19 February 2016 (HL6037), whether the Crown Prosecution Service's IT systems can undertake electronic searches of relevant records by character string; and if not, whether a system update is planned.

There is no planned update or change to Crown Prosecutions Service’s existing IT systems to undertake electronic searches of relevant records by character string.

Lord Stewart of Dirleton
Advocate General for Scotland
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what steps she is taking to increase the number of prosecutions for (a) domestic violence, (b) rape and (c) sexual assault; and what plans she has to ensure that victims of those crimes (i) receive appropriate support to help them navigate the criminal justice system and (ii) have faith in that system.

Tackling sexual violence and domestic abuse is a priority for this Government and the CPS is working hard to deliver justice and protect victims of these abhorrent crimes.

In July 2020, the CPS published its own rape strategy – ‘RASSO 2025’. This five-year strategy outlines a programme of work specifically to help reduce the disparity between reports and criminal justice outcomes. In addition, the CPS and police published a Joint National Action Plan for rape in January of this year to improve joint handling of rape investigations and prosecutions.

Also in January this year, the CPS published an ambitious 12-month domestic abuse programme to help narrow the disparity between reporting and criminal justice outcomes and to proactively address domestic abuse offending.

The CPS has continued to prioritise high harms crimes including cases of sexual violence and domestic abuse throughout the pandemic and as restrictions are eased via the introduction of an Interim Charging Protocol in April 2020.

Lucy Frazer
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)