Prosecution Policy and Guidance
Book of Regulations
Prosecution policy and guidance is only published where its publication would not, or would not be likely to, prejudice substantially the prevention or detection of crime; the apprehension or prosecution of offenders; or the administration of justice. Prejudice may include allowing offenders to circumvent the law by restricting their offending to conduct which falls short of a prosecution threshold or, for example, a threshold which determines the prosecution forum.
Chapter 1 - General: This section withdrawn (September 2015)
Chapter 3 - Case marking: This section withdrawn
Chapter 8 - Bail - This sections withdrawn (July 2012)
Chapter 10 - Compensation by Offenders: Currently under review
Chapter 12 - Deaths: This section withdrawn
Chapter 15 - Mental Disorder: This section withdrawn (April 2014)
Chapter 18 - Armed Forced: This section withdrawn (May 2017)
Chapter 21 - Reporting to Crown Office (September 2018)
Chapter 22 - Victims Next of Kin and Witnesses: This section withdrawn (October 2013)
Crown Office Circular
In order to modernise the fire and rescue services, the Act largely replaces the Fire Services Acts of 1947 and 1959 providing for the constitution of joint fire and rescue boards.
Clarifies, with regard to the principles of freedom of information, the responsibilities of members of staff who draft new or additional material for the Book of Regulations.
HM Fire Service Inspectorate for Scotland has indicated a willingness to offer their services to Procurators Fiscal in cases involving fire investigations where it is considered necessary to obtain expert advice independent of the witnesses from the Brigade which dealt with a particular fire investigation.
Advises all legal staff that after careful consideration the Lord Advocate concluded that the test purchasing of age restricted goods, should be rolled out on a national basis.
The manual contains a statement of national disclosure practice which must be followed by all staff in COPFS. This will ensure effective and consistent disclosure practice in all cases across Scotland. This Version December 2014
Guidelines and Policy
This policy provides general guidance on the approach which should be adopted when considering the issue of recovery of sensitive personal records as part of the COPFS investigation.
This leaflet explains why the accused person’s solicitor is seeking to obtain all or part of your medical, social work or other personal records during a criminal case and how this information may be used.
This leaflet explains why the police or the prosecutor may need to obtain all or part of your medical, social work or other personal records during a criminal case and how this information may be used.
Easy Read documents
Information for witnesses: Defence recovery of sensitive personal records (Easy read document)
Information for witnesses: Police and prosecution recovery of sensitive personal records (Easy read document)
New Guidance to assist prosecutors deal with cases involving a Transgender accused generally and specifically where it is alleged a transgender accused has committed a sexual offence involving non disclosure of their birth gender. Further information on the Transgender community can be accessed at: www.scottishtrans.org
The Crown is commited to encouraging good corporate governance and to creating a corporate culture in which bribery is not hidden. As such the Lord Advocate has approved an initiative for businesses to “self-report” bribery offences. This is a "self-reporting" guide. Updated June 2020.
Prosecution policy for cases involving the intentional or reckless transmission of, or exposure to, sexual infection. The policy aims to provide guidance to prosecutors and to the public in general about this area of the law.
The aim of this publication is to provide advice for specialist reporting agencies which will enable them to contribute effectively to achieving an outcome in reported cases which best serves the public interest.
The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service Greening Government Policy is to ensure continuous environmental improvement by reducing the impact of our operations on the environment.
Many SRAs use a secure e-mail system, allowing the transmission of Standard Prosecution Reports (SPR) and
ancillary documents over secure communication lines.
The briefing note has been put on the COPFS website in relation to the COPFS’ revised prosecution policy in relation to reluctant complainers in cases of rape and other serious sexual offending. This provides an overview of the policy and how it will be implemented, the background to and reasons for the introduction of the revised policy and our commitment to ongoing work, with criminal justice partners and others, to improve the justice response to violence against women and girls.
Guidance is now available to prosecutors on the approach to be taken to cases involving communications sent via social media. This categorises offences into those where, for public safety reasons, a strong presumption in favour of prosecutorial action applies and clarifies that for other communications a high threshold applies before prosecutorial action will be taken, recognising Convention rights to freedom of expression
The Code of Practice provides guidance in relation to the disclosure of evidence in criminal proceedings. Police forces, prosecutors and other investigating agencies, as prescribed by regulations, must have regard to the code in carrying out their functions in relation to the investigation, reporting and prosecution of crime and sudden deaths.
Disclosure of material in cases which are indicted or expected to be indicted in the High Court
This booklet has been created to provide guidance to expert witnesses concerning the role of an expert witness and also about their obligations in relation to disclosure.
The Crown in Scotland is obliged to disclose all relevant and material evidence to the defence. This duty arises from Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights. To ensure that the Crown can comply with its disclosure obligations, all agencies who report cases to the Crown must comply with obligations to disclose relevant and material information to the Crown. See also: Annex A - Example Schedule (Doc)
This booklet is for victims and prosecution witnesses, but it will also be useful for parents of child witnesses, carers of witnesses with extra needs and family members in cases involving death.
Lord Advocate's Guidelines
Lord Advocate’s Guidelines or prosecution policy and guidance is only published where its publication would not, or would not be likely to, prejudice substantially the prevention or detection of crime; the apprehension or prosecution of offenders; or the administration of justice. Prejudice may include allowing offenders to circumvent the law by restricting their offending to conduct which falls short of a prosecution threshold or, for example, a threshold which determines the prosecution forum.
This document contains guidance for prosecutors when considering prosecution of victims of Human Trafficking and Exploitation.
This document contains guidance to police officers in Scotland on the categories of offence which require to be jointly reported to the Procurator Fiscal and the Children’s Reporter
Revised Lord Advocate’s Guidelines on Liberation have been published to reflect the approach to be taken in the current circumstances.
These Lord Advocate’s Guidelines direct Police Scotland on the approach to take regarding individuals who are in Police custody having been arrested during the period of disruption caused by COVID-19 or Coronavirus.
These guidelines will be active from the 20th March 2020 until the end of the disruption, and will remain under review in order to respond to the changing circumstances. During this period these guidelines replace the Lord Advocate’s Guidelines on Liberation by the Police.
These Guidelines are issued by the Lord Advocate under Section 127R of Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. They are designed to ensure clarity for officers as to the exercise of the powers of search, seizure and retention and the circumstances in which the seizure of property requires to be reported to Crown Office Proceeds of Crime Unit (POCU).
New powers, set out in the Policing and Crime Act 2009, have been introduced in Scotland to provide for search, seizure and continued retention of property with a view to ensuring that property is available for confiscation at the conclusion of criminal proceedings. The powers may be exercised whether or not a restraint order is in place.
Crown Office and the Procurator Fiscal’s Service recognise the sensitivity of the issues and the strength of opinion surrounding same sex marriage
These Guidelines provide guidance to the Police where consideration is being given to extend the period of detention / delay access to solicitor / question a suspect post-charge, under the Terrorism Act 2006.
Lord Advocate Guidelines to Chief Constables regarding Incidents between sportmen during Sporting Event Especially those in front of large crowds or televised to the public.
This is a guide to the Act. The objective of the offences provided for in this Act is to tackle sectarian hatred and other offensive and threatening behaviour related to football matches and to prevent the communication of threatening material, particularly where it incites religious hatred.
"Identification Procedures" comprise of witnesses being given the opportunity to identify a suspect or accused persons visually in either a video identification parade, identification parade or related procedure.
Guidelines to police regarding this scheme. The purpose of the scheme is to provide an alternative to prosecution for drivers charged with a contravention of the Road Traffic Act 1988, Section 3 (careless driving).
The Prostitution (Public Places) Scotland Act 2007 criminalises the act of a purchaser who attempts to engage in prostitution. These Guidelines are intended to provide guidance on the available enforcement options and prescribe minimum enforcement criteria
This guidance takes into account the amendment of section 7 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 and type approval of new generation breath test devices by the Secretary of State for Scotland on 18 August 2014.Please see also the letter from the Crown Agent to the Law Society of Scotland of November 2014 regarding the introduction of reduced Drink Drive limits on 5 December 2014 Letter from the Crown Agent to the Law Society of Scotland44.4 KB
Guidelines on Offences Aggravated by Prejudice Incorporating - Offences Aggravated by Religious Prejudice - Offences aggravated by prejudice related to disability, Offences aggravated by prejudice related to sexual orientation or transgender identity.
The Act aims to improve conditions for vulnerable witnesses by increasing the number of support measures available to help them participate more fully in criminal and civil proceedings. It also extends the definition of ‘vulnerable witness’ to include adult witnesses where there is a significant risk that the quality of their evidence will be diminished through fear or distress.
Guidelines issued by the Lord Advocate to the Chief Constable concerning liberation of offenders by police relating to the 26th UN climate change conference of the parties ("COP26") to be held 31 October 2021 – 12 November 2021
Protocols/Memorandum of Understanding
The purpose of the agreement is to ensure that appropriate support information-exchange and consistent decision-making are in place for young people who offend.
COPFS has agreed a protocol with the SCRA agreeing the process for exchange of information in terms of sections 172 and 179 of the Children's Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011 between SCRA and COPFS.
Having regard to the seriousness of domestic abuse, this Protocol has been agreed in order to Identify best practice and obtain consistency of approach in the investigation, reporting and prosecution of these cases, with a view to improving the service we provide to the public.
This Protocol has been agreed between COPFS, Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service, Victim Support Scotland and Police Scotland. It governs how we will share information, sets out guidance on arranging court visits and default special measures for children in solemn cases. In September 2017 the Protocol was updated to ensure that there is an agreed process between COPFS and SCTS for communicating where a victim or witness would benefit from additional arrangements at court. Please note that this protocol applies to cases reported on or after 1 September 2015.
This Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) records the basis on which the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) will cooperate to investigate and/or prosecute individuals in respect of the cartel offence established by the Enterprise Act (EA02) where such an offence may have been committed within the jurisdiction of the Scottish Courts. The CMA and COPFS will keep this MOU under review in the light of future experience of its operation in practice.
Code of Practice and Performance Standards for Forensic Pathologists dealing with suspicious deaths in Scotland: Scottish Government, COPFS and the Royal College of Pathologists - 2016 version. The Code of Practice is supplemented by the protocol which outlines commitments on the part of forensic pathologists (October 2018).
This MOU will ensure that there is a clear understanding of the various roles and responsibilities of each organisation during the investigation of any of these offences.
This protocol replaces the existing COPFS /WS protocol dated June 2007 and incorporates the SCS in a new tripartite protocol. This also incorporates the COPFS /SCS Joint Statement on Crown witnesses.
Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service & UK Border Agency Joint Protocol for the submission, processing and monitoring of Prosecution Reports for immigration offence and ensure we meet the high standards deserved and expected by the public.
Service Wide Agreement between the Scottish Police and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service of Business Rules for the disclosure to the defence of statements, previous convictions and outstanding charges
This protocol sets out the principles for effective liaison among the parties in relation to work-related
deaths in Scotland. In particular, it deals with incidents where, following a death, evidence indicates that a serious criminal offence other than a health and safety offence may have been committed
The protocol is intended to cover the instruction of community, foreign and sign language interpreters (and other interpreters required for those with sensory impairment).
The effective and efficient prosecution of criminal cases in the Sheriff Courts and the disposal of criminal business in these courts is dependent on a close and integrated approach to the management of court business by the Scottish Court Service and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.
Liaison and Exchange of Management Information for Sheriff Court business between the Scottish Court Service and Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service
Family Liaison is the process through which the Police and Crown Office and the Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) work together to provide victims and bereaved nearest relatives with information and support during certain major investigations which may lead to criminal or other proceedings.
COPFS and SEPA are committed to ensuring effective liaison so that reports from SEPA achieve the best outcome for the environment and the public interest
This Protocol has been agreed between COPFS and SEPA to set out the framework for effective liaison, communication and co-operation in the investigation and prosecution of environmental crime.
Following a review of the Joint ACPOS / COPFS Family Liaison Protocol, the Crown Agent and ACPOS have approved the launch of a revised Joint Protocol, “In Partnership Managing Family Liaison”
National Protocol for the Police Service of Scotland, Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, and Child Protection Committees to assist with Liaison and the Exchange of Information when there are simultaneous Significant Case Reviews and criminal proceedings, a Fatal Accident Inquiry or investigations with a view to such proceedings. A link to the full document and associated annexes can be found here.