Private Prosecutions

What is a Private Prosecution?

A private prosecution can be an effective way for an individual, charity or company to pursue prosecution without the delays and limitations of traditional prosecuting bodies. Any victim or interested party can pursue a private prosecution process with their own, personally chosen legal support and services.

The right is reserved by section 6(1) of the Prosecution of Offences Act (1985), helping clients navigate without restrictions and third-party inefficiencies. Although private prosecutions are not brought by the Crown, the Crown Prosecution Service, or any other official prosecuting authority, private prosecutions are handled and carried out in exactly the same way as a case brought upon by the Crown.

Advantages of Private Prosecution 

One of the biggest advantages of private prosecution is the immediacy of proceedings. Government supported services may include months enduring waiting lists and approvals, while clients have little input into the choice of their representation, which can be critical in bringing a successful verdict in any private criminal prosecution case. Private prosecution can prove particularly effective when dealing with corporate fraud and financial crime.

Anyone can bring about criminal prosecution and general crime related proceedings owing to the Prosecution of Offences Act. Private prosecutions are an essential alternative in instances where victims have been failed by authorities and official channels, have had their case and complaint refused for investigation, or simply require more overall control and input into proceedings.

Getting your Case Brought to Court

Historically, almost all criminal prosecutions and substantial fraud cases were dealt with privately, although the trend has waned in recent years. Although many clients still rely on traditional government agencies for support and representation in criminal prosecution proceedings, ongoing cutbacks to traditional law enforcement and legal agencies means victims of crime may face difficulty in having their report of criminal activity recorded, let alone pursued.

Few fraud cases are ever reported to the police, and of those, as little as 0.4% ever result in successful convictions. Edmonds Marshall McMahon (EMM) was established in February 2015 as the first and only law firm specialising in private prosecution cases.

Successful Sentencing and Convictions in Court

Today, Edmonds Marshall McMahon helps clients and companies pursue criminal conviction of fraudsters in court when they’ve been let down by more traditional agencies. Prosecutions in court can lead to corporate confiscation, a criminal record and the threat of a custodial sentence. A successful conviction will also see that the guilty party’s ability to trade in the EU, or with Government sanctioned agencies and registered companies.

Statistics of Private Prosecutions

Edmonds Marshall McMahon’s founding partners have a combined total of almost 50 years’ experience in criminal justice procedure, fraud and financial offences. Fully versed in all manner of criminal matters, the firm provides first rate advice to individuals and corporate clients whose cases and complaints have been failed elsewhere. Edmonds Marshall McMahon provides legal advice and information on all aspects of private criminal prosecution processes and procedures, from reviewing evidence notes to pursuing new sources to build strong, substantial cases.

Unreported Financial Crimes & Spending Cuts 

Research indicates as little as 1.5% of fraud cases are ever reported to the police. Out of these cases, as few as 0.45% percent are ever resolved with a criminal sanction. In some cases, cases can take months, if not years to resolve when waiting on the assistance of official channels. In 2014/15, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) conducted just 13 raids part of its investigations, a significant drop from the 26 raids conducted in 2013/14, itself a small proportion of overall cases reported. Despite official statements that would suggest otherwise, government spending cuts have significantly affected those dependant on government supported legal aid agencies.

Private prosecutions can save the public purse millions of pounds a year. The RSPCA estimates that by using private legal aid, they save over £50 million annually in public spending costs.

The Private Prosecution Process

If you’ve been turned down elsewhere, or spent months or longer for the official channels to help prosecute a perpetrator against your business, it might be time to turn to the private prosecution process. Many private customers and business owners remain unaware that private prosecutors can successfully bring guilty parties justice in criminal courts, and Edmonds Marshall McMahon can help guide you all the way, with decades of industry insights and experience in everything from advisory and regulatory matters, to expert help in how to build a substantial base of evidence against any guilty party.

Email or Call for Expert Advice

Once you get in touch and make your initial enquiry, your case will be assigned a specialist from our expert team who’ll provide initial feedback on how best to proceed. We’ll devise a winning strategy that’ll analyse financial accounting and reporting for fraudulent activity going back years if need be, always with the upmost scrutiny to identify criminal activity and financial crime wherever and whenever it’s been committed

How Long Does the Process Take? 

How long it’ll take to bring your case to court depends on a host of factors. Edmonds Marshall McMahon will help you prepare a better private prosecution effort, helping build a stronger case with historic evidence and rigorous examination of statements and detail going back years. Once we’ve collected enough evidence to substantiate a successful case we think will uphold a conviction in court, we’ll take our findings and present it before the magistrate for the green light to commence with official proceedings.

Hackers and International Identify Thieves 

Gangs and criminal organisations are increasingly taking to the online world to sponsor their activities, and online credit card fraud and identity theft are some of the most common threats to individual consumers and corporate entities. For guilty parties based abroad, it can be difficult to identify the perpetrators by name and confirm their location, let alone establish contact with them. Hiring a private prosecutor ensures a better outcome that’s not bound by geographical boundaries. Edmonds Marshall McMahon can advise on the best course of action for every case.

What is Corporate Fraud? 

Corporate fraud can be committed by, or against a company. Any industry and company is potentially at risk of corporate fraud, and the deceptions themselves have been reported in countless forms. Most corporate fraud included intentionally deceiving the public, investors, customers or partners to result in personal profit and gain to the guilty perpetrator or organisation.

Types of Corporate Fraud

There are many different types of corporate fraud, from charity scams and insurance fraud, to false accounting and fake invoice scams. Individuals guilty of perverting the course of justice can also be sought for criminal prosecution with the help of a private prosecutor, helping victims of crime and businesses affected by corporate fraud seek justice and restitution in a court of law.

The True Cost of Corporate Fraud

Corporate fraud doesn’t just lead to lost revenues, it can also have much wider implications on a business. Fraudulent activity that’s gone unnoticed inevitably leads to false accounting and reporting, which can lead to serious penalties for oblivious business owners. Companies should install strict accounting measures and data management routines throughout all business areas, not only helping manage finance and accounting overall, but providing clear oversight of expenditure and salary costs, purchases and invoices, timekeeping and HR.

What is Financial Crime? 

Financial crime can be devastating to businesses and individuals, resulting in severe financial losses to the affected party. In the case of corporate financial crime, perpetrators can operate from within or outside of the organisation.

Who Commits Financial Crime? 

Recently, fraudsters and opportunists operating outside of companies have been partnering with employees to achieve more lucrative gains from their criminal actions. In more extreme cases, financial crime may be committed by criminal organisations, including terrorist groups. These cases were once rare, but reports are on the up and scams have adapted to secure the banking and account information of victims and affected companies.

False accounting and expense fraud can also be common within businesses, with abusers ranging from junior members of staff, up to senior executives and business owners themselves. Crimes and offences can range from theft and falsified expense reporting, to intentional misreporting of company assets, performance and financial information for personal gain.

Common Types of Financial Crime 

Today, credit card fraud is one of the most commonly reported, but rarely resolved, cases of financial crime that affects tens of millions of consumers across the world. Criminals are using increasingly ingenious ways to capture and utilise even basic account information to access funds and make purchases online to companies they own, pocketing the payments directly.

Identify theft fraud works in much the same way, but in extreme cases can see the targeted party’s details being used to obtain sums in the tens and hundreds of thousands, and more on a corporate scale.

How to Fight Financial Crime

Dealing with the fallout of financial crimes can be a tricky business, but Edmonds Marshall McMahon can help navigate through recovery, with quality legal advice and direction for private prosecution of guilty offenders and the recovery of monies. Those affected by financial crimes should immediate being a rigorous, retroactive analysis of their accounts to identify any other suspect transactions, change security answers and login details wherever possible, and install new security measures across all accounts, regularly used devices, and operating systems.

How Much Does Private Prosecution Cost? 

For most types of fraud and financial crime, a private prosecution service costs in the region of £6000 and upwards. Depending on the amount of evidence available, and the extent of the investigatory work required, cases can become expensive. Corporations and individuals need careful guidance when pursuing cases if there is competing evidence and cases are advanced to trial and confiscation.

Speak to Edmonds Marshall McMahon Today

For those who’ve been refused help elsewhere, or had their cases left on waiting lists for months, private prosecution can ensure that cases of corporate fraud and financial crime are dealt with sooner, increasing the likelihood that repeat offenders operating on a larger scale are caught and brought to justice. Edmonds Marshall McMahon is the only dedicated provider of private prosecution advice, case guidance and support, helping private clients and corporations see successful results, sooner rather than later.