Victims Right to Review (VRR)

The Crown Prosecution Service launched a public consultation on 5th June 2013, giving victims the right to review (VRR).  This means that victims of crime have the right to seek a review of certain decisions taken by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).  The definition of victims applies to bereaved relatives or partners in homicide cases, parents where the primary victim is a child or a youth under 18; police officers who are the victims of crimes, where the victim is incapacitated as a result of the disability.

When can a victim seek a review?

  • Where the CPS makes a decision not to charge (i.e. at the pre-charge stage, for example where you are arrested but a decision not to charge is taken).
  • Charges are discontinued in the magistrates’ court.
  • The CPS offers no evidence in relation to charges.

When is VRR not applicable in cases?

  • Where the police exercise their independent discretion not to investigate or not to investigate a case further (whether in consultation with the CPS or not) where a full file of evidence has not been provided to the CPS for them to take a formal prosecution decision.
  • Cases where a single charge or charges are discontinued but another charge or charges relating to that victim do continue.
  • Cases where a single charge or charges are substantially altered but proceedings involving that victim continue.
  • Cases which are concluded by way out of court disposal.
  • Cases where the victim requests that the proceedings be stopped.

What is the review?

If a decision is taken to review a case then the review will compromise of reconsideration of the evidence and the public interest criteria.  The reviewing prosecutor will approach the case afresh to determine whether the original decision was right or wrong.

Outcome of the review?

The outcome of the review will be given to the victim.

In cases where the decision was ‘not to charge’ then it may be possible to bring proceedings if the original decision is found on the review to be wrong.  This is also the same for where the decision was to discontinue proceedings.

When the case involved a decision to ‘offer no evidence’ or a defendant was formally acquitted then there is no such remedy; the proceedings cannot be reinstituted and remedy in this case will be limited to an explanation and apology.

If you are a defendant and you are worried about the VRR scheme and how it will affect you or you are facing charges or questioning regarding offences then please do not hesitate to contact a member of our experienced criminal team on 0116 255 4855 or 01509 610312.