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The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is the office or official charged with the prosecution of criminal offences in several criminal jurisdictions around the world. The title is used mainly in jurisdictions that are or have been members of the Commonwealth of Nations.


See also: Director of Public Prosecutions (Australia)

See also: Director of Public Prosecutions (New South Wales)

Australia has a Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, which was set up by the Director of Public Prosecutions Act 1983 and started operations in 1984. The eight states and territories of Australia also have their own DPPs.

The Office of DPP operates independently of Government. Ultimate authority for authorising prosecutions lies with the Attorney General. However, since that is a political post, and it is desired to have a non-political (public service) post carry out this function in most circumstances, the prosecutorial powers of the AG are normally delegated to the DPP.

It is common for those who hold the office of Commonwealth or State DPP later to be appointed to a high judicial office. Examples include Mark Weinberg, now a justice of the Court of Appeal in the Supreme Court of Victoria; Michael Rozenes, Chief Judge of the County Court of Victoria from 2002 to 2015; Brian Martin, now Chief Justice of the Northern Territory; John McKechnie, now a justice of the Supreme Court of Western Australia; and Paul Coghlan, now a justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria.


Main article: Director of Public Prosecutions (Belize)

The Director of Public Prosecutions of Belize is the official responsible for the prosecution of criminal offences. He or she heads the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.


In Canada, each province's Crown Attorney Office is responsible for the conduct of criminal prosecutions. In Ontario, the local Crown Attorney's Office in the Criminal Law Division is in charge of criminal cases. Only British Columbia, Nova Scotia, and Quebec (a civil code jurisdiction) have a Director of Public Prosecutions office per se.

The Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC) is a federal government organisation, created on 12 December 2006, when the Director of Public Prosecutions Act, enacted as part of the Federal Accountability Act, came into force. The Act split the conduct of federal prosecutions from the Department of Justice and created the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (officially called the Public Prosecution Service of Canada).

The PPSC fulfills the responsibilities of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada in the discharge of the Attorney General's criminal law mandate by prosecuting criminal offences under federal jurisdiction. In this regard, the PPSC assumes the role played within the Department of Justice by the former Federal Prosecution Service (FPS). The PPSC takes on additional responsibilities for prosecuting new fraud offences under the Financial Administration Act, as well as offences under the Canada Elections Act. Unlike the FPS, which was part of the Department of Justice, the PPSC is an independent organisation, reporting to Parliament through the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada.

The PPSC is responsible for prosecuting offences under more than 50 federal statutes and for providing prosecution-related legal advice to law enforcement agencies. Cases prosecuted by the PPSC include those involving drugs, organised crime, terrorism, tax law, money laundering and proceeds of crime, crimes against humanity and war crimes, Criminal Code offences in the territories, and a large number of federal regulatory offences.[citation needed]

The creation of the PPSC reflects the decision to make transparent the principle of prosecutorial independence, free from any improper influence. The mandate of the PPSC is set out in the Director of Public Prosecutions Act. The act calls on the PPSC to provide prosecutorial advice to law enforcement agencies, and to act as prosecutor in matters prosecuted by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada on behalf of the Crown. In addition, the mandate includes initiating and conducting prosecutions on behalf of the Crown with respect to offences under the Canada Elections Act.

The PPSC reports to Parliament through the Attorney General of Canada. The Director of Public Prosecutions Act states that the Director of Public Prosecutions acts "under and on behalf of the Attorney General of Canada." The relationship between the attorney general and the director is premised on the principles of respect for the independence of the prosecution function and the need to consult on important matters of general interest.

Safeguarding the director's independence is the requirement that all instructions from the attorney general be in writing and published in the Canada Gazette. In turn, the director must inform the attorney general of any prosecution or planned intervention that may raise important questions of general interest, allowing the attorney general the opportunity to intervene in, or assume conduct of, a case. Additionally, the PPSC must provide the attorney general with an annual report for tabling in Parliament.

The first director of the PPSC was Brian J. Saunders. The current director of the PPSC is Kathleen Roussel.

Hong Kong

Main article: Director of Public Prosecutions (Hong Kong)

The Director of Public Prosecutions (Chinese: 刑事檢控專員) of Hong Kong heads the Prosecutions Division of the Department of Justice, which is responsible for prosecuting trials and appeals on behalf of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, providing legal advice to law enforcement agencies on investigations, acting on behalf of the Secretary for Justice in the institution of criminal proceedings, and providing advice to bureaux and departments on measures to reform the criminal law.

The DPP is superintended by the Secretary for Justice, a political appointee, who is also accountable for the decisions of the DPP. The position title was until the handover of Hong Kong to China on 1 July 1997 Crown Prosecutor. The Secretary for Justice and the Department of Justice were, until 1997, named the Attorney General and the Legal Department, respectively.


Main article: Director of Public Prosecutions (Ireland)

The Director of Public Prosecutions has been responsible for prosecution of all indictable criminal offences in Ireland since the enactment of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1974. Before 1974 all crimes and offences were prosecuted at the suit of (after action taken by) the attorney general. The DPP may also issue a certificate that a case should be referred to the Special Criminal Court, a juryless trial court usually reserved for terrorists and organised criminals.

The current director is Claire Loftus. James Hamilton, who had served as DPP for 12 years, announced in July 2011 that he would be taking early retirement and stepped down in November 2011.[1]

List of DPPs since 1974:[2]

The agency's headquarters is located on the southern edge of Phoenix Park, Dublin; in a group of historic buildings that used to be the Royal Military Infirmary before independence.[3][4]


The current DPP is Satyajit Boolell S.C, who has occupied the post since 2009.[5]


In Norway the Director of Public Prosecutions (Riksadvokaten) is the head of the Norwegian Prosecuting Authority. The director has the coordinative leadership as well as the highest authority to prosecute criminal offences. The director is directly involved only in certain cases, such as crimes for which the maximum penalty is 21 years in prison. The director is subordinate to the Government Cabinet, however, the cabinet has never reversed a decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions. Jørn Sigurd Maurud is the current director and has been in that position since November 2019.

South Africa

In South Africa public prosecutions are conducted by the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), the head of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). The NDPP is supported by a Chief Executive Officer, Deputies, Provincial Directors of Public Prosecutions, and several Special Directors.

United Kingdom

England and Wales

Main article: Director of Public Prosecutions (England and Wales)

In England and Wales, the office of Director of Public Prosecutions was first created in 1880 as part of the Home Office, and had its own department from 1908. The DPP was responsible for the prosecution of only a small number of major cases until 1986 when responsibility for prosecutions was transferred to a new Crown Prosecution Service with the DPP as its head. The Director is appointed by the Attorney General for England and Wales.

The current DPP, since 1 November 2018, is Max Hill QC.[6]


Under Scots law the public prosecutor is the Lord Advocate who heads up the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service. All investigations by the police are nominally under the direction of the Lord Advocate and local Procurators Fiscal, and all prosecutions are carried out in the name of the Lord Advocate.

The current Lord Advocate is Dorothy Bain QC.

Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland a similar situation existed, and the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland now heads the Public Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland.

The current DPP is Stephen Herron, who was appointed in 2017. [7]

British Overseas Territories

In the Turks and Caicos Islands, the position of Director of Public Prosecutions was newly created by the 2011 Constitution. Prior to this, the Attorney-General had control over criminal prosecutions.[8][9] The current director of Public Prosecutions is Jillian Williams.[10]

See also


  1. ^ "DPP quits to protect pension". The Irish Independent. 13 July 2011. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  2. ^ Source: Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions
  3. ^ "Home Page". Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  4. ^ "The Irish Army Headquarters, Phoenix Park. Dublin City 1786". Curious Ireland. Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  5. ^ Lefort, Ariane. "Satyajit Boolell : un homme de convictions". Defimedia. Retrieved 10 April 2017.
  6. ^ "Terror watchdog Max Hill QC appointed as new Director of Public Prosecutions". The Independent. Retrieved 31 October 2018.
  7. ^ Edwards, Mark (2 December 2017). "New DPP Stephen Herron tells of his pride at being appointed to role". The Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 26 May 2018.
  8. ^ Final recommendations for changes to constitutional and electoral arrangements in the Turks and Caicos Islands (PDF). Turks and Caicos Islands: Constitutional and Electoral Reform Project. February 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 May 2018. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  9. ^ The Turks and Caicos Islands Constitution Order 2011. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  10. ^ "New DPP appointed". Turks and Caicos Weekly News. 7 November 2016. Retrieved 26 May 2018.