Preparation for Prosecution Cases
The primary market for this course is Lawyers and Enforcement Officers within Local Authorities, carrying out enforcement and Prosecution work. It is relevant to new officers within the field as well as those requiring a refresher in Prosecution preparation; it is a one-size fits all, based on a successful course I have been running for officers across the country for Lawyers and Enforcement Officers within Local Government over the past four years.
The course focuses on the key factors that should be considered in the process of carrying out investigations, which could ultimately lead to a prosecution and possible pitfalls that could result in the collapse of a prosecution case. The advantage to this training session is that it is geared towards all local authority enforcement officers from all disciplines, including but not limited to trading standards, environmental health, planning, private sector housing, and pollution and noise enforcement officers, tree preservation officers and education.
There is nothing worse than when a local authority investigating officer puts his/her heart and soul into a prosecution case, only to be told by their legal team, there were things they should have done, that they did not, the evidence is not sufficient or it is out of time. Therefore, the aim of this course is to make sure when officers present a criminal case it is ‘good to go,’ or as close to that as possible.
This course provides a practical guide to local authority lawyers and investigating officers on how to prepare a prosecution case, and avoid the various pitfalls without the use of excessive legal jargon.
However, there is an abundance of training and some excellent textbooks available to local authority lawyers, as well as work practices and policies provided to investigators from specialist practitioners within various fields of enforcement law, such as the Institute for Environmental Health and the Institute for Trading Standards. With this in mind the aim of of the course is to act as a helpful guide to supplement that material from a practical standpoint in relation to what lawyers and investigators need to consider in preparation of Prosecution cases.
However, reference to legislation and significant case law will be necessary, but when made, it will look at the significance of these from a practical level, working through the key elements of the offence, to give an understanding of how to ensure appropriate action is taken in line with that offence. In relation to case law, a detailed description of what the case is provided, to enable readers to consider the importance of the topic discussed.
- The starting point for any Enforcement action and the importance of the need for officers to have a clear understanding of their own Enforcement Policy and why this is important.
- How officers can progress cases in the light of loss of expertise due to reduced funding and voluntary redundancies.
- How to deal with vexatious and difficult complainants, providing useful tips in this difficult area.
- The importance of ensuring appropriate delegated authority.
- Avoiding the trap of creating a “Legitimate Expectation”, (A promise) during the investigation process,” which could lead to a loss of a prosecution case.
- An understanding of the Evidential Tests:
- Stage One – Evidential Test – Here the course will examine the importance of gathering evidence, the importance of exhibits & seizures and the need to ensure procedures are followed to the letter in accordance with the relevant legislation to avoid possible technical defences at the prosecution stage. Also look at when a caution should be administered and the importance of the caution.
- Stage Two – Public Interest - Here officers will be asked to consider the need for assessing whether or not a case is actually suitable for prosecution. We will identify other possible remedies/penalties that could be considered in accordance with the public interest test.
- Disclosure – Officers need to understand the key principles of Disclosure, so practical guidance on this topic will be provided.
- Costs- Investigation costs are a very contentious area when we get to court officers need to be clear on all costs charged within an investigation as well as hourly rate charged for any investigation undertaken.
- Brexit – A brief overview of Brexit and what effect this is likely to have in the short-term.
This course will cover the following aspects of the SRA's Statement of solicitor competence:
A Ethics, professionalism and judgment
A1 Act honestly and with integrity, in accordance with legal and regulatory requirements and the SRA Handbook and Code of Conduct
A2 Maintain the level of competence and legal knowledge needed to practice effectively, taking into account changes in their role and/or practice context and developments in the law
A3 Work within the limits of their competence and the supervision which they need
A4 Draw on sufficient detailed knowledge and understanding of their field(s) of work and role in order to practice effectively
A5 Apply understanding, critical thinking and analysis to solve problems
B Technical legal practice
B1 Obtain relevant facts
B2 Undertake legal research
B3 Develop and advise on relevant options, strategies and solutions
B4 Draft documents which are legally effective and accurately reflect the client’s instructions
B5 Undertake effective spoken and written advocacy
B6 Negotiate solutions to clients’ issues
B7 Plan, manage and progress legal cases and transactions
C Working with other people
C1 Communicate clearly and effectively, orally and in writing
C2 Establish and maintain effective and professional relations with clients
C3 Establish and maintain effective and professional relations with other people
D Managing themselves and their own work
D1 Initiate, plan, prioritise and manage work activities and projects to ensure that they are completed efficiently, on time and to an appropriate standard both in relation to their own work and work that they lead or supervise
D2 Keep, use and maintain accurate, complete and clear records
D3 Apply good business practice
Preparation for Prosecution Cases
14 September 2018 | 10:00 - 16:30