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UK victims

Interactive decision tree

Interactive decision tree

Please use our interactive tool to understand more about the criminal and civil justice systems and how the two systems can interact. It outlines the main steps, and has been specifically created with the individuals and smaller business victim in mind.

Please carefully read about the main differences between the criminal and civil justice systems before using the decision tree.

Criminal: private prosecution


In a private prosecution, a law firm takes the same role as the state prosecutor in a public prosecution by preparing the case for trial.

The law firm will also be able to find and instruct barristers for advice and representation in court (if necessary).

It is extremely difficult to manage a private prosecution without instructing a law firm. First, the criminal justice system can be extremely complicated without expert advice. Second, the courts require that there must be some separation between the victim and the ‘prosecutor’ in order to protect the administration of justice.