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Office of Criminal Prosecutions & Litigation

The Office of Criminal Prosecutions and Litigation (‘OCPL’) consists of a team of lawyers headed by the newly created post of Director of Public Prosecutions (“DPP”) dealing with criminal prosecutions and contentious work known as litigation. The main function is that of criminal prosecutions, the power of which derives from Her Majesty’s Attorney General of Gibraltar mandate (on behalf of the Crown) under the Constitution Order 2006.

As the only prosecutorial organisation in Gibraltar, the OCPL is responsible for reviewing cases following charge as well as prosecuting statutory and common law crimes across the whole spectrum of offences in Gibraltar including serious crimes against the person, sexual offences, drugs misuse as well as offences of dishonesty such as theft, fraud and money laundering. It also provides prosecution-related legal advice to all law enforcement agencies (including the Royal Gibraltar Police, HM Customs, Gibraltar Defence Police and the Environmental Agency), Public Authorities as well as other Government Departments.

The office discharges its criminal functions independently from any other authority or body and applies the principles enshrined in the Code for Crown Prosecutors issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions in England and Wales which sets out the general principles to be followed when decisions are made on cases. The Crown Prosecution Service of England & Wales website contains the code used and it is followed by the Office of Criminal Prosecutions and Litigation in Gibraltar. https://www.cps.gov.uk/publication/code-crown-prosecutors

We must be satisfied that there is enough evidence against the person charged to provide a realistic prospect of conviction, and also that the prosecution is in the public interest. Thus our duties are discharged fairly, objectively and with integrity given that the purpose of a criminal prosecution is not to obtain a conviction but rather to put before the court all relevant, reliable and admissible evidence necessary to deliver justice.

In order to do so there are strict guidelines about the material which has to be disclosed to the accused and we are not allowed to simply choose the material that suits our case. In the UK the Attorney General issued useful guidance on 3 December 2013, updated on 26 March 2018, on how to deal with disclosure in criminal proceedings and this guidance is followed in Gibraltar:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/262994/AG_Disclosure_Guidelines_-_December_2013.pdf

In addition we have to be sensitive to the needs and views of witnesses and victims in criminal proceedings. The recently introduced regulations give witnesses and victims’ rights and recourses in relation to criminal proceedings which they form part of http://www.gibraltarlaws.gov.gi/articles/2015s201.pdf

Apart from criminal prosecutions, the OCPL has overall responsibility to advise, prepare for and act in court proceedings for HM Government of Gibraltar on matters that concern litigation or possible litigation. This includes Public Law proceedings where an interested party seeks to challenge the decision, action or failure to act of a Government Department or a public body such as an Agency or established Board, Commission or any other body exercising a public law function. Such proceedings can also arise where an affected party claims a breach of constitutional rights (in terms of European Convention of Human Rights) as enshrined in the Gibraltar Constitution Order 2006.

The OCPL also advises and acts for HM Government in connection with civil proceedings. These cover a broad range of issues involving civil disputes such as contract, housing or employment related matters as well as claims for loss or damages such as personal injury or property claims.

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For more information, contact us below:

  (+350) 200 78882

  info.ocpl@gibraltar.gov.gi