Why Private Prosecution?

The team at Wilford Smith understand how stressful court proceedings can be, both for you and those close to you. However, private prosecutions may be a particularly useful way of pursuing a prosecution without the delay and potential limitations of traditional prosecuting bodies.

Our specialist private prosecution solicitors have acquired a well-earned reputation for excellence in providing legal advice and support that is clear, proactive and uniquely client focused. We can assist whatever the nature of the offence you wish to prosecute. If you are considering pursuing a private prosecution, speak to us today. Call us on 0808 164 1349 or complete our online contact form.

Why would an individual or company choose to pursue a private prosecution?

Anyone can bring about criminal prosecution proceedings under the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985. Private prosecutions are an essential alternative in circumstances where authorities and the official channels have failed victims, have had their case and complaint refused for investigation, or simply require more overall control and input into proceedings.

Lack of resources and greater control

The current lack of resources available to public investigators and prosecution agencies, combined with increasingly sophisticated digital technologies that are used to commit more complex offences such as fraud and financial crimes, means that private prosecutions are becoming increasingly common. Whereas previously these offences would be investigated and prosecuted by the police, Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) or other agencies, this is often no longer the case. Prosecutions led by government agencies also often give you minimal input as to your choice of representation in your case. Private prosecution allows you to choose who you want to handle your case.

Alternative to civil litigation

Companies are increasingly using private criminal prosecutions as an alternative to civil litigation, or in conjunction with civil litigation to address a variety of issues. Budgetary constraints may play a role in this – firms will often find that prosecutions are cheaper and quicker than initiating civil proceedings. Those pursuing a private prosecution will also have control over the speed of the investigation and prosecution, rather than the police or CPS.

To increase publicity

Private prosecutions can also act as an effective deterrent as a consequence of the powers and sanctions at the disposal of the criminal courts, including custodial sentences, confiscation proceedings and a criminal record following a conviction. Successful prosecutions can also result in a high level of publicity and severe reputational damage following a conviction, in addition to acting as a deterrence in many cases.

Immediacy of proceedings

One of the most significant advantages of private prosecutions is the timeliness and immediacy of legal proceedings. Government supported services, such as the Crown Prosecution Service may have long waiting lists and you could end up waiting months for proceedings to be dealt with. This is especially true if your case is not classed as a high priority – which is a common occurrence in criminal and civil proceedings. Saving time in many cases often means saving money.

Contact our private prosecution solicitors in Sheffield

Wilford Smith’s Private Prosecution Solicitors have specialist skills in advocacy and litigation. Throughout your case, our team will take a responsive, strategic and ruthless approach for successful results.

Whatever the nature of your case, our solicitors will take the time to discuss all matters with you in detail, ensuring that you are fully informed about your options and any developments at all times.

Our Private Prosecution Solicitors are based in Sheffield and service clients throughout England and Wales. Contact us today on 0808 164 1349 to find out how we can help.


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At Wilford Smith we are invested in your success. Our team will get to know you, your family, your business, and your market sector. To us, you and needs are unique. You can be confident that by instructing us, we will take care of all your legal matters throughout your lifetime, providing creative solutions and protecting your best interests.



  • Meadowhall Business Park
  • S9 2EQ
  • Tel: 0808 164 4106
  • Fax: 0844 225 0572


  • Smithy House 22 Westgate,
  • Rotherham S60 1AP
  • Tel: 0808 164 4106
  • Fax: 0844 225 0572


  • 20 Old Bailey
  • LondonEC4M 7AN
  • By appointment only
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2024 Wilford Smith is the trading name of WS Strategic Ltd. a limited company registered in England and Wales, registration number 07777022. Registered office – Meadowhall Business Park, Sheffield S9 2EQ. We are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. SRA Registration Number 640898.