Review of Public Prosecution Services
The Review of Prosecution Services is a comprehensive review of the public prosecution system. The purpose of the review was to consider how the system can best be structured so that it delivers effective legal services in a way that is cost-effective and sustainable.
The Review was initiated by the Government in March 2011 to determine whether prosecutions brought by public sector agencies could be delivered in a more cost-effective and sustainable manner at the same or higher quality levels.
The Review was conducted by Mr John Spencer who was supported by officials from the Ministry of Justice, Crown Law Office and Police.
Mr Spencer’s final report it presents his findings on the current state of public prosecution services and his recommendations on how they can be improved.
Mr Spencer found that the New Zealand has a high quality, independent, criminal prosecution service. Generally, the performance of Crown Solicitors is very high although there is potential to deliver the service at lower cost. Mr Spencer also considers that the Police Prosecution Service is both highly efficient and has capable prosecutors. For departmental prosecutors he reported variable performance with potential for efficiency gains for some agencies.
Given the generally high quality and efficiency within the prosecution system, Mr Spencer considers that the status quo should largely prevail.
His recommendations for the prosecution system in New Zealand include:
- enhancing the Solicitor-General’s oversight of the entire prosecution system;
- prosecuting bodies improving the data collected and more actively managing their costs;
- clarification that costs should be a factor in decision-making at all points in investigation and prosecution processes;
- better use of prosecution training and resources across enforcement agencies;
- improved coordination in both investigation and prosecution between enforcement agencies with overlapping responsibilities, particularly those involved in financial regulation;
- establishing annual reporting systems for enforcement agencies and Crown Law; and
- re-establishing the relationship between Crown Solicitors and Law Officers as an agency relationship.
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