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Prosecution guidance

Guidance for legal professionals about how COPFS makes prosecution decisions and how we work with partner organisations. Plus, guidelines for the police.

  1. Agricultural crime policy

    Prosecution policy explaining how prosecutors deal with reports relating to agricultural crime.

    Prosecution policy Published: 01 Dec 2015
  2. Deceased suspects policy

    This policy explains how prosecutors approach criminal cases where the suspect has died.

    Prosecution policy Published: 05 Sep 2016
  3. Lord Advocate’s rules: Review of a decision not to prosecute

    Read the Lord Advocate's rule regarding a victims' right to review following a decision not to prosecute.

    Prosecution policy Published: 01 Jun 2015
  4. Offensive Weapons Statement of Prosecution Policy

    Prosecution Policy in relation to relevant offences committed during the offensive weapons surrender campaign, between 1 July 2022 and 30 September 2022.

    Prosecution policy Published: 28 Jun 2022
  5. Pre-trial therapy provision for victims of sexual crime

    Guidance for those supporting victims of sexual crime who wish to seek therapeutic support or counselling prior to or during court proceedings.

    Prosecution policy Published: 14 Oct 2020
  6. Prosecution Code

    The Prosecution Code sets out the criteria for decision making, the range of options available to COPFS prosecutors, and the values which underpin decisions.

    Prosecution policy Published: 01 May 2001
  7. Prosecution policy on the sexual transmission of infection

    Prosecution policy explaining how COPFS deals with cases involving an allegation of intentional or reckless sexual transmission of, or exposure to, infection.

    Prosecution policy Published: 01 Jul 2014
  8. Refugees policy

    Prosecution policy explaining how prosecutors apply Section 31 of the Immigration & Asylum Act 1999 which provides protection for refugees/presumptive refugees.

    Prosecution policy Published: 01 Dec 2015
  9. Refugees Policy: Annex B

    Annex B of the COPFS Refugee Policy which provides the prosecution with guidance on the application of the defence in Section 31 of the Immigration Act 1999.

    Prosecution policy Published: 06 Apr 2021
  10. Reluctant complainers in cases of rape and serious sexual offending policy

    Prosecution policy explaining how prosecutors will respond to reluctant complainers in cases involving rape or other serious sexual offending.

    Prosecution policy Published: 12 Mar 2018