Law: More freedom to prosecute urged

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Many of the barriers to ordinary people bringing private prosecutions should be swept away, the Government's law reform body says in a report today.

At present, a range of private prosecutions can only be brought with the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions or the Attorney General. But the Law Commission says in its report that consent provisions are only justified in cases involving national security, international relations, freedom of expression or where it is "particularly likely, given the availability of both criminal and civil proceedings in respect of the same conduct, that the public interest will not require a prosecution."

The current provisions operate as an "impediment to the right to bring a private prosecution, a right widely regarded as fundamental," the commission says.