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HSE's Prosecutions - Independent Legal Oversight?

This section looks at the issue of Independent Legal Oversight (ILO) and whether whether or not HSE's decision making adheres to the principles of ILO.

In 1981 the Royal Commission on Criminal Procedures (the Philips Report) recommended that prosecution decisions should be undertaken independently of those who investigate the offences and by lawyers.

In 2001, the Gower-Hammond Inquiry Report into the Customs and Excise recommended that there should be ILO of prosecution decisions.

The HSE as a result set up its own inquiry (to read more about this, click here) and recommended establishing a system of ILO within the HSE. The HSE however decided that before establishing such a system throughout the HSE it should be piloted in London and South East.

Until this time, all prosecution decisions were made by HSE inspectors, and not lawyers.

After a year - and despite a positive assessment - the prosecution pilot was disbanded and there was a decision not to roll the pilot out to other parts of the HSE due to the lack of resources.

Instead the HSE decided to set up a system of ILO for only the most serious cases, and to make improvements on certain other aspects of the HSE's prosecution policy.

The Royal Commission on Criminal Procedure, 1981 - the need for Independent Legal Oversight
Inquiry into Customs and Excise about Prosecution Policy
How HSE's makes decisions about prosecutions
Inquiry by HSE into its own Prosecution policy
HSE's Pilot Prosecution Branch in London
HSE's current plans to revamp its prosecution, April 2004
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Page last updated on April 8, 2004