Alternatives to prosecution for adults
Alternatives to prosecution for adults

The following Corporate Crime guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Alternatives to prosecution for adults
  • Cautioning of adults
  • Conditional cautions for foreign national offenders
  • Fixed penalty notices

The Code for Crown Prosecutors states that when making a decision to prosecute, consideration should be given to alternatives to prosecution.

The two main alternatives to a prosecution for adult offenders are:

  1. cautions, and

  2. fixed penalty notices

Cautioning of adults

There are two types of cautions: the simple caution and the conditional caution. Both are administered by the police. Some other regulators also have the power to administer simple cautions, including local authorities, the Health and Safety Executive and the Environment Agency.

Simple cautions

The use of a simple caution is governed by section 17 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 (CJCA 2015), which formalises and replaces the existing non-statutory guidance on administering simple cautions contained within the Ministry of Justice Guidance: Simple cautions for adult offenders, and the Director of Public Prosecution's Guidance on Charging: Guidance to Police Officers and Crown Prosecutors issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions under section 37A of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (the DPP Guidance on Charging).

CJCA 2015, s 17 applies to all offences irrespective of when the offences were committed. Revised guidance has been issued by the Ministry of Justice on the application of simple cautions. See MOJ: Simple cautions for adult offenders 2015.

The CJCA 2015 restricts the circumstances in which simple cautions can be administered. The restrictions increase