The CDPP serves the public interest by maintaining effective partnerships with Commonwealth law enforcement agencies. We rely upon Commonwealth investigative agencies to provide briefs of evidence and we work closely together to prepare and present cases in court.
Effective investigation-prosecution partnerships and well-targeted prosecutions create and maintain confidence by the Australian public in Commonwealth law enforcement and regulatory frameworks. Through ongoing dialogue and liaison relationships, the CDPP aims to support agencies to meet their enforcement and compliance strategy objectives. Better collaboration with investigative agencies enables key priority areas to be more effectively addressed through the development and refinement of enforcement strategies and targeted prosecutions.
The CDPP makes decisions independently of those responsible for the investigation of Commonwealth offences. The CDPP has no investigative function and we can only prosecute where there has been an investigation by another agency. We receive briefs of evidence from around 59 investigative agencies as well as State and Territory police.
The CDPP recognises the benefits of pre-brief advice to investigative agencies. Advice at this stage of a matter assists investigators to focus their efforts and most efficiently gather admissible evidence to address the elements that must be established to prove an offence beyond reasonable doubt.
The CDPP is available to provide pre-brief advice to investigation agencies in:
- matters which are significant, complex or major;
- sensitive matters;
- matters of particular importance for the investigative agency’s enforcement strategy; or
- matters that are likely to have an impact on a broader class of cases
as agreed by the investigation agency and the CDPP, as resources permit for both agencies.
Brief Assessment and Preparation
There is a great deal of work involved in effectively prosecuting a Commonwealth offence. CDPP prosecutors specialise in the assessment, preparation and effective presentation of Commonwealth prosecutions. This work includes:
- sound and independent legal advice;
- specialist knowledge and experience of the prosecution process;
- brief assessment including identification of legal issues, evidentiary deficiencies and relevant public interest considerations;
- framing and presenting the prosecution case effectively;
- addressing the international aspects of prosecuting such as mutual assistance and extradition;
- dealing with complex legal, evidentiary, practical and logistical issues.
It is essential that evidence is carefully assessed in accordance with the Prosecution Policy of the Commonwealth in order to ensure admissible, substantial and reliable evidence substantiates any case presented in court.
Liaison with Investigating Agencies
The CDPP works hard to maintain effective working relationships with investigative agencies and departments. A system of national liaison with the CDPP’s major referring client agencies complements liaison conducted at the regional level.
The CDPP has in place General Guidelines for Dealing with Investigative Agencies and also Memoranda of Understanding with a range of agencies. The CDPP has also developed a number of statistical reports to assist agencies to monitor their enforcement action and is working with agencies to enhance the provision of advice as a national resource.
We provide an Information Service to our referring agencies via our CDPP Partner Agencies website to update them on criminal law issues. The website covers Commonwealth criminal cases, new legislation, and recently published books, articles, conference papers and Government reports. This is in addition to the CDPP’s online manuals for search warrants and electronic surveillance warrants.
This website also includes offence breakdowns and draft charges so that investigators are able to readily identify the physical and fault elements that must be proven in order to establish an offence, tailor their investigation or evidence gathering and to assist in charges being formulated.
An important and ongoing issue in the CDPP’s practice and in its work with Commonwealth investigative agencies is ensuring proper disclosure in prosecutions, as provided for in the CDPP Statement on Prosecution Disclosure. We work with agencies to assist them to meet disclosure obligations by producing resources for investigators.