Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions

How we Differ from State DPPs

How we Differ from State DPPs

The role of the CDPP is to prosecute offences against Commonwealth law and in some circumstances confiscate the proceeds of crime. We are also responsible for prosecuting offences against the laws of Jervis Bay and Australia’s external territories, other than Norfolk Island.

CDPP has a wide and varied practice ranging from the prosecution of offences for the importation of serious drugs, fraud on the Commonwealth (including tax and social security fraud) and commercial prosecutions to counter-terrorism, money laundering, human trafficking, slavery and servitude, child exploitation including on-line sexual exploitation, offences impacting upon the environment, and safety prosecutions. As Commonwealth criminal activity continues to evolve and expand so does the variety of offences incorporated into Commonwealth criminal law.

Our work is not limited to litigation in court. We are also involved in a range of other work such as assessing evidence, drafting charges and providing legal advice and assistance to investigators. Commonwealth offending can often involve very large and complex briefs of evidence which may take significant time and expertise to consider and formulate strategies to prosecute.

CDPP prosecutors appear in all levels of the courts from Magistrates Courts to the High Court and we are involved at all stages of the prosecution process including mentions, bail, summary matters, committals, trials and appeals. This differs somewhat from the majority of State and Territory DPPs where the emphasis is mainly on committals and trials and there are police prosecutors who handle many matters at earlier stages.

The CDPP applies the Prosecution Policy of the Commonwealth to all Commonwealth prosecutions regardless of the jurisdiction in which they are prosecuted.

Joint Trials – State and Territory DPPs

The Director is empowered to prosecute indictable offences against State and Territory laws where the Director holds an authority to do so under the laws of the relevant State or Territory. In addition, the Director is empowered to conduct committal proceedings and summary prosecutions for offences against State or Territory law where a Commonwealth officer is the informant.

The CDPP has arrangements in place with each of the Directors of Public Prosecutions in Australia concerning procedures for conducting trials which involve both Commonwealth and State or Territory offences.