Victims Right to Review

Victim Right to Review

What is it?

From 1 April 2015, a Victims' Right to Review scheme was introduced which gives victims the right to ask for a review of a decision not to prosecute a suspect. This right is set out in Article 11 of the EU Directive on victims which came into effect in November 2015. Please see the full guidance at the following link:- ACPO guidelines Police VRR.

What offences and cases qualify?

VRR applies to the offences that Operation Resolve has decided not to refer to CPS for a charging decision and is not part of the managed investigation supervised by the IPCC. The scheme only applies to offences where a suspect has been identified and interviewed under caution, either after arrest or by voluntary arrangement.

Who does it apply to?

Any victim in a qualifying case where a decision is made not to prosecute is entitled to ask for a review of that decision. The definition of victim is from the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime 2013 (Victims’ Code) ‘a person that has suffered harm, including physical, mental or emotional harm or economic loss which was directly caused by criminal conduct’. This includes:

  • Close relatives of a person whose death was directly caused by criminal conduct;

  • Parents or guardians where the main victim is a child or youth under 18;

  • Family spokespersons of victims with a disability or who are so badly injured that they cannot communicate; and

  • Businesses, providing they give a named point of contact.

How will the scheme work?

Victims will be notified in writing of their right to ask for a review at the point they are informed of the decision not to prosecute. 
Victims wishing to request a review will need to do so in writing by letter to:-
Operation Resolve, Hillsborough Investigation Team, Renaissance House, Centre Park, Warrington, WA1 1QN or by email to info@OperationResolve.co.uk

The request will be forwarded to the National Police Chiefs Council Head of Crime Business Area, Chief Constable Mike Barton, for review by Durham Constabulary or by another force as appropriate.
The reviewing officer will notify the victim of the outcome in writing unless it is inappropriate or the victim has stated this is not their preferred method of contact.

What details will I need to provide?

  • Name of the person submitting the request
  • Address and contact details
  • Details of the victim
  • Address and contact details
  • Date and type of offence subject of police investigation
  • Brief outline of reasons supporting the request for review

Are there any time limits?

  • Victims can request a review within 3 months of being notified of the decision not to prosecute.
  • Requests from victims should be acknowledged within 10 working days.
  • Where possible the review should be completed and the decision communicated to the victim within 30 working days. This might not be possible and where this is the case, the victim should be notified and updated regularly on the progress of the review.

What are the potential outcomes of a review?

  • The original decision to take no further action is upheld;
  • The original decision is overturned and proceedings are commenced against the suspect, i.e. they are charged/summonsed;
  • The original decision is overturned and the suspect is dealt with by way of an out of court disposal;
  • The original decision is overturned and the case is referred to the CPS for a charging decision;
  • It is determined that further enquiries need to be completed before the reviewing officer can make their decision;
  • The original decision is overturned but the case is statute-barred and proceeding cannot be instigated.

What if the victim is unhappy with the outcome?

  • A victim who is unhappy with the outcome of the police review and wishes to pursue the matter further can apply to the High Court for a judicial review.
  • A victim could appeal an Operation Resolve decision not to prosecute resulting in that decision being overturned and the matter being referred to the CPS for a charging decision.  The CPS could then decide to take no further action and the victim would then be entitled to ask for a review of the CPS decision under the CPS Victims Right to Review scheme and ultimately to refer the matter for a judicial review.