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Structure


How the PPS is structured

The Public Prosecution Service is based across four locations, with offices in Belfast, Londonderry, Newry and a satellite office in Omagh.

There are six legal sections within the PPS, each headed by an Assistant Director who will have overall responsibility for decision making on investigation files and for the conduct of prosecutions in their section. The Corporate Services section of the PPS provides the organisation with a range of support and governance services, including the Victim & Witness Care Unit, Finance, Human Resources and ICT.

At present the PPS Management Board, consisting of the Deputy Director (as Chair), Senior Assistant Director and all Assistant Directors acts as the main decision-making body for strategic and management decisions. In keeping with his statutory responsibilities, final authority for all decisions remains with the Director of Public Prosecutions, Barra McGrory QC.

PPS Senior Management Structure 2016.pdf

Appeals & International

The Public Prosecution Service’s Appeals & International section deals with a diverse range of complex specialist areas of policy, legal advice and judicial matters. It is based at Belfast Chambers and headed up by Assistant Director Eilis McGrath.  The Unit’s work is split into three key areas of responsibility which come under the headings High Court and International, Legal Guidance and Advice and Quality Assurance.  Overall, Eilis will be in charge of a team of 12 Public Prosecutors, ten of them Senior Public Prosecutors, and 17 support staff.

The largest strand in this section, High Court and International, has responsibility for PPS work involving High Court bail applications, Restraint and Confiscation orders, Extradition, International Letters of Request, judicial reviews, appeals to the Court of Appeal and cases referred by the Criminal Cases Review Commission.  The Legal Guidance and Advice strand will take on a portion of the out-going Policy Section, including legal and thematic policy and advice, while Quality Assurance will protect the high standard of PPS work.


Fraud and Departmental

The Fraud and Departmental section of the Public Prosecution Service deals with serious and complex fraud files submitted by the police, as well as files from Northern Ireland Government Departments and their agencies such as the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, the Health and Safety Executive, HM Revenue and Customs and the Social Security Agency. 

In addition to Fraud cases the division consider files relating to pollution, benefit fraud, agriculture-related offences and health and safety offences, including work place fatalities.  The section is headed by Assistant Director Ciaran McQuillan, who leads a team of seven Prosecutors and 14 support staff, based in PPS headquarters in Belfast Chambers.


Central Casework

The Central Casework division consider some of the most high profile and difficult cases in Northern Ireland, including all files relating to terrorism. A dedicated team of eight Senior Public Prosecutors work in a centralised function at Belfast Chambers, led by Assistant Director Michael Agnew. 

Among the cases considered by Central Casework include all terrorist cases, legacy issues and all cases involving alleged collusion, gross negligence manslaughter, corruption, misfeasance in public office, serious complaints against police and serious organised crime cases.  These complex case types will most often involve consideration of novel points of law or involve areas of law where there may be little legal precedent. As such these cases are amongst the most likely to require early engagement with the PSNI, which may include the provision of prosecutorial advice.


Serious Crime Unit

The Serious Crime Unit will deal with a range of the most serious offences including murder/manslaughter, rape and serious sexual offences, human trafficking, prostitution and related offences. The Unit is led by Assistant Director Marianne O’Kane and includes a team of ten Senior Public Prosecutors, based in Belfast Chambers.

Prosecutors will work in teams of two in order to provide continuity and to ensure that cases are progressed without delay.  It is intended that the section will enable greater resilience and consistency of approach as well as increasing the scope for specialisation and sharing of best practice in relation to the management of these cases.

Support is provided by the Casework and Court Support teams from the Belfast and Eastern Region administrative teams. A Detective Sergeant from the PSNI has been appointed as the dedicated PSNI/PPS Liaison Officer for the Unit.  


Belfast & Eastern Region

The new Belfast and Eastern Region consider all files sent to the Public Prosecution Service by the Police Service of Northern Ireland, and by Agencies such as the Harbour Police, regarding all crimes committed in greater Belfast and the surrounding areas, from Ballymena to Newcastle.

With 50 public Prosecutors (including 11 Senior Public Prosecutors) and over 100 support staff, the Belfast and Eastern Region is the largest section in the organisation and deals with the biggest number of files. Prosecutors in the Region deal with all offence types, except those specialised cases that are allocated to the Serious Crime Unit, or to the Fraud and Departmental, Central Casework or Appeals and International sections.  Roger Davison, Assistant Director heads up the Belfast and Eastern Region, that will cover courts in Belfast (Laganside), Antrim, Ballymena, Lisburn, Ards and Downpatrick.


Western and Southern Region

Western and Southern Region covers a wide geographic area which includes counties Londonderry, Fermanagh, Armagh and Tyrone as well as parts of North Antrim and South Down.

The current Assistant Director with responsibility for the Western and Southern Region is Aubrey Murray. Aubrey is in charge of a team of 44 Public Prosecutors, 11 of them Senior Public Prosecutors who, from 11th April 2016, will be based in either the Foyle or Newry offices. They deal with all offence types, except those specialised or complex files allocated to specific branches such as Fraud & Departmental, Central Casework or the Serious Crime Unit. The team also includes over 100 support staff who are based in the Foyle or Newry offices or the satellite premises in Omagh. Courts in Enniskillen, Strabane, Omagh, Dungannon, Derry, Limavady, Coleraine and Magherafelt will be serviced mainly from the Foyle Office whilst the courts in Armagh, Craigavon and Newry will be serviced mainly from the Newry office.  

Corporate Services

The final section of the new PPS structure is Corporate Services, which is headed by Senior Assistant Director Ian Hearst, who chairs the committee responsible for the PPS Transformation Programme. Corporate Services provides the PPS with a variety of support and governance services. Comprising 110 staff, the section includes the Victim and Witness Care Unit, ICT, Human Resources, Finance & Fees, the Communications Unit (ppspressoffice@ppsni.gov.uk), the Business Assurance and Property Management team and the Central Management Unit (info@ppsni.gsi.gov.uk).