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Structure

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 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 Policy & Information Unit and the Victim & Witness Care Unit.

PPS Org Chart 2019.pdf

High Court & International

The High Court & International section deals with a diverse range of complex judicial and international legal matters. The section is based at Belfast Chambers and is headed up by Assistant Director Eilis McGrath. Eilis is in charge of a team of eight prosecutors, and 13 support staff.

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, civil cases, unduly lenient sentences, appeals to the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, and cases referred by the Criminal Cases Review Commission. 

 Fraud and Departmental

The Fraud & Departmental section of the PPS deals with serious and complex fraud files submitted by the police and the National Crime Agency as well as files from Northern Ireland government departments and their agencies including the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, the Health and Safety Executive, HM Revenue and Customs,  the Social Security Agency and others. 

In addition to fraud cases the section consider files such as pollution, benefit fraud, agriculture-related offences and health and safety offences, including work place fatalities.  The section is headed by Assistant Director Lynne Carlin, who leads a team of seven prosecutors and 14 support staff. Fraud & Departmental is a central PPS function, based in our Headquarters in Belfast Chambers.

 Central Casework

The Central Casework section 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 Martin Hardy. 

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 deals with a range of the most serious offences including murder/manslaughter, rape and other serious sexual offences, human trafficking, prostitution and related offences. The Unit is led by Assistant Director Ciaran McQuillan and has a dedicated team of ten Senior Public Prosecutors, and three Higher Court Advocates, based in Belfast Chambers.

The Unit works mostly on the particularly complex casework associated with murder and serious sexual crimes, enabling the sharing of best practice and consistency of approach across the team. It also provides Policy leads for area’s dealt with by the unit.

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 Belfast & Eastern Region consider all files sent to the PPS by the PSNI, 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, Fraud & Departmental, Central Casework or High Court & International sections.  Roger Davison, Assistant Director heads up the Belfast and Eastern Region, which covers courts in Belfast (Laganside), Antrim, Ballymena, Lisburn, Ards and Downpatrick.

 Western & Southern Region

The Western & 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 Assistant Director with responsibility for the Western and Southern Region is Aubrey Murray. Aubrey is in charge of a team of 44 prosecutors, who are based in Foyle Chambers and Newry Chambers

They deal with all offence types, except those dealt with by specialist units such as Fraud & Departmental, Central Casework and 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 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. Corporate Services provides the PPS with a variety of support and governance services. Comprising around 110 staff, the section includes the Victim & Witness Care Unit, ICT, Human Resources, Finance & Fees, the Communications Unit, and the Business Assurance & Property Management team.

Also within Corporate Services is the Policy & Information Unit (PIU). The Unit, which is based in Belfast Chambers, is responsible for policy development, legal guidance, quality assurance, statistics and research and project management.

The Unit includes a mix of legal and other specialists and is headed by Dr Richard Scullion. The PIU is the first point of contact for Criminal Justice partners and will have responsibility for PPS input to ongoing and future CJSNI initiatives, such as Committal Reform and problem-solving courts, and will provide membership to working groups within the sector. The unit co-ordinates liaison with external agencies, including Criminal Justice Inspection and Forensic Science NI.