What is the role of prosecutors?

The CDPP prosecutes crimes against Commonwealth law.

We decide whether or not a case is strong enough to go to court and what charges should be laid. We don’t investigate crimes―other agencies such as the Australian Federal Police do this.

When deciding which crimes to prosecute, we follow guidelines set out in the Prosecution Policy of the Commonwealth.

Our prosecutors are lawyers employed by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

  • They are involved at all stages of the prosecution process, including mentions, bail, summary matters, committals, trials and appeals. Prosecutors can appear in all courts, including the Magistrates’, District and Local Courts, to the High Court of Australia.
  • Prosecutors assess evidence, draft charges and provide legal advice and help investigators such as the police.
  • While they work with victims and witnesses, they are not representing them. Their role is to act on behalf of the Australian community to uphold the Commonwealth (national) law.
  • Prosecutors must take a range of factors into account, such as the public interest, when deciding whether or not to prosecute a matter. More information about how decisions are made can be found in the Commonwealth’s Prosecution Policy.
  • Prosecutors always treat victims with courtesy, compassion, cultural sensitivity and respect for their dignity and entitlements, and take their views into account.

More information