Who can commence criminal proceedings?                

 

The statute creating an offence may expressly give a person or class of persons the right to institute criminal proceedings for the offence in the Court. For example, the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 gives the Environment Protection Authority the right to institute proceedings for all offences against that Act (s 217(1)) but also gives other regulatory authorities the right to institute proceedings for certain specified offences (see s 217(2) and s 218).  Otherwise, any other person or regulatory authority can commence proceedings for an offence against the Act if the Court grants the person or regulatory authority leave to bring the proceedings (s 219).

If the statute creating the offence does not expressly confer the right to institute criminal proceedings for an offence against the statute on a specified person or class of persons, a person may use the common informer provisions of s 14 of the Criminal Procedure Act 1986.  This provision allows a prosecution or proceedings for an offence against an Act to be instituted by any person unless the right to institute the prosecution or proceedings is expressly conferred by that Act on a specified person or class of persons.  An example where the common informer provision is used is for proceedings for an offence against the Native Vegetation Act 2003 because that Act does not expressly confer the right to institute proceedings for an offence against that Act on any specified person or class of persons.

 

 

 

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