The office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) was established by law under the Prosecution of Offences Act, 1974. The Director, Catherine Pierse, is independent in the performance of her functions.
The duties of the Director are to:
- enforce the criminal law in the courts on behalf of the People of Ireland
- direct and supervise public prosecutions on indictment (formal written accusations) in the courts
- give general direction and advice to An Garda Síochána (the Irish police force) in relation to summary cases (less serious cases which can be heard in the District Court) and
- give specific direction to An Garda Síochána (the Gardaí) in cases where requested.
The Chief Prosecution Solicitor provides a solicitor service within the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions on behalf of the Director in cases dealt with in Dublin.
Provision of service outside of Dublin
The State Solicitor service (32 solicitors in private practice who are employed by the DPP on a contract basis) act on behalf of the Director in Circuit Courts and occasionally in the District Courts outside of Dublin. They support private barristers working for the DPP to present the prosecution case in the Circuit Court in their respective county.
There is generally one State Solicitor per county but in certain counties, State Solicitor areas have been split to take account of factors such as population. For example, County Cork is divided into four areas: Cork City, Cork North East, Cork South East and Cork West.
The Office of the DPP has four divisions:
- Directing Division – this consists of prosecutors who examine criminal investigation files and decide whether or not to take a prosecution.
- Solicitors Division – this consists of prosecutors and legal executives who prepare and conduct cases on behalf of the Director in all courts sitting in Dublin, including the:
- District Court
- Circuit Court
- Superior Courts (Central Criminal Court and Special Criminal Court)
- Judicial Review
- Appeals Court
This division also includes the Special Financial Unit.
- Prosecution Support Services Division – this incorporates the International Unit, the Prosecution Policy and Research Unit (including the library, information and knowledge management services) and the Victims Liaison Unit.
- Administration Division – this consists of general civil service grades and provides human resources, IT and other support services to the three legal divisions.
The Director and her staff do not give legal advice to members of the public. If you are looking for legal advice, please consult your solicitor.