Detailed guide: Service Prosecuting Authority

Ministry Of Defence

February 24
09:22 2021

What we do

The Service Prosecuting Authority (SPA) is the principal prosecuting authority within the Service Justice System and is responsible for the prosecution of service offences before the Service Courts, which include, the Court Martial, the Court Martial Appeal Court, the Service Civilian Court and the Summary Appeal Court.

In respect of cases referred to it by either a Service Police Force or a Commanding Officer, the SPA:

  • decides whether the case should be prosecuted
  • decides where the case should be prosecuted
  • determines the appropriate charges to bring
  • prepares cases and presents them in the Service courts using either employed advocates or members of the Bar.

In addition the SPA works closely with and provides advice to the Service Police Forces in respect to the investigation of offences.

How we do it

The SPA is independent of both the Ministry of Defence and the military chain of command in respect of its prosecutorial functions.

The SPA acts under the general superintendence of the Attorney General.

The SPA acts in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors.

The SPA is committed to delivering a high quality prosecution service, as expressed in our Casework Quality Standards (PDF, 73.1KB, 4 pages).

Who we are

The SPA was established in 2009 when the three single service prosecuting authorities were amalgamated.

The Director of Service Prosecutions (DSP) is the head of the SPA and operates under the general superintendence of the Attorney General.

The current Director of Service Prosecutions is Mr Jonathan Rees QC biography (PDF, 100KB, 1 page).

The current Deputy Director of Service Prosecutions is Mr Darren Reed biography (PDF, 89.5KB, 1 page).

The principal statute governing the Service Justice System is the Armed Forces Act 2006.

The SPA employs 53 members of staff, 28 of whom are prosecutors.

The principles we follow:

The SPA will act with fairness and impartiality seeking always to achieve the outcome that best meets the interests of justice.

In particular Service prosecutors will act in accordance with the following:

Publication scheme

Contact details

Service Prosecuting Authority
RAF Northolt
West End Road


Published 12 December 2012
Last updated 24 February 2021 +show all updates
  1. Added a contact email address.

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