Magistrates of the Public Prosecutor’s Office

The function of the Public Prosecutors is to request (= demand) the application of criminal law. They defend the public interest and are a party to the criminal proceedings. The term ‘standing judiciary’ is used to refer to the court officials of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, because when they speak in court they do so standing up.

The magistrates of the Public Prosecutor’s Office comprise the Public Prosecutor, his or her delegates and the Advocates-General.
They do not judge cases, unlike the sitting judiciary, but their role is to represent society by defending its interests. They ensure that the criminal law is respected by the judges in the courts.
The General Attorney and the Advocates-General defend the interests of society in the Court of Assizes, the Court of Appeal and the Court of Cassation, and the Public Prosecutor defends them in the Criminal or Police Courts.

When an offence is committed, the Public Prosecutor is informed by the filing of a complaint. The Public Prosecutor then launches the investigations, in collaboration with the judicial police, and possibly the Investigating Judge. During this procedure, the Public Prosecutor supervises the judicial police and manages any custody measures and arrests.
At the end of this phase, the Prosecutor decides whether to close the case without further action, propose an alternative measure to prosecution, or initiate criminal proceedings against the alleged offender.

I was a victim of a criminal offence: consequences and reactions The rights of victims of a criminal offence Criminal proceedings Who is who in criminal proceedings

Useful contacts Glossary

Top Map Exit