Trading Standards prosecution and enforcement sanctions policy

Some common public interest factors tending against prosecution

We will consider the following factors when deciding whether or not to institute proceedings as they may mitigate the need to bring a prosecution or an application for an enforcement order:

  • a conviction is likely to result in a nominal penalty
  • the offence resulted from a genuine mistake or misunderstanding
  • the seriousness and the consequences of the offence(s) can be adequately dealt with by an alternative enforcement sanction which the offender accepts and with which he or she complies
  • the loss or harm can be described as minor and was the result of a single incident rather than a commercial practice
  • there has been a long delay between the offence taking place and the date of the trial, unless:
    • the offence is serious
    • the delay is caused wholly or in part by the offender
    • the offence has only recently come to light; or
    • the complexity of the offence has meant that there has been a long investigation
  • the prosecution or enforcement order proceedings is likely to have a detrimental effect on the victims physical or mental welfare
  • the offender is elderly or a minor, or was, at the time of the offence, suffering significant mental or physical ill health
  • the offender has put right the loss or harm caused (although prosecution or an enforcement sanctions will not be avoided solely because the victim has been compensated)
  • the views of a relevant “Primary” or “Home “ Authority, i.e. another Trading Standards Service maintaining a relationship with the suspect
  • the explanation offered by the offender
  • the willingness and or actions of the offender to prevent a recurrence of the noncompliance