Alison Saunders

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Person.png Alison Saunders   PowerbaseRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Alison Saunders.jpg
Aberdeen, Scotland
CitizenshipUnited Kingdom
Alma materUniversity of Leeds

Employment.png Director of Public Prosecutions Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
1 November 2013 - 31 October 2018
Preceded byKeir Starmer

Alison Saunders is a former Director of Public Prosecutions whose tenure was marked by a number of controversies, including the collapse of some rape trials after the prosecution failed to disclose evidence. That led to a review of every rape and serious sexual assault case in the country. In January 2018, the BBC reported that the number of prosecutions in England and Wales that had collapsed due to a failure by police or prosecutors to disclose evidence had jumped 70 per cent, from 537 in 2014/15 to 917 in 2016/17.


Alison Saunders became the first DPP to be overruled on a “victim right to review” when she decided it was not in the public interest for Lord Janner, the late Labour peer, to stand trial for alleged sexual abuse because of his dementia. An independent QC found otherwise.[1]

Non-prosecution of Conservative MPs

In May 2017, Alison Saunders announced that no criminal charges would be brought against more than 20 Conservative MPs over the national party’s failure to accurately declare campaign spending on a battlebus tour at the 2015 General Election.

The Crown Prosecution Service said their constituency spending declarations “may have been inaccurate” but concluded there was insufficient evidence to prove dishonesty or bring a criminal case against the MPs and their agents.

At issue was whether the costs of a Conservative campaign battlebus should have been accounted for by local campaigns where the legal spending limits are tighter at between about £11,000 and £16,000, depending on the size of the constituency

Nick Vamos, the CPS head of special crime, said it was not in the public interest to bring charges. “By omitting any battlebus costs, the returns may have been inaccurate,” he said. “However, it is clear agents were told by Conservative Party headquarters that the costs were part of the national campaign and it would not be possible to prove any agent acted knowingly or dishonestly,” he said.[2]

Promotion of secret trials

Full article: Secret trial

As Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders asked the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to intervene and seek a secret trial (a “closed material procedure”) in the case of Abdel Hakim Belhaj and Fatima Boudchar.[3]