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Justice (Northern Ireland) Act 2002

Section 30: Director of Public Prosecutions

56.This section sets out the appointment criteria for the Director and Deputy Director. The legal qualifications for the two post-holders are set out in subsections (2) and (3) respectively.

57.The Director and Deputy Director would normally hold their posts until they reach the age of 65, unless the Attorney General for Northern Ireland extends their period of appointment, they resign by giving notice in writing, or are dismissed by the Attorney General under section 40 (which applies prior to devolution) or section 43 (which sets out the arrangements for an independent tribunal which will operate after devolution) (subsections (5) and (6)).

58.Subsections (7) and (8) set out the arrangements for temporarily exercising the functions of Director and Deputy Director should those posts fall vacant. If there were no Director, it would be for the Deputy Director to exercise the functions of the post until another Director was appointed by the Attorney General for Northern Ireland. If the post of Deputy Director became vacant, then the Attorney General for Northern Ireland could appoint an acting Deputy Director from the prosecution service staff under subsection (8) to cover that period.

59.In accordance with the recommendations of the Review, subsection (11) provides that the Director cannot be required by the Assembly to answer questions or produce documents other than in relation to the finances and administration of the prosecution service. As the Director is meant to have complete independence in the exercise of his functions (subject to the accountability measures and limits set out in this legislation) it would not be appropriate for the Assembly to question him on individual cases. These provisions also apply to the Deputy Director and other members of staff.

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