EU Resource Centre

This Anti-Corruption Helpdesk brief was produced in response to a query from the European Commission. The Anti-Corruption Helpdesk is operated by Transparency International and funded by the European Union


Can you provide an overview of the main international/EU standards/principles related to judicial review and prosecutorial discretion?


1. Prosecutorial discretion and the role of public prosecutors in the criminal justice system

2. Prosecutors’ autonomy vs. the need for judicial review and other accountability mechanisms

3. List of relevant international standards and recommendations


There are several general international principles and recommendations regarding the conduct of prosecutors, prosecutorial discretion and accountability mechanisms, including judicial review. However, there are no specific international standards regarding judicial review by courts on prosecutors’ decisions not to prosecute, as such principles and standards are very country-specific and depend on the country’s legal framework.

This answer looks at the main issues and challenges when discussing prosecutorial discretion and judicial review, and provides an overview of the main recommendations put forward by international and intergovernmental organisations as well as professional associations to ensure that prosecutors’ decisions are fair and impartial and that their discretionary power is not abused


Maíra Martini, Transparency International, [email protected]


Marie Chêne, Transparency International; Robin Hodess PhD, Transparency International




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