Page last updated at 11:05 GMT, Friday, 25 July 2008 12:05 UK

Crown prosecution director named

Keir Starmer
Keir Starmer QC is known for his human rights work

Barrister Keir Starmer QC has been named as the next director of the Crown Prosecution Service.

Mr Starmer, known for his human rights work, said he was delighted to take up the post.

"The CPS is at the heart of the criminal justice system...leading it at this important time will be a great privilege," he said.

He will being his new job on 1 November when the current director Sir Ken Macdonald steps down.

Attorney General Baroness Scotland said she believed Mr Starmer had the ability, knowledge and vision to take the Crown Prosecution Service into the future.

"Keir has practised as a highly respected member of the independent bar with great distinction. He has previously prosecuted for the Crown and advised the CPS, and has also acted against the government on various issues," she said

"That is in the nature of his present role as an independent barrister. I value the skills and independence he will bring to his role."

Human rights

Mr Starmer, 45, is best known for his work challenging government decisions in the fields of human rights and criminal law. His cases include:

  • representing the family of James Ashley, who was shot dead by police when naked and unarmed in 1998, in their successful Lords case for the right to bring a civil misconduct action against Sussex Police
  • acting for two terror suspects in the House of Lords case last year which declared the control order system for terror suspects unlawful under human rights law
  • leading a team representing 14 human rights organisations in a critical Lords case in 2005 which ruled that intelligence extracted by torture is not admissible in any British court

As director of public prosecutions, Mr Starmer will run the Crown Prosecution Service, which is responsible for bringing most criminal prosecutions in England and Wales.

Sir Ken has had five years in the job, and like Mr Starmer he was a high-profile defence lawyer before his appointment.

Sir Ken described his successor as an "outstanding lawyer" who would "bring exactly the right values and leadership to the CPS".

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