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A NEW world-wide grouping of prosecuting lawyers is set to be officially launched in Budapest next April.
Planning for the International Association of Public Prosecutors has already begun and an organising committee has been established.
Committee member Eamonn Barnes, Director of Public Prosecutions for the Republic of Ireland, says the proposal for the formation of the group was first introduced by Hungary's National Association of Public Prosecutors.
The committee originally comprised representatives from Hungary, Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland and the Crown Prosecution Service of England and Wales, but membership has increased since its formation.
Formally established earlier this month, the group is self-funded and open to both individual and corporate members.
"We expect every country affiliated with the UN to have a member and many of those will have a number of members," says Barnes.
"Anybody who is or has been a prosecutor will be invited to join."
Barnes says an executive committee is yet to be appointed, and it has not been decided where the body will be based, but both matters are expected to be resolved when the association is inaugurated some time next year.
He adds that the group will have a two-fold purpose: monitoring ethical standards and improving the efficiency of prosecutors across the globe.
"The exchange of information and experience is the primary reason for the association," says Barnes. "But it will also help with the enhancement of prosecutorial standards."
The body has received a positive response from prosecutors in the UK, with one CPS lawyer saying it will enable advocates to learn from experience in other jurisdictions.
"Similar problems must be encountered in all legal systems," says the lawyer.
"A grouping of this kind will provide a forum for us to seek common solutions."