If so, by what rule(s) or principle(s) is this the case? Obviously judges are required to be impartial and expected to otherwise recuse themselves. But does the same hold true of prosecutors?

  • 1
    What do you mean by "personally interested". E.g. if a prosecutor has a strong sense of justice and wishes to imprison a serial murder should they then recuse themselves?
    – user6726
    Commented Jan 6 at 21:08
  • 1
    Yes. Conflict of interests or personal views are usually the main reasons why some officials recuse themselves.
    – Full Array
    Commented Jan 7 at 2:25

2 Answers 2



Assuming by “personally interested” you mean “has a conflict of interest” - all prosecutors should be personally interested in every case they work on.

Prosecutors are solicitors and are governed by the same ethical rules as all other solicitors. In particular, Rule 6.1:

You do not act if there is an own interest conflict or a significant risk of such a conflict.


This issue is not only governed by the rules of ethics that Dale M points out, but can also, in exceptional circumstances, provide grounds for an abuse of process claim and a stay of proceedings.

Prosecutorial discretion is reviewable on "abuse of process" grounds. This requires a showing of "flagrant impropriety":

(for example, where there is proof of misconduct bordering on corruption, violation of the law, or bias against or for a particular individual or offence) or “malicious prosecution”

R. v. Nixon, 2009 ABCA 269, at para 41, citing Krieger v. Law Society of Alberta, 2002 SCC 65, para. 49.

A prosecutor who fails to remove themself from a case in those circumstances jeopardizes the prosecution.

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