Dr Grace Ononiwu CBE
Grace has served as the Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP) for the West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) region since June 2014 – the first woman to hold this post. She is ultimately responsible for all prosecution decisions and conduct of cases by CPS staff throughout the region. She has a personal involvement in many of those cases and on occasion meets victims of crime and/or their families to explain the decision take in in cases that involve them.
Grace qualified as a solicitor in 1991 and originally joined a private firm of solicitors in High Wycombe practising criminal law. She joined the CPS as a Crown Prosecutor and held a number of positions in the service, which led to her ultimate appointment as Northamptonshire CCP in April 2005, making her the first African Caribbean to be appointed to that position in the history of the CPS.
In April 2009 Grace was appointed Legal Director for North Region, CPS London, before becoming Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor for the London Districts. In 2012, she became the CCP for the East of England Area.
Grace has made a significant contribution to the CPS Equality and Diversity agenda and was previously the Chair of the National Black Crown Prosecution Association (NBCPA). She has a national profile within the CPS, which includes membership of strategic boards dealing with issues affecting the service across England and Wales. She is the National Lead and joint Chair of the Crown Court Business Board, responsible for developing and embedding the CPS strategy for the handling of crown court casework across the country and has been chosen as the CPS’ first Community Engagement and Inclusion Champion.
Grace was awarded the OBE in 2008 in recognition for her work within the CPS and received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Hertfordshire in 2017, in recognition for her contribution to justice and the legal system, including her ongoing work to promote legal education.
In the 2019 Birthday Honours, Grace was awarded the Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to Law and Order.
Grace has been included in the 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 Power list, which features 100 of the UK’s most influential men and women of African, African Caribbean and African American heritage.