The Director of Public Prosecutions was created by the Director of Public Prosecutions Act. It commenced operations on 21 January 1991.
The principal functions of the Director are to institute, prepare and conduct criminal cases on behalf of the Crown before the Supreme Courts and the Courts of Summary Jurisdiction of the Northern Territory and the High Court of Australia.
Those functions extend to all ancillary appellate work and cover the prosecution of all defended indictable matters before the Courts of Summary Jurisdiction and such other defended summary matters as are deemed appropriate. The Office has taken over most of the functions of the Attorney-General in relation to the prosecution of offences.