Criminal Practice Directions, Court of Appeal - Criminal Division, October 03, 2013, [2013] EWCA Crim 1631

Resolution Date:October 03, 2013
Issuing Organization:Criminal Division
Actores:Criminal Practice Directions

1Neutral Citation Number: [2013] EWCA Crim 1631IN THE COURT OF APPEAL (CRIMINAL DIVISION)Royal Courts of JusticeStrand, London, WC2A 2LLDate: 03/10/2013Before :LORD CHIEF JUSTICE OF ENGLAND AND WALES- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -CRIMINAL PRACTICE DIRECTIONSGeneral mattersCPD General matters AA.1 The Lord Chief Justice has power, including power under section 74 of the Courts Act 2003 and Part 1 of Schedule 2 of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, to make directions as to the practice and procedure of the criminal courts. The following directions are made accordingly.A.2 These Practice Directions replace the Consolidated Criminal Practice Direction of 8 July 2002 ([2002] 1 W.L.R. 2870; [2002] 2 Cr. App. R. 35), as amended, which is hereby revoked, with the exception of sections III.21, IV.31, IV.32, IV. 33, IV.38 and IV.41.9. The Practice Directions, Practice Notes and Practice Statements listed in Annex A and Annex B of the 2002 consolidation are also revoked. Annexes D, E and F remain in force.A.3 These Practice Directions, which shall be known as the Criminal Practice Directions, take effect from the 7th October 2013. They apply to all cases in all the criminal courts of England and Wales from that date.Part 1 The overriding objectiveCPD General matters 1A1A.1 The presumption of innocence and an adversarial process are essential features of English and Welsh legal tradition and of the defendant's right to a fair trial. But it is no part of a fair trial that questions of guilt and innocence should be determined by procedural manoeuvres. On the contrary, fairness is best served when the issues between the parties are identified as early and as clearly as possible. As Lord Justice Auld noted, a criminal trial is not a game under which a guilty defendant should be provided with a sporting chance. It is a search for truth in accordance with the twin principles that the prosecution must prove its case and that a defendant is not obliged to inculpate himself, the object being to convict the guilty and acquit the innocent.1A.2 Further, it is not just for a party to obstruct or delay the preparation of a case for trial in order to secure some perceived procedural advantage, or to take unfair advantage of a mistake by someone else. If courts allow that to happen it damages public confidence in criminal justice. The Rules and the Practice Direction, taken together, make it clear that courts must not allow it to happen.Part 2 Understanding and applying the Rules Part 3 Case managementCPD General matters 3A: CASE MANAGEMENT3A.1 To avoid unnecessary and wasted hearings, the parties should be allowed adequate time to prepare, having regard to the time limits for applications and notices set by the Criminal Procedure Rules and by other legislation. When those time limits have expired, the parties will be expected to be fully prepared.3A.2 The required forms and guidance notes can all be found in Annex D. PDF and Word versions are available on the Criminal Procedure Rules pages of the Ministry of Justice website. The forms to be used in magistrates' courts contain directions some of which are determined by Criminal Procedure Rules or other legislation and some of which are discretionary, as explained in the guidance notes. All those directions apply in every case unless the court otherwise orders.Cases to be tried in a magistrates' court or a youth court3A.3 The trial preparation form authorised for use must be used. The form, read with the notes, constitutes a timetable for the effective preparation of a case and provides a list of all the matters that the court should consider in giving directions for trial.Cases sent for trial in the Crown Court3A.4 The magistrates' court that sends a case for trial should remind the parties of the time limits set by the Criminal Procedure Rules and other legislation applicable, in the standard form produced for the court by Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service.3A.5 In the magistrates' court's discretion, having consulted the Crown Court, it may give other directions for the preparation of the case: see rule 3.5(3) of the Criminal Procedure Rules. In particular, the magistrates' court may give directions for the case to be listed in the Crown Court for an early guilty plea hearing, a preliminary hearing or a plea and case management hearing, as appropriate.Early guilty plea hearing3A.6 The magistrates' court or the Crown Court may order an early guilty plea hearing, in accordance with directions given by the presiding judges, where a guilty plea is anticipated, to allow the Crown Court promptly to deal with such a case.3A.7 Sentence should normally be passed at an early guilty plea hearing. The parties must prepare accordingly in advance of the hearing. This may include:i) addressing any issue arising from a basis of plea,ii) making timely application for a pre-sentence report and, if granted, ensuring that the Probation Service is provided with details of the offence(s) in respect of which the defendant intends to plead guilty, the details of any basis of plea(s) and of the defendant's current address and telephone number(s),iii) obtaining medical or other material necessary for sentencing, andiv) quantifying costs.3A.8 The court must be notified promptly of any difficulty which may mean that sentence cannot be passed at the hearing so that an alternative date can be considered. Preliminary hearings for cases sent for trial3A.9 If no early guilty plea hearing is ordered, the magistrates' court or the Crown Court should order a preliminary hearing where:(a) there are case management issues which call for such a hearing;(b) the trial is likely to last for more than 4 weeks;(c) it would be desirable to set an early trial date; or(d) the defendant is a child or young person.If there is to be a preliminary hearing, it is preferable for this to be held between 14 and 21 days after the case is sent for trial.Plea and case management hearings (`PCMH')3A.10 Where the magistrates' court does not order an early guilty plea hearing or a preliminary hearing, it should order a plea and case management hearing to be held within about:(a) 13 weeks after sending for trial, where a defendant is in custody; or(b) 16 weeks after sending for trial, where a defendant is on bail.3A.11 Those periods accommodate the periods fixed by the relevant rules and other legislation for the service of:(a) the prosecution case papers (see rule 9.15 of the Criminal Procedure Rules, and the regulations to which that rule refers);(b) prosecution initial disclosure (see rule 22.2 of the Criminal Procedure Rules, and the legislation to which that rule refers);(c) the indictment (see rule 14.1 of the Criminal Procedure Rules);(d) the defence statement and witness notice (see rule 22.4 of the Criminal Procedure Rules, and the legislation to which that rule refers);(e) any defence application to dismiss the charges (see rule 9.16 of the Criminal Procedure Rules, and the legislation to which that rule refers);(f) any defence application for prosecution disclosure (see rule 22.5 of the Criminal Procedure Rules, and the legislation to which that rule refers);(g) any defence application under Part 36 of the Criminal Procedure Rules (evidence of a complainant's previous sexual behaviour); and(h) the prosecution response to any such application.3A.12 Where the parties realistically expect to have completed these preparatory steps in less time than that then the magistrates' court should order the PCMH to be held earlier. But it will not normally be appropriate to order that the PCMH be held on a date before the expiry of at least 4 weeks from the date on which the prosecutor expects to serve the prosecution case papers, to allow the defence a proper opportunity to consider them and give a defence statement. To order that a PCMH be held before the parties have had a reasonable opportunity to complete their preparation in accordance with the Criminal Procedure Rules risks compromising the effectiveness of this most important pre-trial hearing and risks wasting their time and that of the court.3A.13 Active case management at the PCMH is essential, to reduce the number of ineffective, cracked and vacated trials and delays during the trial to resolve legal issues. The effectiveness of a PCMH hearing in a contested case depends in large measure upon preparation by all concerned and upon the presence of the trial advocate, or an advocate who is able to make decisions and give the court the assistance which the trial advocate could be expected to give. Resident Judges, in setting the listing policy, should ensure that list officers fix cases as far as possible to enable the trial advocate to conduct the PCMH and the trial.3A.14 The PCMH form authorised for use provides a list of all the matters that the court should consider in giving directions for trial.3A.15 Additional pre-trial hearings should be held only if needed for some compelling reason. Such hearings - often described informally as `mentions' - are expensive and should actively be discouraged. Where necessary the power to give, vary or revoke a direction without a hearing should be used. Rule 3.9(3) of the Criminal Procedure Rules enables the court to require the parties' case progression officers to inform the Crown Court case progression officer that the case is ready for trial, that it will proceed as a trial on the date fixed and will take no more or less time than that previously ordered.CPD General matters 3B: Pagination and Indexing of Served Evidence3B.1 The following directions apply to matters before the Crown Court, where(a) there is an application to prefer a bill of indictment in relation to the case;(b) a person is sent for trial under section 51 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 (sending cases to the Crown Court), to the service of copies of the documents...

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