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Disclosure in Criminal Cases in the Magistrates’ Courts

|Media Release

Judicial Office Media Release

29 May 2014

A review of disclosure in criminal cases in the magistrates’ courts has been published today. See the PDF download link at bottom of page.

The review was carried out by the Senior District Judge and Chief Magistrate, Howard Riddle, and the Resident Judge at Woolwich Crown Court, His Honour Judge Kinch QC, at the request of the Senior Presiding Judge, Lord Justice Gross. It considers the practical operation of the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996 disclosure regime in the magistrates’ courts, with a particular focus on the proportionality of time and costs.

The review concludes that there should be a change of emphasis, with much earlier consideration of the case and disclosure by the prosecution and earlier provision of material to the defence.

The review also recommends further training for magistrates and other court users before the planned changes are introduced.

The review was undertaken with the assistance of a range of criminal justice organisations and individuals, including the members of the judiciary, prosecuting authorities, police and law enforcement representatives, MOJ, HMCTS and members of the Bar and solicitors.

Implementation of the review is due to start in September.

For further information contact:  Judicial Press Office on 020 7073 4852

 Notes for Editors

  • The first review by Lord Justice Gross made clear at paragraph 167 that the operation and proportionality of disclosure in the magistrates’ courts was beyond its remit, but may warrant consideration by others in the future.
  • The second review conducted by Lord Justice Gross and Lord Justice Treacyconsidered the topic of sanctions for disclosure failure2. The review made no reference to the position in magistrates’ courts, save for a short analysis on the development of case law, notably R v Newell3 which distinguished the different position regarding disclosure in a magistrates’ court and in the Crown Court, (see paragraphs 120 to 121 of that review).


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