Summary of key changes
This is the ninth amendment to the Criminal Practice Directions 2015. It is issued by the Lord Chief Justice on 10 October 2019 and will come into force on 14 October 2019.
This update provides amendments to existing Criminal Practice Directions and supplements the Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Rules 2019 SI 2019/908 that came into force on 7 October 2019. The Table of Content is amended accordingly.
CPDI General Matters ACCESS TO COURTS
Following the judgment of the Administrative Court in R (on the application of Ewing) v Isleworth Crown Court  EWHC 288 (Admin), this new practice direction provides direction to the Crown Court about in what circumstances it may be appropriate for the court to restrict access to the public gallery.
CPD VI Trial 26P: DEFENDANT’S RIGHT TO GIVE OR NOT TO GIVE EVIDENCE
This amendment seeks to ensure that the necessary warning given to an unrepresented defendant at the end of the prosecution’s case, is articulated in clear, unambiguous language.
CPD VII Sentencing S: VARIATION OF SENTENCE
This new practice direction provides guidance to the courts when considering a variation of sentence under s.142 Magistrates’ Court or s.155 Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act. The new section assists courts particularly in relation to whether the variation needs to be made at a hearing, and if so, whether that hearing needs to be in public or private. The nature of the variation and the reasons for it, may in some circumstances demand a public hearing in accordance with the principle of open justice.
CPD IX Appeal 39F: SKELETON ARGUMENTS
The amendment to section 39F.4 enables the Office of the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) to refuse to accept service of a skeleton document that does not meet the requirements as outlined in the practice directions or directions made by the court. It provides discretion to allow the office to return the skeleton to the advocate for amendment.
CPD XI Other proceedings 50A: EXTRADITION: GENERAL MATTERS AND CASE MANAGEMENT
The addition of the new subparagraph ensures a consistent approach in relation to the requirements for skeleton arguments that are served in extradition cases.
CPD IX Appeal 39H: CRIMINAL APPEAL OFFICE BUNDLES & INDEXES FOR FULL COURT HEARINGS
This new section provides guidance for applicants in relation to how electronic bundles should be presented and paginated to ensure accuracy and consistency for the court.
CPD XII General Application D: Citation of Authority AND PROVISION OF COPIES OF JUDGMENTS TO THE COURT AND SKELETON ARGUMENTS
This amendment enforces the importance of complying with the practice direction in relation to skeleton arguments and details the consequences that may follow in the event of non-compliance.
CPD XIII Listing Annex 3: CASES INVOLVING VERY LARGE FINES IN THE MAGISTRATES’ COURT
This minor amendment is included to remove the requirement for Presiding Judges to be notified when a case involving the imposition of a very large fine is listed in the magistrates’ court. The listing and deployment decisions are managed by the Office of the Chief Magistrate.