Message to Presiding Judges, Resident Judges, Crown Court Judges, Heads of Crime and members of the Criminal Bar and their clerks

CriminalCrown CourtLord Justice EdisSenior Presiding JudgeNews

Skip to related content

Dear all,

Please see attached a letter regarding the initiative to list, before the end of July 2024 where possible, cases involving allegations of rape that are more than two years old as of 31 December 2023. This letter has been agreed by the Senior Presiding Judge, Chair of the Bar, the Criminal Bar Association and the Circuit Leaders. This project also has the support of HMCTS.

In order for this initiative to succeed, it requires the good working relationships between the Bar and Bench over Crown Court listing. There is, in general, a shortage of counsel generally and for RASSO (Rape and Serious Sexual Offences) cases in particular. RASSO cases should in future be fixtures and effective on first listing. This requires counsel’s availability to be taken into account when dates are fixed. If this means a longer time between PTPH (Plea and Trial Preparation Hearing) and trial, but a greater certainty that the first trial date will be effective, that is a good policy.

The Senior Presiding Judge has asked Presiding Judges to lead discussions with Heads of Crime, Circuit Leaders and Bar Clerks, where necessary, to ensure good working relationships. Resident Judges will of course make listing decisions at their own courts but Presiders can help where issues arise.