Senior Presiding Judge Lord Justice Gross spoke at a Better Case Management Roadshow in London on 14 July 2015. Grace Ononiwu, Chief Crown Prosecutor for the West Midlands, and Deputy Assistant Commissioner Mark Simmons also spoke at the event. For the full video (40 minutes) see the link at the bottom of this page.
Senior Presiding Judge Lord Justice Gross on Better Case Management
Video length (2:56)
BCM is not revolutionary – it is commonsense good practice, which when implemented will improve the way cases are processed through the system to the benefit of all concerned within the CJS.
The overarching aims are: robust case management, reduced number of hearings, maximum participation and engagement from every participation within the system, efficient compliance with the Criminal Procedure Rule; Practice and Court Directions.
One of the main ways to achieve BCMs overarching aims is the implementation of a national EGP scheme. We are all too aware that the vast majority of cases within the CJS do not go to trial but result in guilty pleas. This uniform national scheme will form part of the Criminal Procedure Rules 2015 and the Case Management Practice Direction 2015. These will come into force on 5 October this year.
This uniform national scheme will form part of the Criminal Procedure Rules 2015 and the Case Management Practice Direction 2015. These will come into force on 5 October this year.
The success of this national EGP scheme depends on the service of sufficient information, direct engagement between the CPS and the defence, and active case management by the magistrates it is expected that guilty plea cases will be identified and the nature of the issues established in contested matters at the NGAP hearing. Every case will then be sent to a mandatory first hearing in the Crown Court within 28 days. This mandatory Plea and Trial Preparation Hearing (abbreviated to PTPH) should do exactly as it name suggests. EITHER there should be a guilty plea and sentence. Using the PSR ordered at the magistrates court when sending the case or a “stand down” report. OR a not guilty plea and then a carefully considered trial preparation hearing using a new PTPH Form which both sides will have been expected to complete and file before the hearing. I expect Judges to use this form to actively and robustly case manage – rooting out any further guilty pleas or establishing the trial issues to ensure as much evidence can be agreed as possible – thereby avoiding the unnecessary attendance of witnesses and reducing the likely length of the trial.
In specifically prescribed complex cases or where a judge decides that it is in the interests of justice the Rules do provide for a Further Case Management Hearing.
Grace Ononiwu, Chief Crown Prosecutor for the West Midlands
Video length (0:44)
The Better Case Management initiative which follows on and adopts the principles of the TSJ, Transforming Summary Justice is supported by the CPS and we recognise that we have a very important part to play in ensuring its success. We know that it will involve a significant change to our current way of working in the Crown Court and these changes will be both cultural and procedural.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Mark Simmons
Video length (1:06)
We absolutely support the move that is described here. As we have the Transforming Summary Justice initiative and of course it’s really important to see this as built from the Police point of view, building on what we are still currently learning from the implementation of Transforming Summary Justice. I can’t pretend that for the net of my force has not presented some real challenges for us. Some aspects of TSJ are going really well, the assessment plea for example has been far better than we anticipated. There are still areas that we are working in terms of the quality of the files and timings of the files although we are making significant progress and we are receiving the benefits from the programme.
Closing remarks by Lord Justice Gross
Video length (0:27)