PROTOCOL ON CRIMINAL CASE MANAGEMENT IN THE MAGISTRATES’ COURT

1. THE OVERRIDING OBJECTIVE

1.1 The overriding objective of this protocol is that criminal cases be dealt with justly.

1.2 Dealing with a criminal case justly includes:-

2. THE DUTY OF PARTICIPANTS IN A CRIMINAL CASE

2.1 Each participant, in the conduct of each case, must:-

2.2 In addition, in a Youth Court each participant must seek to comply with the Youth Court guidelines.

3. GUILTY PLEAS CASES
PROSECUTION

2.1 The prosecution in presenting a case, in which a plea of “guilty” is entered, must:-

4. GUILTY PLEA CASES
DEFENCE

4.1 The defence solicitor/counsel shall:-

4.2 Immediately upon receipt of instructions the solicitor/counsel shall:-

5. NOT GUILTY PLEA CASES
PROSECUTION

5.1 Upon a plea of not guilty being entered, the prosecution must ensure that, within such time as is allowed by the court:-

5.2 Prior to a case being fixed for hearing, the prosecutor must be able to advise the court if any application for bad character, hearsay, special measures, expert evidence or other matters is to be made, whether an interpreter will be required, and the likely duration of the trial.

5.3 Prior to a hearing, the prosecutor must check whether the witnesses have confirmed that they will be in attendance, and, if not, or where otherwise appropriate, apply for a witness summons to be issued to ensure the attendance of a witness at court. The PPS letter inviting witnesses to attend should have a reply date and if this is missed other steps should be taken to ensure attendance, including, ultimately, a witness summons.

5.4 The prosecutor should promptly inform the court and the other parties promptly of anything that may:-

5.5 In advance of the day of hearing, the prosecutor must ensure, in co-operation with court staff, that, where necessary, facilities for live television links or to play video and/or audio recordings are available.

5.6 In addition, the prosecutor must have sufficient copies of documents eg maps or photographs for the defence, witnesses and the court. In particular, in a Youth Court, sufficient copies of any documentation must be available for each member of the panel.

5.7 In advance of the day of hearing the prosecutor must advise the court of any requirements (in relation to access or other arrangements) of any prosecution witnesses.

5.8 In advance of the day of hearing the prosecutor, if he/she becomes aware of any particular requirement as to the Form of Oath required by any prosecution witness should inform the court accordingly.

5.9 On a finding of guilty or a change of plea to guilty the points in paragraphs 3 and 4 apply.

6. NOT GUILTY PLEA CASES
DEFENCE

6.1 Upon a plea of not guilty being entered, within such time as is allowed by the court, the defence solicitor/counsel must be in a position to advise the court:-

6.2 Following primary disclosure, where a defence statement is to be served, the defence solicitor must ensure that it is served within the time limits set out in The Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act (Defence Disclosure Time Limits) Regulations 1997.

6.3 The defence solicitor/counsel must also:-

7. FIRST REMANDS

7.1 At a first remand, the prosecutor should:-

7.2 A case should not be called by any party unless satisfied the papers have been lodged in court, are with the court clerk and that any necessary witness is present in court.

7.3 The defence should consider in advance the availability of sureties and an appropriate address for the defendant.

8. THE COURT

8.1 The court will seek to ensure that cases are dealt with justly and efficiently and will see

8.2 In order to manage the trial the court may require a party to identify:-