Criminal courts: New rules for live links and disclosure
By Bianca Castro >>
(12 February 2024)
ew changes to the Criminal Procedure Rules announced today include the ability to substitute a valid court decision for one which a court had no power to make following High Court and Court of Appeal decisions.
The announcement sees amendments to the Criminal Procedure Rules covering a range of areas including correcting court records, disclosure, and live links.
The changes made by the new rules will come into force on 1 April.
Rule amendments to live links include clarifying that the applicant for a live link, when the person will be attending from abroad, must show that they have obtained, or will obtain, any permission needed from the authorities for the country from which the live link will be used.
Amendments to deal with the powers to correct inaccurate court records and, if necessary, substitute a valid decision for one which a court, as it later appears, had no power to make, are as a result of ‘several decisions of the High Court and the Court of Appeal, most recently in the judgment of the Court of Appeal in R v Butt, R v Jenkins’.
The Criminal Procedure Rules Committee said: ‘It emerged that no present procedure rule applies to the exercise of the power to correct a court record which court staff, or a party to the decision, or the court itself, or another court, can see may be wrong.
‘The Rule Committee agreed to make rules to govern that procedure.’
Rules covering prosecutions disclosure and the statutory obligations on the defence have also been revised and clarified. The Rule Committee agreed to refer explicitly to the prosecutions’ practice of sharing its approach to disclosure and the reasons for that approach.
References to time limits in Part 33 of the CPR will now see days replaced with references to business days, and reference to independent domestic violence advisors and independent sexual violence advisors will be referred to explicitly when referring to the courts power to allow someone to keep a witness company.
(Courtesy: The Law Society Gazette)