Related Sector: Investigations


The code of practice issued under the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996 (the CPIA Code) was revised with effect on 19 March 2015.


Who does it affect?

This change in disclosure processes affects all investigators who have a duty to conduct investigations with a view to establishing whether a person should be charged with an offence, or whether a person charged with an offence is guilty of it. This includes prosecution by way of summons or postal requisition.


What are the main changes you need to know?

The main revision is a streamlined procedure in summary cases that are expected to end in a guilty plea, so that a schedule of unused material need not be served in such cases.

The previous version of the code was published in 2005. In May 2014 the Magistrates’ Court Disclosure Review recommended a streamlined procedure.

•    If the accused is charged with a summary offence or an either-way offence that is likely to remain in the magistrates’ court, and it is considered that he is likely to plead guilty (e.g. because he has admitted the offence), a schedule or streamlined disclosure certificate is now not required. However, the Common Law duty to disclose material which may assist the defence at bail hearings or in the early preparation of their case remains (for further detail see paragraph 6.3 of the CPIA Code).

•    If the accused is charged with a summary offence or an either-way offence that is likely to remain in the magistrates’ court, and it is considered that he is likely to plead not guilty, a streamlined disclosure certificate must be completed (for further detail see paragraph 6.5 the CPIA Code).

•    In every case, irrespective of the anticipated plea, if there is material known to the disclosure officer that might assist the defence with the early preparation of their case or at a bail hearing (for example, a key prosecution witness has relevant previous convictions or a witness has withdrawn his or her statement), the material must be disclosed to the prosecutor (for further detail see paragraph 6.6 the CPIA Code).

The policy to complete full schedules and reports, in part to assist the prosecutor assess the material in the case, might continue. However, this streamlined procedure, applied in accordance with the revised CPIA Code, could help save time and money for investigations. The revised code can be found at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/criminal-procedure-and-investigations-act-code-of-practice


Where can you learn more?


If you would like to undertake training in Disclosure which incorporates these changes, Bond Solon is running the next  Case File Preparation and Disclosure Public Training Course in London on 16 and 17 June 2015.

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