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The Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996 makes provision for this Code of Practice and the current version was published in 2005.
Earlier this year the Magistrates’ Court Disclosure Review (by the Chief Magistrate and His Honour Judge Kinch QC) identified a need for minor amendments to the code.
The aim of these changes is to enable police disclosure officers to adopt a streamlined procedure in magistrates’ court cases that are expected to end in a guilty plea. This simplified process will mean that (for example) a schedule of unused material need not be served in such cases, so guilty pleas can be dealt with in one hearing.
The review team undertook extensive consultation with interested parties. The code amendments have been drafted by the Crown Prosecution Service in consultation with representatives of the police, the Law Society, Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service and the office of the Senior Presiding Judge.
The sections of the code that include paragraphs that have been amended are those headed:
- preparation of material for prosecutor
- revelation of material to prosecutor
- subsequent action by disclosure officer
- disclosure of material to accused
We would welcome your comments on the revised code which is being published in draft for consultation before it is laid in Parliament.