News story

Revised guidance to the legal profession on disclosure

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Guidance for the legal profession on how material must be shared before and during trials.

The Attorney General, Dominic Grieve QC MP and the Lord Chief Justice for England and Wales the Lord Thomas today (3 December) published a revised judicial protocol and revised guidance on the disclosure of unused material in criminal cases. They have been prepared following the recommendations of Lord Justice Gross in his September 2011 ‘Review of Disclosure in Criminal Proceedings’ and take account of Lord Justice Gross and Lord Justice Treacy’s ‘Further review of disclosure in criminal proceedings: sanctions for disclosure failure’, published in November 2012.

Introducing the guidance, they wrote:

Proper disclosure of unused material, made through a rigorous and carefully considered application of the law, remains a crucial part of a fair trial, and essential to avoiding miscarriages of justice. These new documents are intended to clarify the procedures to be followed and to encourage the active participation of all parties.

There are important roles for the prosecution, the defence and the court in ensuring that disclosure is conducted properly, including on the part of the investigating, case progression and disclosure officers, as well as the lawyers and advocates. Lord Justice Gross particularly recommended that the guidance on disclosure of unused material in criminal cases should be consolidated and abbreviated. Given all of those involved in this process have separate constitutional roles, the judiciary and the Attorney General have worked together to produce complementary guidance that is shorter than the previous iterations, but remains comprehensive. The 2 documents are similarly structured for ease of reference and should be read together.

[Attorney General’s guidance on disclosure 2013 [Judicial protocol on the disclosure of unused material in criminal cases