Criminal justice

Criminal plea in absence of sufficient prosecution case information

Concerns were raised by criminal defence practitioners following the publication in December 2009 of Essential Case Management: Applying the Procedure Rules by the then Senior Presiding Judge (SPJ) for England and Wales, Sir Brian Leveson.

It was republished in October 2019 (PDF) by Lady Justice Macur as SPJ.

The document stresses the requirement in the Criminal Procedure Rules for the defendant's plea to be taken at the first hearing in the magistrates' courts, in all but exceptional cases.

The court may therefore require your client to enter a plea where relevant and important information about the prosecution case has not yet been made available.

This practice note provides information on advising a client on plea in the absence of full information about the prosecution case.

This practice note is the Law Society's view of good practice in this area, and is not legal advice. For more information see the legal status.