Monday, September 12, 2005

Bizarre Pre-trial Review

I received a letter on Friday from one of my local Magistrates Courts. The letter told me that an informal pre-trial review hearing was going to take place in relation to one of the Magistrates Courts trials that I was going to be the trial advocate for. This informal pre-trial review was to take place today.

I went off to Court today slightly unsure what an informal pre-trial review might involve. When I arrived at Court I was directed inside the building towards the Court's library. I have very rarely been inside of this particular Magistrates Court so it was a bit of a surprise to have a pre-trial review outside of a court room. I was ushered by the Court's security staff to a waiting area within the Court and sat waiting in a plush chair which was far nicer than the furniture that I usually sit on waiting.

When my name was called out I was escorted in to the Court library and sat down on one side of a conference table. At the head of the table was one of the Court Clerks. On the other side of the table was one CPS lawyer and then six females who I had not seen before. It was explained to me by the Clerk that the Court was running a trial readiness pilot and that in addition to the Crown Prosecution Service and myself being present there were also representatives from the six criminal justice areas served by the Court. Good idea I thought. We went through the pre-trial review without any major hitches. The Clerk did state that the hearing was to be considered a hearing, that he would use his delegated powers to make directions if necessary, and that the hearing was taking place under the Courts Crest.

Now I know what an informal pre-trial review is. Apparently there are going to be more and more of these hearings - what joy!


Anonymous said...

Yeah, but was it any use?

Gavin said...

The hearing was not any use for the particular case I went to Court for, but as representatives from the CJS areas covering the Court's work were there it could be very useful in the future for other cases where there are issues of non-disclosure etc., etc.

Anonymous said...

Gavin, whats your take on the headline in todays "The Times"? "Europe wins the power to jail citizens" . In short Brussels has been given powers to fine or imprison British people for breaking certain EU laws even if the government or parliament are opposed. i.e. harmonised criminal law across Europe..

Gavin said...

I am just looking in to this... it looks rather scary.

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