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Foreword

Disclosure is one of the most important issues in the criminal justice system . the application of proper and fair disclosure is a vital component of a fair criminal justice system. The "golden rule" is that fairness requires full disclosure should be made of all material held by the prosecution that weakens its case or strengthens that of the defence.

Lord Goldsmith, HM Attorney General

[There is a] need for very great care in handling the whole process of disclosure.

Lord Bingham, R v H and C, 2004

He who knows only his side of the case knows little of that.

John Stuart Mill, 1859

 

By Keir Starmer QC, Director of Public Prosecutions (CPS) & Jim Barker-McCardle (ACPO) on behalf of the Prosecution Team.

The scheme set out in the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996 ('the CPIA 1996') as amended by the Criminal Justice Act 2003 and the revised Code of Practice issued under it (the Code of Practice) is designed to ensure that there is a fair system for the disclosure of unused material, which:

  • assists the defence in the timely preparation and presentation of its case,
  • does not overburden the parties, and
  • enables the court to focus on all the important issues in the trial.

This endeavour is supported by compliance with the requirements of the current version of the Consolidated Criminal Procedure Rules (available from the Ministry of Justice website: www.justice.gov.uk).

The operational instructions contained in this manual are designed to provide a practical guide to disclosure principles and procedures, building on the framework of the CPIA 1996, the Code of Practice and the Attorney General's Guidelines. When properly applied, they will assist investigators and prosecutors to perform their disclosure duties effectively, fairly and justly, which is vitally important to the integrity of the criminal justice system and the way in which it is perceived by the public we serve.

The instructions contained in Annex K to this manual (Guidance for Expert Witnesses, May 2010), are  also designed to provide a practical guide to preparing expert evidence and the disclosure obligations for expert witnesses instructed by the Prosecution Team. The considered application of this guidance and appropriate management of the materials within the investigation by experts will enhance their credibility and promote confidence in the role of the expert witness within the prosecution process.

This booklet (Annex K) reflects the commitment of the Prosecution Team to working alongside expert witnesses and other agencies to ensure that case management (via the Criminal Procedure Rules) and disclosure requirements (of the CPIA 1996) are complied with fairly and properly.

The Disclosure Manual reflects the Prosecution Team approach to our respective disclosure obligations and is to be regarded as the authoritative guidance on practice and procedure for all police investigators and CPS prosecutors.

The Disclosure Manual reflects the Prosecution Team approach to our respective disclosure obligations and is to be regarded as the authoritative guidance on practice and procedure for all police investigators and CPS prosecutors.


Keir Starmer QC
Director of Public Prosecutions

 

Chief Constable, Essex Police
On behalf of the Association of Chief Police Officers

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