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Coronavirus Act 2020 - Live Link Matrix

|Legal Guidance

Following the passing of the Coronavirus Act 2020, the ability to conduct hearings by live-link (both audio and video) has been expanded.  Legal Guidance has been drafted to assist with understanding of where it is now possible to conduct a hearing using live-link.  This table is a quick reference for the most common types of hearing encountered.

The Act amends existing legislation so as to enable the use of technology either in video/audio-enabled hearings in which one or more participants appear before the court using a live video or audio link, or by a wholly video/audio hearing where there is no physical courtroom and all participants take part in the hearing using telephone or video conferencing facilities.

A ‘live audio link’ means a telephone or other arrangement where the person taking part can hear all other persons taking part. A ‘live video link’ means television link or other arrangement where the person taking part can see and hear all the persons taking part.

It is of course still open for hearings to be conducted solely in-person or a combination of in person and either video or audio link (but not a mixture of both video and audio link in the same hearing) although as at the date of this document this is unlikely.

The CA is to last for 2 years from the date of enactment. This may be modified by regulations. It may be shortened or may be extended by six months

Prosecutors should note in particular that hearings where;

  • bail is contested;
  • a guilty plea is likely to be entered;
  • sentencing is being dealt with

it is not possible to conduct a hearing by audio-link. These hearings must be conducted by all participants by video-link or in person.  This also applies to enforcement hearings where the court is considering imprisonment or detention.

 

 

WHOLLY BY

AUDIO-LINK

 

WHOLLY BY

VIDEO-LINK

 

HEARING ABLE TO BE CONDUCTED BY AUDIO-LINK/VIDEO-LINK BUT AT LEAST ONE PARTICIPANT MUST BE PRESENT IN COURT ROOM

 

PROCEEDINGS RELATING TO TRIALS

 

 

 

Summary Trial

 

✓ (written procedure notice must be served on the defendant and parties agree)

 

Preliminary hearings or hearings incidental to an appeal to the Crown Court (conviction or sentence)

✓ A defendant cannot take part via an audio link for the purpose of giving evidence. Any other person cannot give evidence by audio link unless there are no suitable arrangements to do so by video link and the parties agree.

 

Appeal to the Crown Court - sentence

 

 

Appeal to the Crown Court - conviction

 

✓ (only where the summary trial was conducted wholly by video-link and parties agree)

 

Any Crown Court Trial

 

 

✓ (jurors are excluded from any live-link)

Preliminary hearings or hearings incidental to an appeal to the Court of Appeal (conviction or sentence)

 

 

Appeal to the Court of Appeal - sentence

 

 

Appeal to the Court of Appeal - conviction

 

 

Preliminary hearings or hearings incidental to an application to the Court of Appeal for the re-trial of a serious offence

 

 

Application to the Court of Appeal for the re-trial of a serious offence

 

 

Applications to extend the custody time limit

✓(cannot be used if there is a dispute as to bail or the court is minded to refuse or revoke bail – must be video)

 

 

 

 

 

MENTAL HEALTH

 

 

 

Hearings relating to Part 3 of the Mental Health Act 1983 (i.e. remands to hospital, hospital orders etc.)

 

 

Proceedings under section 4A or 5 of the Criminal Procedure (Insanity) Act 1964 (unfit to plead; insanity)

 

 

Proceedings under section 11 of the Powers of the Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000; or section 81(1)(g) of the Senior Courts Act  1981; or section 16 of the CJA, in respect of a person who  has  been  remanded  by  a  magistrates’ court on adjourning a case (remand for medical examination following finding that accused did an act or omission).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SENTENCE

 

 

 

Correction of sentences in the magistrates’ and Crown Court (‘the slip rule’ – s142 Magistrates’ Court Act 1980 and s155 Power of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000)

 

 

Hearing to pass sentence where sentence not dealt with on the day of guilty plea or conviction after trial, including committals for sentence

 

 

 

 

 

 

BAIL/REMAND

 

 

 

Contested bail applications (including first and any subsequent bail hearing)

 ✓ (only where defendant has waived their right to attend)

 

 

Hearing to vary or revoke bail conditions

✓ (if uncontested)

✓ (if contested)

 

Appearing on a warrant

 

(there may be a contested bail hearing or plea to be taken)

 

Uncontested bail hearings (including first and any subsequent bail hearing)

 

 

Judge in Chambers bail applications

 

 

 

 

 

 

PRELIMINARY HEARINGS

 

 

 

First appearance in the magistrates’ court (including where plea to be taken and/or bail is contested)

 

 

Pre-Trial Preparation Hearing for plea to be taken (where not taken at first appearance)

 

✓The hearing where the accused is expected to plead guilty, the accused cannot take part via audio link. Any other person may not take part unless the person’s participation is for the giving of evidence; that there are no suitable arrangements for a video link and the parties agree

 

Pre-Trial Preparation Hearing

 

 

Case management hearing, including applications to vary directions and hearings for non-compliance (magistrates’ and Crown Court)

(NB: for applications to extend CTLs see above)

 

Preliminary Hearings in murder cases

 

 

Applications to adjourn hearings other than trials (for trials see above)

 

 

 

 

 

PROCEEDS OF CRIME

 

 

 

Applications for restraint

Only applications that are:

  • post-charge and pre-trial (preliminary hearings)

✓ 

Only applications that are:

  • post-charge and pre-trial (preliminary hearings);

OR

  • post-trial (sentencing hearings)

 

Proceedings related to confiscation hearings

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXTRADITION

 

 

 

Extradition hearings under Part 1 and Part 2 of the Extradition Act 2003

 

 

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