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Initial Details of the Prosecution Case (Advance Information)

updated 10/1/19|Legal Guidance

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IDPC - overview

This guidance provides an overview of the prosecution's duty to provide initial details of the prosecution case (IDPC)

IDPC enable the defendant and the court to take an informed view on plea, venue for trial, case management and sentencing at the first hearing (CPD3A.4).

The requirement to provide IDPC applies to all cases, whether they are to be subsequently tried in the magistrates' courts or the Crown Court (CrimPR8.2 and CPD3A.4).

Contents of IDPC custody cases

CrimPR 8.3(a) provides that where, immediately before the first hearing in the magistrates' court, the defendant was in police custody for the offence charged, the IDPC must include:

  • A summary of the circumstances of the offence; and
  • The defendants criminal record (if any)

In custody cases, there is no requirement for statements or CCTV to be served but prosecutors will need to ensure that any information they wish to put before the court is made available to the defendant before the hearing (CrimPR 8.4).

Prosecutors must also consider the disclosure of information that may assist the defence in making bail applications. Examples include: previous convictions of key victims or witnesses and witness statements which will clearly assist the Defence and are important enough to disclose in advance of the first hearing (R v DPP, ex p. Lee [1999] 2 Cr. App. R.304. See Chapter 2 of the Disclosure Manual.

Contents of IDPC other cases

CrimPR8.3(b) provides that in cases where CrimPR 8.3(a) does not apply, the IDPC must include:

  • A summary of the circumstances of the offence;
  • Any account given by the defendant in interview, whether contained in that summary or another document,
  • Any written witness statement or exhibit that the prosecutor then has available and considers material to plea, or to the allocation of the case for trial, or to sentence;
  • The defendant's criminal record (if any); and
  • Any available statement of the effect of the offence on a complainant, a complainant's family or others.

The Criminal Practice Direction 3A.12 expands the list of material which is expected to be served for cases where the defendant has been released on bail after being charged and where the prosecutor does not anticipate a guilty plea at the first hearing.

CPD 3A.12 states that in such cases (regardless of whether they are to be heard in the magistrates' court or the Crown Court), unless there is good reason not to do so, the prosecution should make available the following material in advance of the first hearing in the magistrates' court:

  • Statements and exhibits that the prosecution has identified as being of importance for the purpose of plea or initial case management, including any relevant CCTV that would be relied upon at trial and any Streamlined Forensic Report;
  • An indication of any medical or other expert evidence that the prosecution is likely to adduce in relation to a victim or the defendant;
  • Any information as to special measures, bad character or hearsay, where applicable.

CPD3A.14 states that nothing in 3A.12 precludes the court from taking a plea pursuant to CrimPR 3.9(2)(b) at the first hearing and for the court to case manage as far as practicable under Crim PR 3. Neither the Criminal Procedure Rules nor the Criminal Practice Direction requires the service of all statements.

Previous case law that arose under the historic CrimPR 10 or the Advance Information Rules is arguably no longer relevant, given the current Rules and the current Practice Direction.

Contents of IDPC sensitive information

All documents that may form part of the IDPC must be checked before service, to ensure they do not contain any material that should not be disclosed.

Particular care is needed with material in digital format to ensure that that irrelevant or unnecessary information is not served. A single DVD containing (for example) telephone billing information, cell site analysis or CCTV material may contain a very large amount of material, ranging from the irrelevant to the highly sensitive.

If the prosecutor considers that providing a particular statement would lead to witness intimidation or some other interference with the course of justice, the prosecutor should provide a suitably prepared summary instead and rely on the good reason provision in CPD 3A.12. However, it is important to emphasise that the circumstances in which this will apply are rare, given the high threshold.

Failure to provide IDPC

CrimPR Rule 8.4 provides that the court must not allow a prosecutor to introduce information that has not been provided in advance, unless the court first allows the defendant sufficient time to consider it.

Further guidance on case management and adjournment requests is available elsewhere within the CPS Legal Guidance and on the Prosecution College (see, in particular, the NGAP toolkit on the Prosecution College).

Timing of service of IDPC

CrimPR 8.2 provides that the prosecutor must serve IDPC:

  • On the court as soon as practicable and in any event no later than the beginning of the day of the first hearing;
  • Where a defendant requests IDPC, the prosecutor must serve as soon as practicable and in any event no later than the beginning of the day of the first hearing;
  • Where a defendant does not request IDPC, the prosecutor must make the IDPC available to the defendant at or before the beginning of the day of the first hearing.

Recording

The service of (or a refusal to serve) any document as part of the IDPC must be recorded on the case or hearing record.

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