Section 20: Proof of uncontroversial matters
134.This section modifies the existing provisions which set down the procedure for dealing with evidence which is not thought to be in contention. This provision is designed to, as far as possible, bring the summary provisions in this regard into line with the equivalent provisions applicable to solemn cases. The relevant solemn provisions were introduced as part of the Criminal Procedure (Amendment) (Scotland) Act 2004.
135.Subsection (1) inserts a new subsection (5) into section 257 of the 1995 Act which provides that the parties to a case in summary proceedings are to seek to ensure that any steps which can be taken to (i) identify evidence capable of agreement and (ii) seek agreement of that evidence with the other party are taken before any intermediate diet which is to be held in the case. This provision is designed, so far as possible, to bring the summary provisions into line with the equivalent provisions applicable to solemn cases.
136.Subsection (2) amends section 258 of the 1995 Act to provide that the relevant diet by which a notice of uncontroversial evidence must be served on the parties to the proceedings is to be the intermediate diet where one has been fixed. Where one has not been fixed the trial diet becomes the relevant diet.
137.The changes to sections 258(2) and 258(2A) and insertion of section 258(2ZA) mean that any notice of uncontroversial evidence must be served on parties to the proceedings not less than 7 days prior to the intermediate diet. Any subsequent objection to that notice must be served by the conclusion of the day on which that intermediate diet was held. Where an intermediate diet has not been set down the notice of uncontroversial evidence must be intimated within 14 days of a trial diet.
138.The reference to ‘solemn proceedings’ in subsection (4A) is repealed, thus all cases will be covered by the procedure in that subsection. This means that where a notice of uncontroversial evidence has been challenged, the court has the power to direct that that challenge is to be disregarded. The effect would be to allow the notice to be admitted as evidence notwithstanding the challenge.
139.Time limits are fixed in that subsection for an application to a court to have a challenge disregarded.