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Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2016

Section 80 – Duty of parties to communicate

199.Section 80 amends the 1995 Act to impose a duty on the prosecution and the defence, in cases indicted to the sheriff court, to communicate and to prepare a written record of their state of preparation.

200.Subsection (2) amends section 71 of the 1995 Act by inserting a new subsection (1ZA) which requires the court to have regard to the written record when ascertaining the parties’ state of preparation at the first diet.

201.Subsection (3) inserts a new section 71C into the 1995 Act. Subsection (2) of this new section requires the prosecutor and the accused’s legal representative (as defined in subsections (8) and (9)) to communicate and jointly prepare a written record of the state of preparation of their respective cases. The requirement arises where the accused is indicted to the sheriff court and is represented by a solicitor (new section 71C(1)).

202.Subsection (3) of the new section 71C provides that the period within which the communication must take place, and within which the written record of the state of preparation must be prepared is the period beginning with the service of the indictment and ending 14 days later.

203.Subsection (4) of the new section 71C provides for the form, content, and arrangements for lodging of the written record, to be prescribed under an Act of Adjournal. Subsection (5) provides that the record must include a statement of how the communication required by this new section took place. Subsection (5) gives examples of the means by which the communication may take place, but the examples are not exhaustive of the means that might be employed.

204.Section 80(4) of the Act amends section 75 of the 1995 Act to include a reference to the period mentioned in section 71C. This ensures that, where the 14 day period referred to in section 71C(3) ends on a weekend or on a court holiday, it is extended to include the next day that is not a Saturday, Sunday or court holiday.

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