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Justice Act (Northern Ireland) 2015

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This is the original version (as it was originally enacted).

Avoiding delay in criminal proceedings

General duty to progress criminal proceedings

91.  In relation to criminal proceedings in the Crown Court or a magistrates’ court, it is the duty of the court, the prosecution and the defence to reach a just outcome as swiftly as possible.

Case management regulations

92.—(1) The Department may make regulations in relation to the management and conduct of criminal proceedings in the Crown Court or a magistrates’ court.

(2) The regulations may impose duties on—

(a)the court;

(b)the prosecution; and

(c)the defence.

(3) The regulations may confer functions on the court in relation to the active case management of criminal cases.

(4) Active case management includes in particular—

(a)the early identification of the real issues;

(b)the early identification of the needs of witnesses;

(c)achieving certainty as to what must be done, by whom, and when, in particular by the early setting of a timetable for the progress of the case;

(d)monitoring the progress of the case and compliance with directions;

(e)ensuring that evidence, whether disputed or not, is presented in the shortest and clearest way;

(f)discouraging delay, dealing with as many aspects of the case as possible on the same occasion, and avoiding unnecessary hearings;

(g)encouraging the participants to co-operate in the progression of the case;

(h)making use of technology; and

(i)giving any direction appropriate to the needs of that case as early as possible.

(5) The regulations must in particular take account of the need to identify and respect the needs of—

(a)victims,

(b)witnesses, particularly those to whom Article 4(2) of the Criminal Evidence (Northern Ireland) Order 1999 may apply; and

(c)persons under the age of 18.

(6) Before making any regulations under this section the Department must consult—

(a)the Lord Chief Justice;

(b)the Director of Public Prosecutions;

(c)the General Council of the Bar of Northern Ireland; and

(d)the Law Society of Northern Ireland.

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