Admissibility of hearsay in criminal proceedings—preserved common law exceptions
Admissibility of hearsay in criminal proceedings—preserved common law exceptions

The following Corporate Crime guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Admissibility of hearsay in criminal proceedings—preserved common law exceptions
  • Categories of admissibility
  • Public information
  • Reputation as to character
  • Reputation and family tradition
  • Res gestae
  • Confessions
  • Admissions made by agents
  • Common enterprise
  • Expert evidence

Categories of admissibility

The Criminal Justice Act 2003 (CJA 2003) radically reformed the common law rules relating to the admissibility of hearsay evidence.

The common law exceptions to the rule against hearsay, however, are expressly preserved by CJA 2003.

See Practice Note: Admissibility of hearsay evidence in criminal proceedings.

The common law exceptions are

  1. public information

  2. reputation as to character

  3. reputation or family tradition

  4. res gestae

  5. confessions

  6. admissions by agents

  7. common enterprise

  8. expert evidence

Notice to introduce hearsay evidence admissible as a common law exception is not required under Part 20 of the Criminal Procedure Rules 2015, SI 2015/1490 as amended (CrimPR).

Public information

Under CJA 2003 'public information' category is defined as:

  1. published works dealing with matters of a public nature, eg histories, scientific works, dictionaries and maps

  2. public documents, eg public registers

  3. records, eg records of certain courts, treaties, Crown grants, pardons and commissions

  4. evidence relating to a person's age or date or place of birth

Public documents

In Sturla v Freccia it was held that in order to fall within the public information exception, the document must:

  1. concern a public matter

  2. be made by a person under a duty to inquire into the matter and record the findings of that inquiry, and

  3. be retained so that the public might refer to it or inspect it

Examples of public documents