Q&As

My client is in custody pending trial. On what basis can the custody time limits (CTLs) be varied in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis and how will an application be made? What representations can the defence make to resist the extension of the CTL?

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Produced in partnership with Philip Rule
Published on LexisPSL on 07/04/2020

The following Corporate Crime Q&A produced in partnership with Philip Rule provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • My client is in custody pending trial. On what basis can the custody time limits (CTLs) be varied in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis and how will an application be made? What representations can the defence make to resist the extension of the CTL?
  • New custody time limit (CTL) ‘Protocol’ and section 22(3)
  • Procedure
  • Resisting CTL extension

The Prosecution of Offences (Custody Time Limits) Regulations 1987, SI 1987/299, made pursuant to section 22 of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 (POA 1985), set custody time limits (CTLs) which restrict the length of pre-trial detention before a trial begins. The regulations allow for an application to be made to extend the CTLs, giving written notice (pursuant to the Prosecution of Offences (Custody Time Limits) Regulations 1987, SI 1987/299, reg 7 and subject to a judicial discretion to dispense with the written document in the Prosecution of Offences (Custody Time Limits) Regulations 1987, SI 1987/299, reg 7(4)). POA 1985, s 22(3) stipulates that the court may only extend the CTL—if an application has been made to it before the expiry of the person’s CTL—if it is satisfied that the need for the extension is due to:

  1. ‘…(a) the illness or absence of the accused, a necessary witness, a judge or a magistrate;

  2. (b) a postponement which is occasioned by the ordering by the court of separate trials in the case of two or more accused or two or more offences; or

  3. (c) some other good and sufficient cause,

and, in respect of any of the foregoing the prosecution has acted with all due diligence and expedition.’

New custody time limit (CTL) ‘Protocol’ and section 22(3)

On 29 March 2020 a temporary coronavirus crisis protocol has been

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