Obtaining third-party disclosure in criminal proceedings
Produced in partnership with Hannah Thomas of 2 Hare Court
Obtaining third-party disclosure in criminal proceedings

The following Corporate Crime practice note produced in partnership with Hannah Thomas of 2 Hare Court provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Obtaining third-party disclosure in criminal proceedings
  • Defence methods of obtaining third party disclosure
  • Identifying and requesting disclosable material held by a third party
  • Obtaining disclosure from third party public bodies
  • Requests to third parties who are not public bodies
  • Initiating investigations by the prosecution of third party material
  • Initiating investigations by the prosecution of third party material
  • Using the defence case statement to initiate enquiries
  • Utilising the PTPH form to initiate enquiries
  • Prosecution duties and third party material
  • More...

Obtaining third-party disclosure in criminal proceedings

The prosecution’s duty of disclosure in criminal proceedings is governed by the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996 (CPIA 1996), which provides a duty of primary, secondary and ongoing disclosure in respect of material which might ‘reasonably be considered capable of undermining the case for the prosecution against the accused or of assisting the case for the accused’. There also exists a duty of disclosure under the common law. For more information, see Practice Note: Obtaining disclosure of unused evidence.

CPIA 1996 is silent as to disclosure obligations of third parties. The CPIA 1996 and the accompanying CPIA Code of Practice are not directed to creating duties for third parties to follow.

Pursuant to CPIA 1996, ss 3(2) and 7A(6), the prosecution is not obliged to disclose material it does not have in its possession in connection with the case against the defendant, nor material not inspected in connection with the case. This material therefore falls outside the scope of the CPIA 1996.

The prosecution do, however, have an obligation to pursue all reasonable lines of inquiry in relation to material held by third parties within the UK. This is so regardless of whether the material may support the prosecution case or the defence case. The approach to be taken to such material is set out in the Attorney General’s

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