CPS/Defence Engagement Pilot – Magistrates' Court cases – w/c 2 November 2020

PUBLISHED October 29, 2020

Dear Members,
Re: Weekly CPS Surgeries for Defence Engagement – Magistrates’ Court cases (4 week Pilot initially)
You will all be aware of the historical communication difficulties between the Defence and the CPS, both before and since the Covid-19 pandemic.
Perhaps a positive consequence of the pandemic has been the remote coming together of the various parts of the Criminal Justice System working collaboratively to keep the wheels of justice churning through unprecedented times.
We have been regularly meeting with CPS management to see if communications can be improved with a view to reducing the number of ineffective trials. Many trials crack on the day once there is meaningful communication between the parties and it is hoped that these discussions can take place much earlier moving forwards, akin to the old Case Management Hearings.
To this end, a pilot has been set up for 4 weeks in the first instance starting week commencing 2nd November 2020 which will enable you to book a remote video slot with the CPS to discuss cases pre-first appearance and those with upcoming trial dates in the Magistrates’ Court.
Full details of the Pilot and how to book slots can be found here: Defence Engagement pilot week commencing 2 November 2020
The pilot will initially be for cases listed at Bexley, Bromley and Highbury Magistrates’ Courts.
The first Surgery Session will be on Thursday 5th November 2020 between 3pm and 6pm, and every Thursday thereafter for 4 weeks. If the pilot is successful, this could be a long term initiative so please do make every effort to use it if you have cases upcoming in these Courts. Video appointment slots will need to be booked in advance of the Thursday Surgeries and CPS staff with decision making authority will be in attendance so that for example, potential acceptable basis of pleas and the like can be discussed.
Do give us your feedback from this pilot, both positive and negative, by email to
Kerry Hudson