Law Reform, LCCSA News

Launch of National Pre-Sentence Report before Plea Protocol – Commencement Date TBC

PUBLISHED October 5, 2020

Dear Members,
We share with you from HMCTS the National Pre-Sentence Report before Plea Protocol PSR Before Plea Protocol (Clean Signed)_, Form PSR Before Plea Request Form Final_to be used in due course and Process Map Pre-Sentence Report Before Plea Process Map.
The Protocol has not yet been launched in London but we are expecting an imminent commencement date. We will notify members as soon as the date has been confirmed.
Launch of National Pre-Sentence Report Before Plea Protocol - on a date to be notified locally
• Legal Advisers/ Court Associates to read the protocol.
• Court Administration to be aware of the PSR Before Plea emails which the court will receive and necessary actions.
• Operations Managers to arrange dissemination of the protocol to local defence firms, clearly indicating commencement will be on a date to be notified.
The protocol
The National Pre-Sentence Report Before Plea Protocol will apply to all magistrates' courts in England and Wales, commencing on a date to be decided regionally by each Head of Legal Operations. The protocol has been agreed by HMCTS, NPS, CPS and the Law Society and approved by the Senior Presiding Judge of England and Wales.
NPS will decide whether to produce the report before the hearing, following a request from a defence legal representative, where a defendant indicates they intend to plead guilty on the full prosecution version to one or more offences. NPS will then notify the court and parties of the decision by email. Court staff will take these actions
• If "PSR Before Plea Refused", or "PSR Before Plea Refused - incomplete" or "PSR Before Plea Granted" - Court admin to add email to Court Store as usual.
• If "PSR Before Plea - Refused - insufficient time" (with request that Legal Adviser amends the hearing date) - Court Admin to add to Court Store and send request to change hearing date (marked as urgent ) to legal adviser duty box for consideration.
Where NPS produce a report they will upload it to Court Store for the hearing.
At the hearing, the court receives the defendant's plea in the usual manner. Where the defendant pleads guilty, the court proceeds towards sentence and decides whether to access then consider the pre-sentence report.
You will be notified locally when the protocol will commence in your area.
Exception Reporting
Where NPS produce and upload a report to Court Store and the court decides to sentence without considering the report, the legal adviser/court associate needs to provide an exception report to NPS and the cluster Business SLM. Contact details will be provided before commencement.
The protocol is also being disseminated to NPS and CPS staff, defence representatives, magistrates and district judges for information.
Legal Operations page
A new PSR Before Plea page is being set up on the Legal Operations page with all the relevant documents and protocol detail. It will be ready before commencement.
David Barnes
Legal Support Manager | Legal Operations Team
Operations Directorate | HMCTS | | 102 Petty France | London | SW1H 9AJ