In the Media

New rules may lead to early guilty pleas

PUBLISHED April 22, 2005

New legal guidelines which could result in an increased number of early guilty pleas from defendants and a reduction in the number of trials were announced by the court of appeal yesterday.

Five judges, presided over by the lord chief justice, Lord Woolf, announced important changes to a rule of practice which had effectively prohibited crown court judges from giving any indication of sentence in advance of a guilty plea except in exceptional circumstances.