Prisons and Courts Bill (HC Bill 170)

Prisons and Courts BillPage 20

(3) The written information procedure—

(a) may (in particular) allow a person charged with an offence to choose to
give an indication of whether he or she intends to plead guilty or not
guilty;

(b) 5may not allow a person charged with an offence to choose to give a plea
of guilty or not guilty.

(4) Criminal Procedure Rules may include provision for a person charged with an
offence, or a parent or guardian of that person, to be given—

(a) information about the written information procedure (which may
10include information about the availability of the procedure, how it
works, and the consequences if it is followed);

(b) other information (which may include information about the offence
and information about legal advice or legal representation).

(5) Those Rules may include provision authorising or requiring—

(a) 15information to be given in writing;

(b) information to be given by any of the following—

(i) the court;

(ii) a police officer or a member of the civilian staff of a police force
(where the person is charged under Part 4 of the Police and
20Criminal Evidence Act 1984);

(iii) a relevant prosecutor (where the person is charged under
section 29 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003).

(6) A reference in this section to a person charged with an offence is a reference
to—

(a) 25a person in respect of whom a summons or warrant has been issued
under section 1 of the Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980;

(b) a person who has been charged with an offence under Part 4 of the
Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984; or

(c) a person against whom a written charge has been issued under section
3029 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003.

(7) This section does not limit any other power to make Criminal Procedure Rules.

(8) A reference in this section to giving information includes a reference to making
admissions (other than admissions of guilt).

(9) In relation to a child or young person for whom a local authority have parental
35responsibility and who—

(a) is in their care; or

(b) is provided with accommodation by them in the exercise of any
functions (in particular those under the Children Act 1989) which are
social services functions within the meaning of the Local Authority
40Social Services Act 1970 or the Social Services and Well-being (Wales)
Act 2014,

the reference in subsection (4) to a person who is a parent or guardian of the
child or young person is to be construed as a reference to that authority or,
where the child or young person is allowed to live with such a person, as
45including such a reference.

(10) In this section—

  • “court” means—

    (a)

    a magistrates’ court,

    Prisons and Courts BillPage 21

    (b)

    the Crown Court, or

    (c)

    the criminal division of the Court of Appeal;

  • “local authority” has the same meaning as in the Children Act 1989;

  • “management of criminal proceedings” includes—

    (a)

    5determining which kinds of hearings or other proceedings are
    to be arranged;

    (b)

    scheduling hearings and other proceedings;

    (c)

    determining which kinds of reports and other documents are to
    be prepared in connection with the proceedings;

  • 10“parental responsibility” has the same meaning as in the Children Act
    1989;

  • “specified information” means information of a kind specified in Criminal
    Procedure Rules.

24 Charge by police or prosecutor: non-appearance in court after guilty plea

(1) 15Section 12 of the Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980 (non-appearance of accused:
plea of guilty) is amended in accordance with this section.

(2) For subsections (1) and (2) substitute—

(1A) This section applies to proceedings in a magistrates’ court (other than a
youth court) if conditions A and B are met.

(1B) 20This section applies to proceedings in a youth court if—

(a) conditions A and B are met, and

(b) the accused had attained the age of 16 at the relevant time.

(1C) Condition A is met if—

(a) a summons has been issued requiring a person to appear before
25the court to answer to an information for a summary offence,

(b) a person has been charged with a summary offence under Part
4 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, or

(c) a written charge has been issued against a person under section
29 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 in respect of a summary
30offence.

(1D) Condition B is met if the designated officer for the court is notified by
or on behalf of the prosecutor that the documents mentioned in
subsection (3) below have been served upon the accused—

(a) with the summons or the written charge and in accordance with
35rules of court (if subsection (1C)(a) or (c) applies), or

(b) in accordance with rules of court (if subsection (1C)(b)
applies).”

(3) In subsection (3), for “subsection (1)(b)” substitute “subsection (1D)”.

(4) In subsection (5)—

(a) 40in the words before paragraph (a), for “the information” substitute “the
person for the summary offence”;

(b) in paragraph (b), omit “with the summons”;

(c) in the words after paragraph (b), omit the words from “, subject” to
“below,”.

Prisons and Courts BillPage 22

(5) After subsection (5) insert—

(5A) Where subsection (5)(a) and (b) apply, the court also has power to
discharge the accused from any duty to surrender to the custody of the
court.

(5B) 5The court’s powers under subsection (5) are subject to subsections (5C)
to (8).

(5C) The court shall not in a person’s absence sentence the person to
imprisonment or detention in a young offender institution or make a
detention and training order or an order under paragraph 8(2)(a) or (b)
10of Schedule 12 to the Criminal Justice Act 2003 that a suspended
sentence passed on the person shall take effect.

(5D) The court shall not in a person’s absence impose any disqualification on
him, except on resumption of the hearing after an adjournment under
section 10(3) above; and where a trial is adjourned in pursuance of this
15subsection the notice required by section 10(2) above shall include
notice of the reason for the adjournment.”

(6) In subsection (6)(b), for “the information” substitute “the proceedings in
respect of the summary offence”.

(7) In subsection (7), in paragraphs (a) and (aa), for “with the summons” substitute
20“in the manner mentioned in subsection (1D)”.

(8) In subsection (9), for “the information” substitute “the proceedings in respect
of the summary offence”.

(9) Omit subsections (12) and (13).

(10) After subsection (13) insert—

(14) 25In this section “relevant time” means—

(a) where subsection (1C)(a) applies, the time when the summons
is issued;

(b) where subsection (1C)(b) applies, the time when the person is
charged;

(c) 30where subsection (1C)(c) applies, the time when the charge is
issued.”

25 Either way offence: choice of written procedure for plea before venue

(1) The Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980 is amended in accordance with this section.

(2) After section 17 insert—

17ZA 35Either way offence: choice of written procedure for plea before venue

(1) This section has effect where a person who has attained the age of 18
years is charged with an offence triable either way.

(2) But Criminal Procedure Rules may make provision about
circumstances in which this section does not have effect.

(3) 40A magistrates’ court must give the person one or more documents which—

(a) state the charge against the person;

Prisons and Courts BillPage 23

(b) explain that the person may choose to give a written indication of
whether (if the offence were to proceed to trial) he or she would plead
guilty or not guilty;

(c) explain the way in which, and the time period within which, the person
5would have to give a written indication of plea (if he or she chose to do
so);

(d) explain that, if the person chooses not to give a written
indication of plea, the court must proceed under section 17A;

(e) explain that, if the person chooses to give a written indication of
10a guilty plea—

(i) the proceedings will continue as mentioned in
subsection (4); and

(ii) the person may (unless section 17D(2) were to apply) be
committed for sentence to the Crown Court under
15section 3 or (if applicable) 3A of the Powers of Criminal
Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 if the court is of such
opinion as is mentioned in subsection (2) of the
applicable section;

(f) explain that, if the person chooses to give a written indication of
20a not guilty plea, the proceedings will continue as mentioned in
subsection (5);

(g) explain the effect of section 18A;

(h) ask the person—

(i) whether he or she chooses to give a written indication of
25plea, and

(ii) if he or she chooses to do so, whether (if the offence were
to proceed to trial) he or she would plead guilty or not
guilty;

(i) set out any other information required or authorised by
30Criminal Procedure Rules.

(4) If the person gives a written indication of a guilty plea, section 9 applies
as if the offence were a summary offence.

(5) If the person gives a written indication of a not guilty plea, section 17F
applies.

(6) 35If the person fails to give a written indication of plea—

(a) this section ceases to have effect, and

(b) section 17A has effect (see subsections (1) and (1A)).

(7) The following shall not for any purpose be taken to constitute the
taking of a plea—

(a) 40asking the person under this section whether (if the offence
were to proceed to trial) he or she would plead guilty or not
guilty;

(b) a written indication of plea under this section.

(8) The explanations required by subsection (3) must be given in ordinary
45language.

(9) If in respect of the offence the court receives a notice under section 51B
or 51C of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 (which relate to serious or
complex fraud cases and to certain cases involving children
respectively), the preceding provisions of this section do not apply, and

Prisons and Courts BillPage 24

the court must proceed in relation to the offence in accordance with
section 51 or, as the case may be, section 51A of that Act.

(10) A reference in this section to a person charged with an offence is a
reference to—

(a) 5a person in respect of whom a summons or warrant has been
issued under section 1;

(b) a person who has been charged with an offence under Part 4 of
the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984; or

(c) a person against whom a written charge has been issued under
10section 29 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003.

(11) If a person gives a written indication of plea, and at any time before the
case is heard the court receives an indication given by the person that
he or she wishes to withdraw the written indication of plea—

(a) the designated officer for the court must inform the prosecutor
15of the withdrawal,

(b) this section ceases to have effect, and

(c) section 17A has effect (see section 17A(1A)).

(12) In this section “written indication of plea” means a written indication
given by a person in accordance with this section of whether (if the
20offence were to proceed to trial) he or she would plead guilty or not
guilty (and “written indication of a guilty plea” and “written indication
of a not guilty plea” are to be read accordingly).”

(3) In section 17A (initial procedure: accused to indicate intention as to plea), after
subsection (1) insert—

(1A) 25But where section 17ZA has effect, this section does not have effect
unless the accused has failed to give a written indication of plea in
accordance with that section.”

(4) In section 17D (maximum penalty under section 17A(6) or 17B(2)(c) for certain
offences)—

(a) 30in the heading, after “section” insert “17ZA(4),”;

(b) in subsection (1)(b), after “section” insert “17ZA(4),”;

(c) after subsection (1) insert—

(1A) Where the court proceeds in relation to the offence in
accordance with section 17ZA(4), any representations under
35subsection (1) must be made by the person concerned in
writing.”

(5) In section 17E (functions under sections 17A to 17D capable of exercise by
single justice)—

(a) in the heading, for “17A” substitute “17ZA”;

(b) 40in subsection (1), for “17A” substitute “17ZA,”;

(c) in subsection (2)(a), after “section” insert “17ZA(4),”.

26 Either way offence: choice of written procedure for mode of trial

(1) The Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980 is amended in accordance with subsections
(2) to (7).

Prisons and Courts BillPage 25

(2) After section 17E insert—

17F Either way offence: choice of written procedure for mode of trial

(1) This section has effect where—

(a) a person who has attained the age of 18 years is charged with an
5offence triable either way, and

(b) the person gives a written indication of a not guilty plea under
section 17ZA.

(2) But Criminal Procedure Rules may make provision about
circumstances in which this section does not have effect.

(3) 10A magistrates’ court must give the person one or more documents
which—

(a) explain that a magistrates’ court is required to make the
decision under section 19 in accordance with sections 20 to 23;

(b) explain that the person may choose to have the court make that
15decision without the person being present;

(c) explain the way in which, and the time period within which, the
person would have to choose to have that decision made
without the person being present;

(d) set out any other information required or authorised by
20Criminal Procedure Rules.

(4) The explanations required by subsection (3) must be given in ordinary
language.

(5) If the person chooses to have the court make that decision without
being present, sections 19 to 22 have effect in relation to the offence.

(6) 25If the person fails to choose to have the court make that decision
without being present this section ceases to have effect (but see sections
18(A1) and (1A) and 18A(1) and (3)).

(7) Where sections 19 to 22 have effect by virtue of this section (rather than
section 18(1)), they do so subject to subsections (8) and (9).

(8) 30Everything that the court is required to do under sections 19 to 22 must
be done before any evidence is called; but it is not to be done in open
court or in the presence of the accused.

(9) The functions of a magistrates’ court under sections 19 to 22 may be
discharged by a single justice, but this subsection is not to be taken as
35authorising—

(a) the summary trial of an information (otherwise than in
accordance with section 20(7)), or

(b) the imposition of a sentence,

by a magistrates’ court composed of fewer than two justices.

(10) 40Subsection (1) does not prevent a magistrates’ court from complying
with subsection (3) by giving the required documents in anticipation of
the indication mentioned in subsection (1)(b) being given.

(11) A reference in this section to a person charged with an offence is a
reference to—

Prisons and Courts BillPage 26

(a) a person in respect of whom a summons or warrant has been
issued under section 1;

(b) a person who has been charged with an offence under Part 4 of
the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984; or

(c) 5a person against whom a written charge has been issued under
section 29 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003.”

(3) In section 18 (initial procedure on information against adult for offence triable
either way)—

(a) before subsection (1) insert—

(A1) 10Sections 19 to 23 have effect if condition A or condition B is
met.”;

(b) in subsection (1), for “Sections 19 to 23 below shall have effect where”
substitute “Condition A is met if”;

(c) after subsection (1) insert—

(1A) 15Condition B is met if—

(a) a person who has attained the age of 18 years is charged
with an offence triable either way,

(b) the person gives a written indication of a not guilty plea
under section 17ZA,

(c) 20the person has been given the documents required by
section 17F(3),

(d) section 17F ceases to have effect by virtue of section
17F(6) (failure by person to choose to have the court
make a decision on allocation without being present),
25and

(e) the person appears or is brought before a magistrates’
court for the purpose of the exercise of its jurisdiction
under section 19.”

(4) In section 19 (decision as to allocation), after subsection (2) insert—

(2A) 30Where this section has effect by virtue of section 17F—

(a) if the prosecution wishes to inform the court of previous
convictions, or make representations, under subsection (2), it
must do so in writing;

(b) if the accused wishes to make representations under subsection
35(2), he or she must do so in writing.”

(5) In section 20 (procedure where summary trial appears more suitable)—

(a) in subsections (5), (6) and (8), after “section” insert “17ZA,”;

(b) after subsection (9) insert—

(10) Where this section has effect by virtue of section 17F—

(a) 40the explanation required by subsection (2) must be
given by the court in writing;

(b) any request under subsection (3) for an indication of
sentence must be made by the accused in writing;

(c) any indication of sentence under subsection (4) must be
45given by the court in writing;

(d) the question under subsection (5) (if required) must be
asked by the court in writing;

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(e) any indication under subsection (6) must be given by the
accused in writing;

(f) the question under subsection (6) (if required) must be
asked by the court in writing;

(g) 5the question under subsection (9) (if required) must be
asked by the court in writing;

(h) any consent, or refusal of consent, under subsection (9)
to be tried summarily must be given by the accused in
writing.”

(6) 10In section 21 (procedure where trial on indictment appears more suitable)—

(a) the existing text becomes subsection (1);

(b) after that subsection insert—

(2) Where this section has effect by virtue of section 17F, the court
must tell the accused of its decision in writing.”

(7) 15In section 22 (certain offences triable either way to be tried summarily if value
involved is small), after subsection (6) insert—

(6A) Where this section has effect by virtue of section 17F—

(a) to comply with subsection (5)—

(i) the charge must be given to the accused in writing
20(rather than read to him or her), and

(ii) the explanation required by that subsection must be
given to the accused in writing;

(b) the question under subsection (6) (if required) must be asked by
the court in writing;

(c) 25any consent, or refusal of consent, under subsection (6) to be
tried summarily must be given by the accused in writing.”

(8) In section 47 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, for subsection (3A)
substitute—

(3A) Where a custody officer grants bail to a person subject to a duty to
30appear before a court, the custody officer shall appoint for the
appearance the time and date, and place, which is notified to the
custody officer by—

(a) the designated officer for the magistrates’ court (in the case of
an appearance before that court), or

(b) 35the appropriate officer of the Crown Court (in the case of an
appearance before that Court).”

27 Power to proceed if accused absent from allocation proceedings

(1) The Magistrates’ Court 1980 is amended in accordance with this section.

(2) After section 18 insert—

18A 40Allocation proceedings: power to proceed if accused adult absent

(1) This section applies if condition A or B is met.

(2) Condition A is met if—

(a) a person who has attained the age of 18 years is charged with an
offence triable either way,

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(b) the person has been given the documents required by section
17ZA(3),

(c) section 17ZA ceases to have effect by virtue of section
17ZA(6)(a) (failure by person to give written indication of plea),

(d) 5the person fails to attend allocation proceedings in a
magistrates’ court, and

(e) it is proved to the satisfaction of the court, on oath or in such
other manner as may be prescribed, that—

(i) notice of the allocation proceedings was served on the
10accused within what appears to the court to be a
reasonable time before its date, or

(ii) the accused has appeared on a previous occasion to
answer the charge.

(3) Condition B is met if—

(a) 15a person who has attained the age of 18 years is charged with an
offence triable either way,

(b) the person gives a written indication of a not guilty plea under
section 17ZA,

(c) the person has been given the documents required by section
2017F(3),

(d) section 17F ceases to apply by virtue of section 17F(6) (failure by
person to choose to have the court make a decision on allocation
without being present),

(e) the person fails to attend allocation proceedings in a
25magistrates’ court, and

(f) it is proved to the satisfaction of the court, on oath or in such
other manner as may be prescribed, that—

(i) notice of the allocation proceedings was served on the
accused within what appears to the court to be a
30reasonable time before its date, or

(ii) the accused has appeared on a previous occasion to
answer the charge.

(4) The court may proceed in the absence of the accused in accordance with
such of the provisions of sections 19 to 22 as are applicable in the
35circumstances.

(5) Subsections (3) to (5) of section 23, so far as applicable, have effect in
relation to proceedings conducted in the absence of the accused by
virtue of this section (references in those subsections to the person
representing the accused being for this purpose read as references to
40the person, if any, representing him or her).

(6) If a magistrates’ court proceeds under sections 19 to 23 in accordance
with this section—

(a) the accused is to be taken to indicate that he or she would (if the
offence were to proceed to trial) plead not guilty;

(b) 45if it appears to the court more suitable for the accused to be tried
summarily for the offence, he or she is to be taken to consent to
be tried summarily;

(c) section 18(4) and (5) apply to the court (as they would apply if
the court were proceeding in accordance with section 18).

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(7) In this section “allocation proceedings” means the proceedings to
which section 18(1) or (1A) refers.”

(3) In section 19 (decision as to allocation), after subsection (6) insert—

(7) If—

(a) 5this section applies in a case which falls within section 18A, and

(b) before the start of the summary trial (as defined in section
8A(2)), the accused indicates that he or she wishes to be tried on
indictment,

the court must proceed in relation to the offence in accordance with
10section 51 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998.”

28 Low-value shoplifting: choice of written election for Crown Court trial

(1) Section 22A of the Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980 (low-value shoplifting to be a
summary offence) is amended in accordance with this section.

(2) After subsection (1) insert—

(1A) 15But where a person accused of low-value shoplifting is aged 18 or over,
a magistrates’ court must give the person one or more documents
which—

(a) state the charge against the person;

(b) explain that the person may choose either—

(i) 20to elect in writing to be tried by the Crown Court for the
offence, or

(ii) to confirm in writing that the person does not wish to
elect to be tried by the Crown Court for the offence;

(c) explain that—

(i) 25if the person chooses to make that election, the
proceedings will be tried in the Crown Court;

(ii) if the person chooses to give that confirmation, the
proceedings will continue in accordance with section 9;

(iii) if the person neither makes that election nor gives that
30confirmation, the proceedings will continue as
mentioned in subsection (2);

(d) explain the way in which, and the time period within which, the
person would have to make that election or give that
confirmation;

(e) 35set out any other information required or authorised by
Criminal Procedure Rules.

(1B) Criminal Procedure Rules may make provision about circumstances in
which subsection (1A) does not apply.

(1C) The explanations required by subsection (1A) must be given in
40ordinary language.

(1D) If the person elects in writing to be tried by the Crown Court for the
offence—

(a) subsections (1) and (2) do not apply, and

(b) the court must proceed in relation to the offence in accordance
45with section 51 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998.