102 Assumption of truth in assessment of relevance or probative value
(1) Subject to subsection (2), a reference in this Chapter to the relevance or
probative value of evidence is a reference to its relevance or probative value on
the assumption that it is true.
(2) In assessing the relevance or probative value of an item of evidence for any
purpose of this Chapter, a court need not assume that the evidence is true if it
appears, on the basis of any material before the court (including any evidence
it decides to hear on the matter), that no court or jury could reasonably find it
to be true.
103 Court’s duty to give reasons for rulings
(1) Where the court makes a relevant ruling—
(a) it must state in open court (but in the absence of the jury, if there is one)
its reasons for the ruling;
(b) if it is a magistrates’ court, it must cause the ruling and the reasons for
it to be entered in the register of the court’s proceedings.
(2) In this section “relevant ruling” means—
(a) a ruling on whether an item of evidence is evidence of a person’s bad
(b) a ruling on whether an item of such evidence is admissible under
section 92 or 93 (including a ruling on an application under section
(c) a ruling under section 100.
104 Rules of court
(1) Rules of court may make such provision as appears to the appropriate
authority to be necessary or expedient for the purposes of this Act; and the
appropriate authority is the authority entitled to make the rules.
(2) The rules may require a defendant who—
(a) proposes to adduce evidence of a co-defendant’s bad character under
section 93(1)(f), or
(b) proposes to cross-examine a witness with a view to eliciting such
to serve on the co-defendant such notice, and such particulars of or relating to
the evidence, as may be prescribed.
(3) The rules may provide that the court or the co-defendant may, in such
circumstances as may be prescribed, dispense with a requirement imposed by
virtue of subsection (2).
(4) In considering the exercise of its powers with respect to costs, the court may
take into account any failure by a defendant to comply with a requirement
imposed by virtue of subsection (2) and not dispensed with by virtue of
(5) The rules may—
(a) limit the application of any provision of the rules to prescribed
(b) subject any provision of the rules to prescribed exceptions;
(c) make different provision for different cases or circumstances.
(6) Nothing in this section prejudices the generality of any enactment conferring
power to make rules of court; and no particular provision of this section
prejudices any general provision of it.
(7) In this section—
“prescribed” means prescribed by rules of court;
“rules of court” means—
(a) Crown Court Rules;
(b) Criminal Appeal Rules;
(c) rules under section 144 of the Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980
105 Interpretation of Chapter 1
(1) In this Chapter—
“bad character” is to be read in accordance with section 90;
“criminal proceedings” means criminal proceedings in relation to which
the strict rules of evidence apply;
“defendant”, in relation to criminal proceedings, means a person charged
with an offence in those proceedings; and “co-defendant”, in relation to
a defendant, means a person charged with an offence in the same
“important matter” means a matter of substantial importance in the
context of the case as a whole;
(a) the commission of an offence, or
(b) behaviour of a kind that, in the opinion of the court, might be
viewed with disapproval by a reasonable person;
“offence” includes a service offence;
“probative value”, and “relevant” (in relation to an item of evidence), are
to be read in accordance with section 102;
“prosecution evidence” means evidence which is to be (or has been)
adduced by the prosecution, or which a witness is to be invited to give
(or has given) in cross-examination by the prosecution;
“service offence” means an offence under the Army Act 1955 (3 & 4 Eliz. 2
c. 18), the Air Force Act 1955 (3 & 4 Eliz. 2 c. 19) or the Naval Discipline
Act 1957 (c. 53);
“written charge” has the same meaning as in section 28 and also includes
(2) Where a defendant is charged with two or more offences in the same criminal
proceedings, this Chapter has effect as if each offence were charged in separate
proceedings; and references to the offence with which the defendant is charged
are to be read accordingly.
(3) Nothing in this Chapter affects the exclusion of evidence—
(a) under section 41 of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999
(c. 23), or
(b) on grounds other than the fact that it is evidence of a person’s bad
106 Armed forces
Schedule 5 (armed forces) has effect.
Hearsay: main provisions
107 Admissibility of hearsay evidence
(1) In criminal proceedings a statement not made in oral evidence in the
proceedings is admissible as evidence of any matter stated if, but only if—
(a) any provision of this Chapter or any other statutory provision makes it
(b) any rule of law preserved by section 111 makes it admissible,
(c) all parties to the proceedings agree to it being admissible, or
(d) the court is satisfied that, despite the difficulties there may be in
challenging the statement, it would not be contrary to the interests of
justice for it to be admissible.
(2) In deciding whether a statement not made in oral evidence should be admitted
under subsection (1)(d), the court must have regard to the following factors
(and to any others it considers relevant)—
(a) how much probative value the statement has (assuming it to be true) in
relation to a matter in issue in the proceedings, or how valuable it is for
the understanding of other evidence in the case;
(b) what other evidence has been, or can be, given on the matter or
evidence mentioned in paragraph (a);
(c) how important the matter or evidence mentioned in paragraph (a) is in
the context of the case as a whole;
(d) the circumstances in which the statement was made;
(e) how reliable the maker of the statement appears to be;
(f) how reliable the evidence of the making of the statement appears to be;
(g) whether oral evidence of the matter stated can be given and, if not, why
(h) the amount of difficulty involved in challenging the statement;
(i) the extent to which that difficulty would be likely to prejudice the party
(3) Nothing in this Chapter affects the exclusion of evidence of a statement on
grounds other than the fact that it is a statement not made in oral evidence in
108 Statements and matters stated
(1) In this Chapter references to a statement or to a matter stated are to be read as
(2) A statement is any representation of fact or opinion made by a person by
whatever means; and it includes a representation made in a sketch, photofit or
other pictorial form.
(3) A matter stated is one to which this Chapter applies if (and only if) the purpose,
or one of the purposes, of the person making the statement appears to the court
to have been—
(a) to cause another person to believe the matter, or
(b) to cause another person to act or a machine to operate on the basis that
the matter is as stated.
Principal categories of admissibility
109 Cases where a witness is unavailable
(1) In criminal proceedings a statement not made in oral evidence in the
proceedings is admissible as evidence of any matter stated if—
(a) oral evidence given in the proceedings by the person who made the
statement would be admissible as evidence of that matter,
(b) the person who made the statement (the relevant person) is identified
to the court’s satisfaction, and
(c) any of the five conditions mentioned in subsection (2) is satisfied.
(2) The conditions are—
(a) that the relevant person is dead;
(b) that the relevant person is unfit to be a witness because of his bodily or
(c) that the relevant person is outside the United Kingdom and it is not
reasonably practicable to secure his attendance;
(d) that the relevant person cannot be found although such steps as it is
reasonably practicable to take to find him have been taken;
(e) that through fear the relevant person does not give (or does not
continue to give) oral evidence in the proceedings, either at all or in
connection with the subject matter of the statement, and the court gives
leave for the statement to be given in evidence.
(3) For the purposes of subsection (2)(e) “fear” is to be widely construed and (for
example) includes fear of the death or injury of another person or of financial
(4) Leave may be given under subsection (2)(e) only if the court considers that the
statement ought to be admitted in the interests of justice, having regard—
(a) to the statement’s contents,
(b) to any risk that its admission or exclusion will result in unfairness to
any party to the proceedings (and in particular to how difficult it will
be to challenge the statement if the relevant person does not give oral
(c) in appropriate cases, to the fact that a direction under section 19 of the
Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 (c. 23) (special measures
for the giving of evidence by fearful witnesses etc) could be made in
relation to the relevant person, and
(d) to any other relevant circumstances.
(5) A condition set out in any paragraph of subsection (2) which is in fact satisfied
is to be treated as not satisfied if it is shown that the circumstances described
in that paragraph are caused—
(a) by the person in support of whose case it is sought to give the statement
in evidence, or
(b) by a person acting on his behalf,
in order to prevent the relevant person giving oral evidence in the proceedings
(whether at all or in connection with the subject matter of the statement).
110 Business and other documents
(1) In criminal proceedings a statement contained in a document is admissible as
evidence of any matter stated if—
(a) oral evidence given in the proceedings would be admissible as
evidence of that matter,
(b) the requirements of subsection (2) are satisfied, and
(c) the requirements of subsection (5) are satisfied, in a case where
subsection (4) requires them to be.
(2) The requirements of this subsection are satisfied if—
(a) the document or the part containing the statement was created or
received by a person in the course of a trade, business, profession or
other occupation, or as the holder of a paid or unpaid office,
(b) the person who supplied the information contained in the statement
(the relevant person) had or may reasonably be supposed to have had
personal knowledge of the matters dealt with, and
(c) each person (if any) through whom the information was supplied from
the relevant person to the person mentioned in paragraph (a) received
the information in the course of a trade, business, profession or other
occupation, or as the holder of a paid or unpaid office.
(3) The persons mentioned in paragraphs (a) and (b) of subsection (2) may be the
(4) The additional requirements of subsection (5) must be satisfied if the
(a) was prepared for the purposes of pending or contemplated criminal
proceedings, or for a criminal investigation, but
(b) was not prepared in accordance with section 3 of the Criminal Justice
(International Co-operation) Act 1990 (c. 5) or an order under
paragraph 6 of Schedule 13 to the Criminal Justice Act 1988 (c. 33)
(which relate to overseas evidence).
(5) The requirements of this subsection are satisfied if—
(a) any of the five conditions mentioned in section 109(2) is satisfied
(absence of relevant person etc), or
(b) the relevant person cannot reasonably be expected to have any
recollection of the matters dealt with in the statement (having regard to
the length of time since he supplied the information and all other
(6) A statement is not admissible under this section if the court makes a direction
to that effect under subsection (7).
(7) The court may make a direction under this subsection if satisfied that the
statement’s reliability as evidence for the purpose for which it is tendered is
doubtful in view of—
(a) its contents,
(b) the source of the information contained in it,
(c) the way in which or the circumstances in which the information was
supplied or received, or
(d) the way in which or the circumstances in which the document
concerned was created or received.
111 Preservation of certain common law categories of admissibility
(1) The following rules of law are preserved.
Public information etc
1 Any rule of law under which in criminal proceedings—
(a) published works dealing with matters of a public nature
(such as histories, scientific works, dictionaries and maps) are
admissible as evidence of facts of a public nature stated in
(b) public documents (such as public registers, and returns made
under public authority with respect to matters of public
interest) are admissible as evidence of facts stated in them,
(c) records (such as the records of certain courts, treaties, Crown
grants, pardons and commissions) are admissible as evidence
of facts stated in them, or
(d) evidence relating to a person’s age or date or place of birth
may be given by a person without personal knowledge of the
Reputation as to character
2 Any rule of law under which in criminal proceedings evidence of a
person’s reputation is admissible for the purpose of proving his
good or bad character.
The rule is preserved only so far as it allows the court to treat such
evidence as proving the matter concerned.
Reputation or family tradition
3 Any rule of law under which in criminal proceedings evidence of
reputation or family tradition is admissible for the purpose of
proving or disproving—
(a) pedigree or the existence of a marriage,
(b) the existence of any public or general right, or
(c) the identity of any person or thing.
The rule is preserved only so far as it allows the court to treat such
evidence as proving or disproving the matter concerned.
4 Any rule of law under which in criminal proceedings a statement is
admissible as evidence of any matter stated if—
(a) the statement was made by a person so emotionally
overpowered by an event that the possibility of concoction or
distortion can be disregarded,
(b) the statement accompanied an act which can be properly
evaluated as evidence only if considered in conjunction with
the statement, or
(c) the statement relates to a physical sensation or a mental state
(such as intention or emotion).
5 Any rule of law relating to the admissibility of confessions or mixed
statements in criminal proceedings.
Admissions by agents etc
6 Any rule of law under which in criminal proceedings—
(a) an admission made by an agent of a defendant is admissible
against the defendant as evidence of any matter stated, or
(b) a statement made by a person to whom a defendant refers a
person for information is admissible against the defendant as
evidence of any matter stated.
7 Any rule of law under which in criminal proceedings a statement
made by a party to a common enterprise is admissible against
another party to the enterprise as evidence of any matter stated.
8 Any rule of law under which in criminal proceedings an expert
witness may draw on the body of expertise relevant to his field.
(2) With the exception of the rules preserved by this section, the common law rules
governing the admissibility of hearsay evidence in criminal proceedings are
112 Inconsistent statements
(1) If in criminal proceedings a person gives oral evidence and—
(a) he admits making a previous inconsistent statement, or
(b) a previous inconsistent statement made by him is proved by virtue of
section 3, 4 or 5 of the Criminal Procedure Act 1865 (c. 18),
the statement is admissible as evidence of any matter stated of which oral
evidence by him would be admissible.