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Abuse of process in the Crown Court

1. Abuse of process applications in the Crown Court are governed by the relevant Practice Direction (Criminal Proceedings: Consolidation [2002] 1 WLR 2870, paragraph iv.36) which provides a procedure for the defence to follow should it wish to raise an abuse of process argument.

2. The defence must give notice of the application to the prosecution and co-defendants not less than 14 days before the trial is fixed or warned. This notice must include the grounds upon which the application is made. Advocates must then serve skeleton arguments and documents/cases relied upon five clear working days in advance of the hearing (for the defence) and two clear working days in advance of the hearing (for the prosecution).

3. If the defence is considering arguing abuse of process at the time of the plea and case management hearing, it should inform the judge who may give directions and set down a different timetable to that outlined above.

Updated 2009-07-07