1. Depositions are written statements of witnesses taken before a magistrate or other judicial authority. Under the CPIA 1996, an entirely new concept has been introduced whereby the court can take an oral deposition from any person if that person will not voluntarily make a statement, or produce a document or other exhibit, likely to be material evidence for the purposes of proceedings before a magistrates' court inquiring into an offence as examining justices. 1 Failure to provide a deposition of evidence sought by the prosecution, or to produce a document/exhibit "without just excuse", can result in a period of imprisonment for up to one month, or a fine of £2,500. 2

2. In practice, these new provisions are unlikely to be used frequently, and even less so in health and safety cases, where Section 20 powers are available.

3. Such depositions will be admissible in committal proceedings if they comply with MCA1980 s.5C, and admissible at trial subject to the court exercising its discretion to exclude evidence. 3


  1. MCA 1980, s.97A (6), inserted by CPIA 1996, Sch.1. Back to reference of footnote 1
  2. MCA 1980S. 97A, inserted by CPIA 1996, Sch.1. Back to reference of footnote 2
  3. CPIA 1996, s.68 and Sch.2. Back to reference of footnote 3

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Updated 2021-08-27