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New year, new rules

Jeannie Mackie looks forward to the arrival of the new Criminal Procedure Rules

16 January 2012

The Criminal Procedure Rules are revamped and ready to roll out in April 2012. These rules are meant to be, for us criminally minded hacks, a light to shine upon the world, a hand to hold in the darkening gloom, a map to chart us through the tangled thickets of the forest... and as such they are, of course, generally ignored. There are judges who live and breathe them, particularly if the defence have fallen down on the job, missed a time limit or otherwise failed in perfection. There are one or two judges who are not above actually quoting them at one, like poetry: the overriding objective of the rules, according to those eager beavers, is for the judge to ‘case manage’ and make sure everyone gets a move on, now, sharpish, chop chop. Not wasting court or judicial time and making advocates’ lives even nastier places to be might seem, in some courts, to be the point of the beastly things – but a mere flicker of the eye towards rule 1.1 tells a softer, kinder, tale.

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