The day before MPs begin hearing evidence on challenges around the disclosure of evidence in criminal cases, the Attorney General's Office has announced it will not be issuing a call for evidence to inform its wider review.
Attorney General Jeremy Wright QC told MPs last week that his review, which was announced in December, will aim to report by the summer. Today, his office published further details.
Wright's review will consider evidence under four 'cross-cutting' themes: processes in 'volume' and 'complex' cases including economic crime; guidance; case management; and capabilities across the criminal justice system including staffing and digital technology.
The department said the review team may consult private sector and representative bodies, academics and non-governmental organisations 'as appropriate', including through stakeholder meeting groups, but it will not publish a formal consultation or call for evidence.
Several reports of disclosure 'failings' have emerged over the past few months. Last year a disclosure survey carried out by the Criminal Law Solicitors' Association attracted nearly 300 responses in the first 24 hours. Last month the Law Society asked solicitors to get in touch about disclosure failures that have led, or potentially led, to miscarriages of justice.
Tomorrow the Commons justice select committee, chaired by Bob Neill MP, holds its first evidence session as part of its disclosure inquiry. MPs will be speaking to Kevin McGinty, chief inspector of HM Crown Prosecution Inspectorate, and Wendy Williams of HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services about whether the police and Crown Prosecution Service are meeting their obligations to disclose evidence, whether they have the right training and guidance to fulfil their duties, technology for reviewing and transferring evidence, and the court and defence's roles.