Criminal Investigation and Pre-Trial Disclosure in the United Kingdom

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This book details the findings of a study into the operation of advance disclosure in the UK, where defective disclosure has been a central feature of many of the most notorious miscarriages of justice. It is widely accepted that the procedures for disclosure of ‘unused material’ have never operated as intended and that material which should be disclosed is routinely ignored. Furthermore, the criminal justice system appears incapable of adequately recognizing and correcting defective disclosure, with potentially disastrous consequences. The criminal justice system is increasingly dependent on the administrative construction of ‘cases’ – the paper form which forms the basis for all subsequent stages of the prosecution process. However, control of unused material remains very much in the hands of police and, therefore, the attitudes and working practices of officers are central to assessing the effectiveness, or otherwise, of the provisions. This study examined Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act (CPIA) disclosure in two regional police forces in an attempt to identify those factors, both cultural and institutional, which have acted to impede the effective operation of the disclosure provisions. This work illustrates the strategies used by investigators to circumvent the due process safeguards of the disclosure regime and, as such, is of interest to anyone concerned with the criminal justice system and the protection of human rights.


“ ... Dr. Taylor has provided a clearly written and extensively referenced work which adds to the developing literature on the socio-legal scholarship on policing and evidence. It has been revised and updated to include the latest developments including the recent case law and the legislative developments in the Criminal Justice Act 2003.” – (from the Preface) Professor David Ormerod, University of Leeds

“ ... illuminating and depressing in equal parts … illuminating as it gives shape to the oft held thoughts of academics and practitioners alike as to how CID [Criminal Investigation Department] investigations proceed and depressing in that it confirms stereotypes … It is a fascinating study with quotes and illustrations from ‘the inside’, the like of which most people never access.” – Professor Chris Gale, Bradford University Law School

“It is anticipated that this book provide a much needed contribution to a particular area of criminal justice that has been, sadly, neglected in much recent scholarship. The text is replete with thought-provoking arguments and profitable analysis and, as such, should be of interest to academics, police officers, other criminal justice stakeholders, and students studying law or criminal justice at any level." – Dr. Jonathan Doak, University of Sheffield

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. The Research
3. Due Process and Crime Control
4. The Development of Disclosure Law in the UK
5. Disclosure Under the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996
6. Issues within the Police Service
7. Culture & Discretion
8. The CID
9. Stage 1 – Investigation
10. Stage 2 – File Preparation and Submission
11. Stage 3 – The CID and ASU
12. Stage 4 – The Prosecution Process
13. Conclusion

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