Practice Note No.20 - Protocol for Case Conferencing




February 2010


 
PROTOCOL FOR CASE CONFERENCING
 

Aims and Application

The aim of case conferencing is to encourage early appropriate pleas of guilty by the submission of any representations, requests or proposals in relation to the charges, particulars and the Prosecutor�s Statement of Facts at an early stage of the proceedings. The parties should also identify and attempt to resolve any potential interlocutory issues. In relation to any representations, requests or proposals that are sought to be discussed at the case conference it is recommended that written material be supplied to the Prosecutor at least 7 days but not less than 2 days prior to the case conference.

The Conference

1. The conference process should be entered into by the legal representatives in good faith If, after the conference process has been commenced, a legal representative for either party considers the conference process should terminate, they should apply to the Court to have the second directions hearing date brought forward.

2. If agreement is reached on a plea of guilty the parties should attempt to reach agreement on the Statement of Facts to be tendered on sentence.

3. The parties should seek to resolve any other matters in preparation for the sentence proceedings.

4. If agreement is not reached on a plea of guilty, the parties should attempt to identify any facts not in dispute and document them as agreed facts. Defendants should also give consideration as to whether they propose to make any admissions.

5. The conference is to be held face to face. Where this is not possible, the conference may be held by video link or telephone. However, this is only to occur in exceptional circumstances and requires the mutual agreement of the parties.

6. Parties are to attend a conference fully instructed and conversant with the evidence.

7. Either party must advise the other if counsel is briefed. Counsel may attend the case conference.

8. At the end of the conference process, any agreement concerning the charge/s, particulars and facts shall be reflected in writing and the document signed by the legal representatives of the parties.