§ Lord Peston
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they will set out their plans for a review of transfer and commital procedures in serious fraud trials. [HL1963]
§ The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg)
I have directed my department to carry out a review of pre-trial procedures in serious fraud trials. The purpose of this review will be to conduct a detailed examination of trial procedures in these cases, from the decision to commit or transfer a case to the Crown Court right up to the commencement of the jury trial. The review will assess the extent of current compliance with existing rules and procedures, evaluating their effectiveness and considering whether changes to procedure and case management could aid the delivery of justice in serious fraud cases. The review will involve wide consultation with all bodies involved in serious fraud cases.175WA
The terms of reference of the review are as follows:
"To evaluate the existing procedures which follow a decision to commit or transfer for trial in serious fraud cases, in particular compliance with the rules concerning committal or transfer and preparatory hearings:
To determine whether these procedures, when fully complied with, are the optimal mechanism for case management, or if they should be modified in any way:
To assess whether more fundamental changes to such procedures could provide more effective delivery of justice in serious fraud cases; and
To outline and consider any such changes."
The review will commence in May 1998. It is intended that provisional conclusions will be reported to me by September of this year.