Attorney General’s Reference (No 2 of 2001): CACD 12 Jul 2001

When assessing whether the defendant’s right to a trial within a reasonable time had been infringed, the court should look as from the date at which he was charged, or served with a summons, and not from the date of the first interview. Although a suspect could suffer material prejudice from the date of the interview, that would often not be the case. The previous law was that a stay for abuse of process should be granted only in exceptional cases and where the defendant could show that because of the delay he would suffer serious prejudice which denied him the chance of a fair trial. Under Human Rights law, proceedings should still only be stayed where the conduct of the prosecution amounted to an abuse of the proceedings of the courts.


Lord Woolf CJ, Wright and Grigson JJ


Times 12-Jul-2001, Gazette 23-Aug-2001, [2001] 1 WLR 1869, [2001] EWCA Crim 1568


European Convention on Human Rights Art 6.1


FollowedAttorney General’s Reference (No 1 of 1990) CACD 3-Jun-1992
The jurisdiction to stay criminal proceedings on the ground of delay is exceptional, even where the delay was unjustifiable, and a stay should rarely be imposed in the absence of any fault on the part of the complainant or prosecution, and should . .

Cited by:

CitedPlinio Galfetti v Regina CACD 31-Jul-2002
The defendant had been convicted of various offences of violence but then was then to be held in a secure mental hospital. A place was not available, and an order only became available some nine months later, at which time, he argued that the order . .
CitedRegina v HM Advocate and The Advocate General for Scotland PC 28-Nov-2002
(The High Court of Justiciary) The prosecution had accepted that the matter had been the subject of unreasonable delay, but wished to continue. The defendant sought a plea in bar, on the basis that continuing would infringe his rights.
Held: . .
CitedRegina v Ashton, Lyons and Webber CACD 6-Dec-2002
The appellants had appealed sentences for conspiracy to murder. There had been an inordinate delay between leave to appeal having been granted, and the appeal being heard.
Held: The appellants’ rights had been infringed by the delay, and they . .
CitedAaron v The Law Society (the Office of the Supervision of Solicitors) QBD 13-Oct-2003
The appellant challenged an order suspending him from practice as a solicitor for two years. He had previous findings of professional misconduct in failing to pay counsels’ fees. In the course of later disciplinary proceedings he was found to have . .
CitedLloyd v Bow Street Magistrates Court Admn 8-Oct-2003
The defendant had been convicted and made subect to a confiscation order in 1996. A final order for enforcement was made in late 2002. The defendant said the delay in the enforcement proceedings was a breach of his right to a trial within a . .
Appeal fromAttorney-General’s Reference (No 2 of 2001) HL 11-Dec-2003
The house was asked whether it might be correct to stay criminal proceedings as an abuse where for delay. The defendants were prisoners in a prison riot in 1998. The case only came on for trial in 2001, when they submitted that the delay was an . .
CitedRegina v S (Crime: delay in prosecution) CACD 6-Mar-2006
The defendant appealed his conviction saying that the prosecution should have been stayed permanently because of the delay in bringing the case. He had been sentenced to 7 years imprisonment for sexual assaults committed in the 1970s.
Held: A . .
CitedCrown Prosecution Service v Bentham Admn 2003
At the trial of a substantive claim for declarations of property rights in the context of confiscation proceedings under the 1986 Act, two interested parties sought to dismissal or stay of the claims dismissed for delay. The proceedings went back to . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Human Rights, Criminal Practice

Updated: 18 May 2022; Ref: scu.77964