Bartholomew Dalton in Criminal Law Week on Common Platform failures

31 Oct 2023

Serious and General Crime associate solicitor Bartholomew Dalton has written a guest comment for Criminal Law Week in which he analyses errors made by Magistrates’ Courts when transferring cases to the Crown Court.

The procedural mistakes in R v Butt; R v Jenkins [2023] EWCA Crim 1131 were many and various. They included one defendant being sentenced at the Crown Court without ever purportedly entering a guilty plea. In its judgment the Court of Appeal provided clear guidance as to how the Crown Court should deal with similar errors in the future.

Bartholomew argues these errors must be considered against the backdrop of the difficult rollout of HMCTS’s new IT system, Common Platform.

Given the many problems with the Common Platform system, he writes, it is “easy to see how the errors in this case” occurred. Nor is it surprising that this case, and others, were referred to the Court of Appeal.

Bartholomew that “there were plenty of prior warnings about Common Platform and one could perhaps be forgiven for thinking that these cases are the chickens coming home to roost.”

He goes on: “There is certainly a feeling amongst practitioners, and experienced by this author, that Common Platform has exacerbated existing problems and is often ill-suited for the speed of summary justice.”

The full commentary is available to Criminal Law Week subscribers here.



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