Drystone Chambers Chris Jeyes succeeds in his application before the Divisional Court for a judicial review of a custody time limit extension in the Crown Court. The Judgment in R (Marten) v Crown Court at Lincoln  EWHC 2283 (Admin) was handed down this morning (06/09/22).
This was a judicial review of a custody time limit extension in the Crown Court. As is so often the case, when the week of trial was reached in this otherwise entirely routine case, there was no court available for the trial (it seems due to the absence of a Recorder).
The Crown Court Judge told the assembled parties that the case could not get on, and the CPS applied to extend the CTL to the end of the week of the new trial listing – some six months away, and effectively a doubling of the CTL.
Although the extension of the CTL was opposed, there was no detailed discussion of the circumstances that led to the trial not being able to go ahead, nor were the efforts made to secure an alternative listing elsewhere explored in open court. The Judge simply recited that there was no prospect of the case getting on any sooner anywhere else.
Judicial review was sought of the decision to extend.
The Divisional Court (Macur LJ & Wall J) took the opportunity to reiterate the guidance previously given by Sir John Thomas P (as he then was) in R (McAuley) v Crown Court at Coventry (Practice note)  1 WLR 2766 and to emphasise the “rigorous scrutiny” required of CTL applications.
The restrictions on the Court dictated by pandemic lockdowns were no longer necessary, and the extension to the CTL length made at the height of the pandemic had lapsed and not been renewed. This supported the view that it is now “business as normal”.
As a direct result of this decision, Judges dealing with applications for CTL extensions should provide the detail of the information provided to them by the listing officer in open court, and recognise that the application to extend the CTL is that of the CPS and not that of the court. Both advocates must be adequately informed to advance their submissions and assist the court in the necessary rigorous scrutiny of whether there is a good and sufficient reason (remembering also that “good” and “sufficient” are separate tests and a good cause may arise which is not sufficient).
Further information about Chris Jeyes’ practice is available here.