Prisons Act 2007



Certain applications to court to be heard using videolink.

33.— (1) This section applies to an application to a court in criminal proceedings where—

(a) the application is one of those specified in subsection (11),

(b) the accused or person convicted of the offence concerned (“the prisoner”) is in a prison,

(c) the application is made or to be made by the Director of Public Prosecutions or by the prisoner, and

(d) the prisoner is legally represented or has obtained legal advice or been given the opportunity of obtaining or being provided with such advice.

(2) An application to which this section applies may be heard without the prisoner being present in court if the court so directs on being satisfied that—

(a) to do so would not be prejudicial to the prisoner,

(b) the interests of justice do not require his or her presence at the hearing,

(c) the facilities provided by a live television link between the court and the prison concerned are such as to enable—

(i) the prisoner to participate in, and to view and hear, the proceedings before the court,

(ii) those present in the court to see and hear the prisoner, and

(iii) the prisoner and his or her legal representative to communicate in confidence during the hearing,

(d) to do so is otherwise appropriate having regard to—

(i) the nature of the application,

(ii) the complexity of the hearing,

(iii) the age of the prisoner, and

(iv) his or her mental and physical capacity,


(e) no other circumstances exist that warrant the prisoner’s presence in court for the hearing.

(3) An application for such a direction may be made ex parte to the judge, or a judge, of the court concerned by or on behalf of the Director of Public Prosecutions or the prisoner.

(4) On such an application the judge, if he or she considers it desirable in the interests of justice to do so, may require notice of the application to be given to the prisoner or his or her legal representative or, as the case may be, to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

(5) Where the court decides not to give a direction under this section, it shall state its reasons for not doing so.

(6) At any time after a direction under this section is given, an application may be made to the court by or on behalf of the prisoner to revoke the direction on the ground that one or more than one of the considerations mentioned in paragraphs (a) to (e) of subsection (2) do not apply in the prisoner’s case.

(7) The court may at any time revoke a direction, whether on an application under subsection (6) or not.

(8) If, on an application under subsection (6), the court refuses to revoke a direction, it shall state its reasons for the refusal.

(9) Where the provisions of this section are complied with in relation to the hearing of an application to which this section applies, the prisoner is deemed to be present in court for the purposes of any enactment or rule of law or order of any court requiring the presence in court of an accused or convicted person during criminal proceedings against him or her.

(10) Nothing in this section affects the right of the prisoner to be present during any criminal proceedings other than the hearing of an application to which this section applies.

(11) The following applications (other than applications under subsections (3) and (6)) are specified for the purposes of subsection (1):

(a) an application for bail or free legal aid;

(b) in relation to proceedings on indictment, any other application except—

(i) an application made at the commencement of the trial,

(ii) an application relating to the arraignment or sentence of the prisoner, or

(iii) any other application that appears to the court to require the presence of the prisoner at the hearing, including—

(I) an application relating to the capacity of the prisoner to stand trial, or

(II) an application to dismiss the charges against the prisoner on the ground that there is not sufficient evidence to put him or her on trial;

(c) in relation to proceedings in the District Court, any other application to the Court before the date on which—

(i) a trial before it begins or the court accepts a plea of guilty, or

(ii) the accused is sent forward for trial or sentence;

(d) any application in appeal proceedings or any subsequent proceedings.

(12) In this section “criminal proceedings” means proceedings for an offence and includes any appeal proceedings or subsequent proceedings.