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Defence Statements

Purpose: To draw barristers' attention to practical points relating to failure to draft defence statements
Scope of application: All self-employed, criminal barristers
Issued by: The Ethics Committee
First reviewed: 01/01/2014
Last reviewed: 01/01/2018
Status and effect: Please see the notice at end of this document. This is not "guidance" for the purposes of the BSB Handbook I6.4.

Defence statements are of fundamental importance in criminal trials. Defendants are liable to be cross-examined about their contents. Comment can be made about them by other parties and the judge. Inferences against the interests of a defendant might be drawn if the document is not served or, if served, is deficient.


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Important Notice

This document has been prepared by the Bar Council to assist barristers on matters of professional conduct and ethics. It is not “guidance” for the purposes of the BSB Handbook I6.4, and neither the BSB nor a disciplinary tribunal nor the Legal Ombudsman is bound by any views or advice expressed in it. It does not comprise – and cannot be relied on as giving – legal advice. It has been prepared in good faith, but neither the Bar Council nor any of the individuals responsible for or involved in its preparation accept any responsibility or liability for anything done in reliance on it. For fuller information as to the status and effect of this document, please see here.

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