Under the Crown Practice Statement on disclosure of statements and productions, the Crown must give the defence
Within 14 days of the first appearance, a provisional list of witnesses.
Within 28 days of the first appearance, copies of witness statements.
As soon as practicable, copies of documentary evidence and lists of productions including forensic science reports.
No later than 7 days after service of the indictment, a courtesy copy of the indictment and a note giving details of where and when the defence may collect or examine any previously undisclosed copy productions.
Procedure: taking defence statements
If you are aware of the identity of Crown witnesses material to the defence and you can show urgency, you may take statements from those witnesses before receiving the copy Crown statements. We would normally expect you to wait until the 28 days pass.
Once you have seen the copy Crown statements or if, after 28 days, the Crown has not produced copy statements, you can take statements (subject to the guidance set out in this pamphlet).
These arrangements also apply where the Crown informs you that the provision of copy statements will be delayed for a specific period beyond the 28 days.
You do not need our prior approval to take statements from a Crown witness considered to be material to the defence, unless this could involve unusual work or unusually large expenditure.
Statements in multiple accused cases
In cases involving more than one accused, where possible you should avoid taking multiple statements from material civilian witnesses unless this is absolutely essential in the interests of justice and of the accused.
You should liaise with other solicitors to ensure that they do not take statements from a witness unnecessarily.
Similarly, solicitors should liaise where they are taking statements from police, HM Revenue and Customs or Scottish Drug Enforcement Agency officers giving generic advice not directed at a single accused person.