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There are two criminal courts: MAGISTRATES & CROWN
There are three categories of offence: SUMMARY (minor offences, magistrates court, e.g.
speeding), TRIABLE EITHER WAY (neither one nor other, crown or magistrates, e.g. criminal damage)
& INDICTABLE (serious offences, crown, e.g. murder, rape, manslaughter)
Approx 500 Magistrates Courts, in most towns.
Cases heard by a bench of 3 Magistrates (less complex cases) or one District Judge (deals
with more complex cases). Can give a max £5000 fine and 12months imprisonment.
Legal Advisor/Clerk administers the court procedure, advises the magistrate on the law and
does admin duties. They check the defendants name, address, and plea (g or ng). Cannot be
involved in decision making.
Preliminary Hearing: Early Administrative Hearing (all offences) Plea and Name//Plea
before venue and mode of trial (triable either way offences) After pea before venue
transfer to mode of trial.
They can hear/sentence on the following: SUMMARY OFFENCES, TRIABLE EITHER WAY &
YOUTH CASES. They also carry out admin duties such as extension of bail, warrants, etc.
The Youth Court deals with ages 10-17, magistrates who sit here must be specially trained
and there must be a mix of genders. Less formal.
Issue licenses, e.g. alcohol licenses
Civil debts, e.g. enforce council tax
Family matters, e.g. divorce, maintenance
Over 90 Crown Courts, in England and Wales. Country split into circuits, with judges operating
in them. Staffed by H.C. Judge, Circuit Judges and Recorders.
Cases are heard by a JURY (decide decision) and a JUDGE (decide sentence) and a CIRTCUIT
ADMINISTRATOR works closely with the judge, drawing up court lists and checking details.
There are THREE TIERS of the Crown Court 1st, 2nd and 3rd. In the 1st tier all three types of
judges sit here and hear all class (1,2,3,4) of serious offences. Called `Combined Court'. In the
2nd tier all three types of judges sit here and hear cases up to class 2 +3 (rape, manslaughter,
robbery) in cities. In the 3rd tier is it staffed by the Circuit Judges and Recorders, and hear
class 4 (theft) serious offences in cities.
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They can hear: triable either way offences, indictable offences, sentencing for magistrates
and appeals from magistrates.
Triable Either Way Offences
Plea before venue
The defendant is whether he pleads guilty or not guilty. GUILTY = Magistrates Court (however they
can send the defendant to the Crown Court for sentencing if necessary)
Mode of trial
This takes place if the defendant has pleaded NOT GUILTY to a TEW offence and determines whether
the magistrates can hear the case.…read more
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Will be allowed from prosecution or defence in QBD if it involved a POL of general public
Can take place here if it involves an EU matter.
Appeals from the Crown Court
(Magistrates Court > Crown Court > Court of Appeal > House of Lords > ECJ)
To Court of Appeal
Open to prosecution and defence, against the verdict or sentence. Leave to appeal required.
Can reduce sentence but not increase it.…read more