Criminal Courts

Classification of offences

Two Main Criminal Courts + Youth Court

Advantages Disadvantages


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Classification of Offences

Classification of Offences.

  • Triable Either Way - Middle Range of Crimes
  • Theft, ABH, Burglary
  • Guilty plea = heard in magistrates
  • Magistrates can send the case to Crown Court for sentencing
  • Not guilty = Mode of trail, accept or deny the jurisdiction.
  • If they accept the jurisdiction, D can chose trail by jury or magistrates
  • Summary Offences - Least Serious
  • Driving offences, criminal damage under £5,000
  • Indictable - Most Serious Crimes
  • Murder, Manslaughter, Rape, Robbery.
  • First administrative hearing in Magistrates
  • Transferred to Crown Court
  • Jury listen to evidence and jurdge decides verdict.
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Criminal Courts And Youth Court

Magistrates Court -

  • Tries all summary and any triable either way cases accepted.
  • 90% of defendents plead guilty.
  • Three magistrates decide the verdict and sentence.
  • Maximum of 12 months imprisonment.
  • transfers indictable offences to Crown Court.

Crown Court -

  • Tries all indictable cases and those triable either way sent to Crown Court
  • Jury decides the verdict and Judge decides the sentence
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Advantages and Disadvantages

Magistrates Court -

  • Trials are quicker and cheaper.
  • Less publicity.
  • Lesser sentences, but can be sent to crown court for sentencing.
  • greater chance of convictions.

Crown Court -

  • Trials take longer and are more expensive
  • greater chance of acquittal
  • better legal representation.
  • if convicted, more likely to get a higher sentence.
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Reasons to chose a court

Magistrates Court-

  • Dealt with more quickly
  • lower penalties
  • less publicity
  • less daunting than the crown court
  • but much higher chance of being convicted (80%)

Crown Court -

  • Lower conviction rate ( 40%)
  • Juries less case hardened, believe D
  • Legal funding for representation
  • Better advocates
  • Long wait for a trail and penalties are higher
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