Pre-trial procedure

Early Administrative Hearing

  • In order to prevent unnecessary delays, the first hearing is now an early administrative hearing (EAH)
  • EAH can be dealt with by single-lay magistrate or even by the clerk of the court.
  • Aimed at discovering if defendant wants to apply for legal aid, and deciding whether he is eligible for it.
  • Also to decide whether defendant should be remanded in custody.
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Plea and Case Management Hearing

  • Under the Criminal Procedure Rules, most cases sent to Crown Court are dealt with first at a Plea and Case Management Hearing (PCMH).
  • First purpose is to find out whether the defendant is pleading guilty or not (a process called arraignment)
  • All of the charges on the indictment are read out to the defendant in open court 
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Plea Before Venue

  • This applies only to triable either way offences.
  • Under this procedure, the defendant is asked whether he pleads guilty or not guilty.
  • If he pleads guilty, then the defendant has no right to ask for the case to be heard at Crown Court.
  • However, Magistrates may decide to send the defendant to Crown for sentencing.
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