The British Criminal Court System

1914 Words Oct 13th, 2015 8 Pages
The British criminal court system, also known as the senior courts, contains many differences to that of the courts in America. In less serious criminal trials, which contain 90% of criminal cases, the case is sent for a summary trial in 1 of over 400 magistrate courts. A summary trial is a trial with no committal and no jury. The trial is before a bench of magistrates. Most of the time there are three magistrates who are considered “lay” persons. This means that they are not professional judges or lawyers but simply are persons from the local community. Recently however, there has been an increased number of stipendiary magistrates. These are paid magistrates who are qualified lawyers. If one wished to appeal their case, it would then go to what is known as Crown Court. From Crown Court it would then go to the High Court and then potentially go to The Criminal Division of The Court of Appeal or even the Supreme Court (Magistrates Court). The Crown Court is itself a separate court entity. There are 77 Crown Court centers across England and Wales. These courts deal with serious criminal cases only. There are a few different ways in which a case would reach the level of The Crown Court. The first of which are known as “indictable only” offenses. These can only be heard by the Crown Court and can be sent up from Magistrate Court. There are also what are called “Either Way” offences which can be heard in Magistrates Court but will be sent to the Crown Court if the…
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