Crown Court

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The Crown Court is the English court that tries and sentences serious criminal offenses (the less serious offenses are handled by the Magistrates' Court).

  • The Crown Court is a national court.
  • There are generally three types of Judges who sit in the Crown Court - High Court judges, Circuit Court judges or Recorders.
    • High Court judges hear about 2 to 3 percent of cases. Circuit Court judges hear the most number of cases. The rest are heard by Recorders and Assistant Recorders.
  • A Jury would be appointed to determine guilt and innocence.
  • UK Criminal Justice Act 1967 states that if a Jury consists of 11 or more Jurors, unanimity of 10 judges is required to convict (9 in case there are 10 jurors).
  • The Crown Court could send any matter back to Magistrates' Court or do anything that the Magistrates' Court would have done, including upward or downward revision of sentence.
  • Appeals to the Crown Court would be on Question of law. An alternative route to appeal is to go to the Divisional Court for a Judicial review.
  • Appeals from Crown Court would go to Court of Appeal. An appeal here could be on the conviction or the sentence imposed.

Historical development

The Crown Court system was introduced in 1971 by combining Assizes and Quarter Sessions.