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Information about the Crown Court

By: Dave Howell - Updated: 22 Sep 2020 | comments*Discuss
 
Crown Court Courts Act 1971 The Old

Crown Courts exist in England and Wales. The Crown Court hears serious criminal cases such as rape and murder. You will often find that the Crown Court and county court are in the same building. The Courts Act 1971 established the Crown Court system in 1972.

Cases can be referred from other courts such as a magistrates’ court or even a youth court if the offences are serious enough. In civil cases the High Court has the same powers as the Crown Court. Trials in the Crown Court sit before a judge and a jury. The Old Bailey is a good example of a Crown Court and is also known as the Central Criminal Court. You can locate a Crown Court in your area on the HMCS website.

Duties of the Crown Court

The Crown Court has four basic duties:
  • To try cases of serious offences.
  • To hear appeals from magistrates’ courts.
  • To sentence defendants from magistrates’ courts.
  • To carry out jury trials.

Crown Courts in Scotland

In Scotland the High Court of Justiciary is similar to the Crown Court in the rest of the UK in that it handles cases where serious crimes have been committed. A jury in Scotland consists of 15 people and not the usual 12 as in Crown Court trials in the rest of the UK.

Crown Courts in Northern Ireland

The legal system in Northern Ireland is slightly different to that in England and Wales, but a Crown Court does exist and as in the England and Wales, handles serious crimes that a jury will be required to reach a verdict on.

How a Crown Court operates

The layout of a Crown Court will be familiar to you as this kind of court is often used in television programs that feature a court case. A judge will sit on a raised platform at one end of the courtroom. The judge is usually addressed as ‘your honour’. When the judge enters the courtroom everyone stands.

The clerk of the court sits in front of the judge’s bench facing the court. The clerk is usually the only person that can pass messages from the jury to the judge. The clerk is also in contact with other parts of the court building. The court will also include a sound recordist. All Crown Court cases are recorded just in case the trial goes to appeal.

The court will also have a reporter. This isn’t a member of the press, but the person that usually operates the stenograph that make a written recording of everything that is said in the courtroom.

A court usher will also be in the courtroom. It’s their job to pass any documents around the court. The barristers for the prosecution and the defence will also be in the courtroom. They stand whenever they are addressing the courtroom in general, the judge or the jury.

Behind the barristers will sit any supporting solicitors. These could be from the Crown Prosecution Service or police officers that are involved with the case being heard also sit here. The jury for the trial sits in a specific area usually near the defending barrister. Opposite the jury is the witness box.

The defendants sit in a dock with a custody officer near them. Behind the defendant is usually a small area for the public. Journalists must sit in a designated area especially for them. Outside of the courtroom itself is a smaller room where the jury retire to consider their verdict.

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[Add a Comment]
I’m working on a TV show at the minute and wondered if the judge and barristers would have laptops or just paperwork?
Charlie - 22-Sep-20 @ 11:40 AM
Both me and my ex are in breach of our court order she is the one with the children,she has legal aid and I recvied an email from here solicitor saying she has temporarily suspended my contact, as she has bled me dry I can't afford a solicitor, can here solicitorno this? Not had anything in writing just that email please help not spoke or seen my kids for 3 weeks
Deano - 2-Feb-17 @ 9:22 PM
Hello. I would like to ask, 'In what situation would a crown court have 3 judges sitting, instead of a jury?'. The reason I ask, is that I appealed a decision in a magistrates court, and asked to be tried by jury. Unforunately, I feel as though I was tried in a secret court, as there were 3 judges, and no jury,and as I had to represent myself, I was not treated fairly. There was no audio recordist, and the lady taking notes was not the brightest of people. The end result was abismal. I won the case, but my record states that I was found guilty. Your advice would be kindly appreciated. Thanks.
Huxley11 - 1-Feb-16 @ 12:37 PM
Rafi - Your Question:
I sponsored for family reunion visa in April,2015. My +18 children were not given visa and applied the appeal after refusal in June 2015. The First Tier Tribunal gave date deadline till November,2015. Hearing date is still awaited. How long it would take for hearing date.

Our Response:
We can't specify as we do not have this information. It was reported late last year in the Law Gazette that courts were struggling to deal with the mounting workload for immigration appeal hearings, with delays lasting up to nine months and urgent cases given priority. Whether this information still stands we cannot say.
CourtroomAdvice - 6-Jan-16 @ 10:36 AM
I sponsored for family reunion visa in April,2015. My +18 children were not given visa and applied the appeal after refusal in June 2015. The First Tier Tribunal gave date deadline till November,2015. Hearing date is still awaited. How long it would take for hearing date.
Rafi - 5-Jan-16 @ 10:59 AM
That picture of the woman in the top right corner is making me so horny. She can be my naughty girl any day.
Nasa Efthimaidis - 18-Sep-12 @ 4:14 PM
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