• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Describe the process by which it is decided where a trial will take place. [18 marks]

Extracts from this document...


Describe the process by which it is decided where a trial will take place. [18] The purpose of a pre-trial procedure is to allow the Magistrates Court to decide where a trial will take place. The most important factors which influence this decision are the seriousness of D’s crime and his plea. The seriousness of a crime can be assessed by considering the type of offence with which D is charged. A summary offence is triable only in the Magistrates Court in the presence of either three lay magistrates and a legal advisor, or one district judge. Crimes such as common assault and common battery would be categorised as summary offences which carry a maximum of a 6 month custodial sentence or maximum fine of £5,000 (or £20,000 for a business). An indictable offence is one which can only be tried in the Crown Court and includes offences such as rape, manslaughter and robbery. A Crown Court judge can impose up to the statutory maximum for any offence, or impose an unlimited sentence at his discretion for common law offences. For example, the maximum sentence for statutory theft is 7 years under the Theft Act 1968. ...read more.


When a Magistrates Court decides whether to accept jurisdiction, they will take into account things such as the nature of the case, the seriousness of the offence, whether their sentencing powers are sufficient, and under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 they can consider D’s previous convictions. D can refuse a summary trial at the Magistrates Court and instead opt for a trial by jury in the Crown Court instead. The Magistrates Court may completely refuse to accept jurisdiction if D’s charge is gang related or derives from a breach of peace. Furthermore, if the Director of Public Prosecutions or the Attorney General wishes to have the case tried in the Crown Court, D has no choice but to adhere. Whilst increasingly uncommon, a mode of trial hearing becomes ineffective if D pursues a cracked trial, whereby D changes his plea ‘at the doors of the court’ Tim has been charged with criminal damage to the value of £10,000 at a children’s playground. Discuss what Tim would want to consider in deciding which court his case will be heard in. [12] Tim potentially has a choice of which court he wants his case to be heard at because criminal damage is a triable either way offence. ...read more.


In a Magistrates Court there would be either 3 lay magistrates and a legal advisor, or one district judge. In comparison, in the Crown Court there is much better legal representation since a fully qualified judge decides all matters of law, interpretation and what would be Tim?s ultimate sentence. In a jury there are 12 lay people who decide on matters of fact and so this could work in Tim?s favour as they may argue his case better than in the Magistrates Court. However, this can be expensive (if Tim is convicted he may have to pay part of the cost of his trial) and time consuming (some Crown Court trials can take up to 18 months), and it could also lead to a more severe sentence. This is because the Crown Court have unlimited powers unless there is a maximum in the statute, which would be 10 years in Tim?s case for criminal damage. To conclude, Tim should opt for the Magistrates Court to hear his case over the Crown Court because whilst he has less legal representation and is more likely to be convicted, the Magistrates Court powers would give him a much more lenient sentence for the nature of his crime in comparison to what the Crown Court could sentence him to. Sasha Groves ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Machinery of Justice section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Machinery of Justice essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    ‘Trial by jury is outdated, expensive and ineffective in ensuring justice’ Analyse arguments for ...

    4 star(s)

    It is believed this would create a saving of �128 million annually, removing fourteen thousand cases from the dockets of the Crown Courts (Cavadino & Dignan, 2002:91).


    The Code of Practice elaborates on this requirement. There must be some concrete basis for the officer's belief, related to you personally, which can be considered and evaluated by an objective third person. Mere suspicion based on hunch or instinct might justify observation but cannot justify a search.

  1. What Impact will Formalising Plea Bargaining have on Justice and Equality in the English ...

    plea would avoid cracked trials, would allow for faster sentencing and would reduce the number of cases heard in the Crown Court. These benefits would save costs and court time. However, shorter custodial sentences can result in prison overcrowding and prevents prisons from undertaking positive remedial work with more serious offenders.

  2. Describe trial by jury within the English legal system. How effective is trial by ...

    The jury then returned a verdict of guilty, but the defendant conviction was quashed on appeal because of the judge's interference. The judge must also accept the jury verdict, even if he/she does not agree with it. Juries sometimes make extraordinary decisions e.g.

  1. Notes on Sentencing in British courts

    o Present himself at time and place. o Attend attendance centre. o Avoid centre places. o Comply with education arrangements. o Make reparation. Fines o 10-13 �250, 14-17 �1000, 18 normal magistrates �5000. Reparation Orders o 18- not in conjunction with custodial, community, combination, supervision or action plan order. o To persons who were victims or affected.

  2. What justification was there for Socrates' trial, verdict and death sentence?

    This could either show that Anytus despised of Socrates for personal reasons, or it could be taken as proof that his ways of philosophising were truly teaching the young to break up moral values, such as questioning parents in society.

  1. Explain the ranges of sentences available to the judge or magistrate.

    The concept of just deserts has attracted criticism, as there is the suspicion that "the idea of desert cannot be distinguished from a principle of vengeance or the unappealing assertion that two wrongs somehow make a right." Although, there are two main advantages to desert based punishment.

  2. Describe with the aid of examples, the authorities, representative bodies or persons that exercise ...

    in full within a period specified in the declaration, which period shall not exceed twelve months from the date of the dissolution. This declaration must be delivered to the Registrar of Companies within fourteen days after the winding up resolution is passed together with a copy of the resolution.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work