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Chapter

Cover Criminal Justice

5. Courts and the trial process  

Steven Cammiss

This chapter first considers the functions of the courts and questions whether there are other, more symbolic functions at play than finding the truth. It then outlines the court system, looking to both magistrates' courts and the Crown Court, and explores the composition of both courts, the types of cases that they deal with, and their role. To examine a particular decision made within the criminal courts, the chapter looks at the mode of trial decision. It concludes by asking whether the reality of the courts lives up to the rhetoric of trial by jury as the pinnacle of due process protections.

Chapter

Cover The English Legal System

6. The Structure of the Courts  

This chapter discusses the organization of the modern court structure and what each court does. The courts in England and Wales (i.e. excluding the Supreme Court which is a UK court) are administered by a single agency, HM Courts and Tribunals Service. The courts of original jurisdiction (i.e. which hear trials of first instance) are ordinarily the magistrates’ court, county court, Crown Court, and High Court although they have now been joined by the Family Court. The Crown Court and High Court have both an original and appellate jurisdiction. The High Court is divided into three divisions (King’s Bench Division, Chancery Division, and Family Division) and when two or more judges sit together in the High Court it is known as a Divisional Court. The chapter also briefly describes the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Court of Protection, and coroners’ courts.

Chapter

Cover The English Legal System

14. Those in Court  

Alisdair A. Gillespie and Siobhan Weare

This chapter focuses on the people who are present during criminal trials. It considers those in summary trials in magistrates’ court (magistrates, justices’ clerks/legal advisors, lawyers, and the defendant). It also considers those who are present in the Crown Court during a trial on indictment (the judge, the jury, lawyers, court clerks, the stenographer, the usher, and the defendant). The chapter also explores how lawyers for the defence are funded under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.

Chapter

Cover The English Legal System

15. The Trials  

Alisdair A. Gillespie and Siobhan Weare

This chapter examines the trial process and identifies the differences between summary trials and trials on indictment. It details who is in court, what their role should be, and how they reach their various decisions. The discussions cover the prosecution case, the defence case, closing speeches, judicial summing up, reaching the verdict, and youth trials.

Chapter

Cover The English Legal System

14. Those in Court  

This chapter focuses on the people who are present during criminal trials. It considers those in summary trials in magistrates’ court (magistrates, justices’ clerks/legal advisors, lawyers, and the defendant). It also considers those who are present in the Crown Court during a trial on indictment (the judge, the jury, lawyers, court clerks, the stenographer, the usher, and the defendant). The chapter then explores how lawyers for the defence are funded under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.

Chapter

Cover The English Legal System

15. The Trials  

This chapter examines the trial process and identifies the differences between summary trials and trials on indictment. It details who is in court, what their role should be, and how they reach their various decisions. The discussions cover the prosecution case, the defence case, closing speeches, judicial summing-up, reaching a verdict, and youth trials.

Chapter

Cover Cases and Materials on Constitutional and Administrative Law

5. The Royal Prerogative and Constitutional Conventions  

This chapter reviews the royal prerogative and constitutional conventions, and the relationship between these two sources of constitutional rules. The first section identifies the various types of prerogative power and explores recent examples where these such powers have been placed on a statutory basis, as well as proposals to reverse this process, such as by repealing the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 and reviving the royal prerogative. It also examines attempts to codify constitutional practice, including the Crown’s personal prerogative of the appointment of the Prime Minister in the Cabinet Manual, and the interaction between prerogative and statute in the courts. The second section of the chapter explores constitutional conventions as a source of the constitution, their relationship with law, and their nature as rules of political behaviour. It considers the treatment of conventions in the courts, whether they can obtain legal force, and the feasibility and desirability of codifying conventions. The important connections between the royal prerogative and constitutional conventions are analysed at various points throughout the chapter.

Chapter

Cover The English Legal System

6. The Structure of the Courts  

Alisdair A. Gillespie and Siobhan Weare

This chapter discusses the organization of the modern court structure and what each court does. The courts in England and Wales (i.e. excluding the Supreme Court which is a UK court) are administered by a single agency, HM Courts and Tribunal Service. The courts of original jurisdiction (i.e. which hear trials of first instance) are ordinarily the magistrates’ court, county court, Crown Court, and High Court although they have now been joined by the Family Court. The Crown Court and High Court have both an original and appellate jurisdiction. The High Court is divided into three divisions (Queen’s Bench Division, Chancery Division, and Family Division) and when two or more judges sit together in the High Court it is known as a Divisional Court. The chapter also briefly describes the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Court of Protection, and Coroner’s Courts.

Chapter

Cover The English Legal System

13. Pre-Trial Matters  

Alisdair A. Gillespie and Siobhan Weare

This chapter on the criminal justice system focuses on preliminary issues, i.e. some of the issues that take place before trial begins. A prosecution begins at the earliest stage through a defendant being charged by the police but under the authority of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). The CPS must then review the decision to prosecute, which requires the CPS to have reference to two prosecution tests (evidential and public interest tests). The CPS has the ability to issue out of court disposals in appropriate cases as alternatives to prosecution. If a prosecution does take place it is necessary to identify in which court the proceedings will be heard. Crimes are divided into three categories: summary, indictable-only, and either-way. Criminal matters are heard in the magistrates’ court and the Crown Court and the categorization of offences has an impact on where the matter should be heard.

Chapter

Cover The English Legal System

13. Pre-Trial Matters  

This chapter on the criminal justice system focuses on preliminary issues, i.e. some of the issues that take place before trial begins. A prosecution begins at the earliest stage through a defendant being charged by the police but under the authority of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). The CPS must then review the decision to prosecute, which requires the CPS to have reference to two prosecution tests (evidential and public interest tests). The CPS has the ability to issue out-of-court disposals in appropriate cases as alternatives to prosecution. If a prosecution does take place, it is necessary to identify in which court the proceedings will be heard. Crimes are divided into three categories: summary, indictable-only, and either-way. Criminal matters are heard in the magistrates’ court and the Crown Court and the categorization of offences has an impact on where the matter should be heard.

Chapter

Cover English Legal System

12. The criminal process: Pre-trial and trial  

This chapter explains what happens once a person has been charged with a criminal offence. Whether a case remains in the magistrates’ court or is sent to the Crown Court depends on whether the offence is ‘summary only’, ‘indictable only’, or ‘triable either way’. Summary trial takes place before a district judge or bench of lay justices in the magistrates’ court. Trial on indictment takes place before a jury in the Crown Court. Criminal proceedings are governed by the Criminal Procedure Rules (CrimPR). The overriding objective is to deal with cases justly, including acquitting the innocent and convicting the guilty. The chapter considers those parts of the CrimPR that set out the steps to be taken before a trial in both the magistrates’ court and the Crown Court. It explores key evidential and procedural rules that apply at trial, such as the rule that the prosecution must prove a defendant’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

Chapter

Cover The Modern Law of Evidence

8. Cross-examination and re-examination  

This chapter first discusses cross-examination, the questioning of a witness immediately after his examination-in-chief by the legal representative of the opponent of the party calling him, or by the opposing party in person, and by the legal representative of any other party to the proceedings or by any other party in person. The object of cross-examination is to elicit evidence which supports the cross-examining party’s version of the facts in issue and to cast doubt upon the witness’s evidence-in-chief. It then turns to re-examination. A witness who has been cross-examined may be re-examined by the party who called him. The object of re-examination is to repair damage that has been done by cross-examination.

Chapter

Cover Criminology

20. The criminal justice system  

Steve Uglow

This chapter, which examines the role of the criminal justice system in England and Wales, begins with a short overview of the system as a whole, followed by individual sections on its main components. These include the police, the Crown Prosecution Service, the courts, the sentencing and the correctional system, the youth justice system, and the right of appeal.

Chapter

Cover The Criminal Process

11. The trial  

This chapter focuses on the criminal trial itself which is the focal point of criminal procedure. The rules governing trials therefore shape the decisions made by the police and prosecutors. The trial remains important because defendants’ decisions on whether or not to plead guilty are often informed by what they believe to be the probability of conviction. The chapter considers the courtroom processes and raises questions about the roles of judge and jury. The chapter also discusses the modes of trial; the Crown Court trial; and confrontation and the protection of witnesses all of which are closely connected to issues of procedural fairness.

Chapter

Cover Complete Public Law

6. The Crown and Royal Prerogative  

Titles in the Complete series combine extracts from a wide range of primary materials with clear explanatory text to provide readers with a complete introductory resource. The royal prerogative is a special form of common law that may be exercised by the Crown, either through the Queen as monarch (her personal prerogative) or through the executive as Her Majesty’s government (the political prerogative). This chapter begins by tracing the history and development of the royal prerogative and the role of the Crown in the exercise of these powers, and then addresses the division between prerogative powers that are personally exercised by the Queen and those that are exercised on her behalf by the political executive. Next, it turns to the respective roles of Parliament and the courts in the operation and development of prerogative powers, considering the relevance of those powers today and proposals for reform, in part, in the context of the case study on the use of the royal prerogative to trigger article 50 to begin the process of withdrawal from the European Union (EU), as well as the government’s advice to the monarch to prorogue Parliament in the run up to the UK’s exit from the EU.

Chapter

Cover The Oxford Textbook on Criminology

24. Criminal justice institutions  

This chapter explores the criminal justice institutions. In practice, the criminal justice system contains five distinct institutions that are responsible for delivering justice: the police, the Crown Prosecution Service (known as the CPS), the courts, probation providers, and prisons. Although they are all part of one overall system, each has different aims, roles, and challenges. Theoretically, the fact that these bodies are all accountable to the separation of powers concept should bring some unity in that it gives Parliament, the independent judiciary, and central government opportunities to shape the system to align with their version of justice. The government can exert considerable influence through the work of the Ministry of Justice or MoJ. The MoJ is currently the most important governmental agency in the criminal justice system, but the larger and more powerful Home Office is also involved to an extent, mainly with the police.