A guide to the difference criminal courts

Magistrates Court

All prosecutions commence in this court with the emphasis on less serious cases being dealt with. Usually all motoring offences are dealt with in this court together with general minor criminal offences. The more serious cases will often then be transferred to the Crown court. Our experienced solicitors will provide assistance to client's in this court.

The Magistrates Court bench are usually made up of 3 volunteers from the local community who come to the bench with no legal training. They preside over the majority of cases, including trials and sentencing hearings.

During trials they are the finders of guilt and they decide on appropriate sentences, following their written guidelines.

Prior to sentencing hearings our solicitors will discuss the likely sentence with you and then address the Magistrates on your behalf, putting forward your case in order to achieve the best outcome for you.

 

Crown Court

As stated above this court deals with the more serious or complex criminal cases. The major difference from the Magistrates Court is that trials are heard before a judge and jury and that the court has greater sentencing powers. Representation can be offered by our in house solicitor advocates or by suitably experienced and quality assessed barristers.

The Crown Court also hears appeals on sentence or conviction passed down at the Magistrates Courts.  

 

Higher Courts

The Divisional Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court deal with matters on appeal from either the Magistrates Court ( on points of law) and also the Crown Court.