British Courts for Criminal Cases

Updated on Thursday 15th November 2018

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The UK is comprised of three distinct legal jurisdictions, each with its own laws and hierarchy of courts: England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. England and Wales constitute a common law jurisdiction. The criminal courts in England and Wales are as follows:

1.    The Magistrates’ Court

It represents the lowest court in the British jurisdiction for criminal cases. Magistrates, also called Justices of Peace, are represented by laypersons named by the Sovereign. The court is usually contained of two or three magistrates without a jury, or in certain metropolitan areas like London, the cases are conducted by a District Judge. This type of court hears offences which are less serious (“summary” offences) which can be punished with six months or less of imprisonment. These offences can be:

•    monitoring offences;
•    minor criminal damage;
•    if an individual is drunk and disordered.

The magistrates’ court also deals with more severe offences (“either way” offences), such as:

•    burglary;
•    drugs offences.

We invite you to take a look at our video presentation and have an idea about the British courts for criminal cases


2.    The Crown Court

This British court deals with severe criminal cases. The Crown Court is comprised of a judge and twelve jury persons. The jury decides whether the defendant is guilty or not and the judge decides the sentence for the person brought on trial if he or she is found guilty. The Crown Court deals with offences such as:

•    murder;
•    rape;
•    robbery;

The defendant can also select to have certain summary offences referred from the magistrates’ court to the Crown Court, if they want their case to be trialed before a jury.

The Crown Court also deals with appeals from magistrates’ court. Our team of criminal solicitors in London can legally assist you during the entire trial so that you get the most profitable outcome for your own case.

3.    Youth Courts

There is a special category of magistrates’ courts for young individuals aged between 10 and 17. A youth court is comprised of three magistrates or a district judge. These types of courts do not have a jury. A youth court deals with offences such as:

•    burglary and theft;
•    anti-social conduct;
•    drug offences.

In case you need defence in front of a British court for a criminal case, our solicitors in London can legally represent you and help you along the entire trial. We invite you to get in touch with our team of criminal defence solicitors in London.