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Outline the Criminal Courts and Appeal System.

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Outline the criminal courts and appeal system. (10 marks)

The courts of first instance in the criminal court hierarchy are the Magistrates’ Court and the Crown Court. The Magistrates’ Court conducts trials of both summary and either-way offences that are to be tried summarily, such as theft, while the Crown Court deals exclusively with serious criminal cases, trying indictable offences such as murder, or either-way offences which are to be tried on indictment, such as theft.

In the event that a party to a case wishes to appeal against the conviction or sentence awarded by the Magistrates’ Court, the case is then heard on appeal by the Crown Court. Cases can also be heard on appeal from the Magistrates’ Court by the High Court (Queen’s Bench Division) by way of case stated on point of law.

Cases heard in either the High Court or Crown Court are all heard on appeal at first by the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) and then to the Supreme Court, which is the final court of appeal available. Appeals from the Crown Court, which are heard by the Court of Appeal, can be due to several grounds, including misdirection of law or facts and jury irregularity. The Court of Appeal has the power to quash convictions or even order a new trial.

Each criminal case is sent to the Magistrates’ Court at first, for either bail hearings to be conducted or plea entry hearings. Where the offence charged is an indictable offence, a Magistrates’ Court will conduct sending for trial hearings where the case is transferred to the Crown Court.

Another criminal court in the system is the Youth Court, which is where magistrates deal with young offenders. This court deals with almost all criminal cases involving young people under the age of…...

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