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Magistrates Court

The magistrates court is where all cases commence. You appear either having been formally charged or by receiving a written summons in the post.

Although you are told that you must be there at a certain time, you may have to await your turn for the case to be called on  because they ask for a large number of defendants to be there at the same time.

Before you are  called into court we will have an opportunity to discuss the case against you. The prosecution should provide us with a bundle of papers  which we will have an opportunity to discuss with you and advise how you should plead. We will advise you if the case is one that can only be dealt with in The Magistrate’s court or can be heard in the Crown Court. We will advise you if you have a choice which court you wish to be tried in.

If you plead guilty The Magistrates will either decide to pass the sentence straight away, adjourn for a report to help them decide what to do or send your case to the crown court. The word “sentence” covers all types of penalty that the court could impose.

If you plead not guilty you will either be given a trial date for you to come back to court for the evidence to be heard or a  decision will be made whether the case should go to the Crown Court for trial.  If the case is one that is capable of being tried in the /Crown Court , you may be asked whether you would prefer to be tried by Magistrates’ or a Judge ad Jury.

After you have pleaded not guilty we will use this time to prepare for your case, examine the evidence and interview witnesses. We will visit the crime scene if necessary and instruct forensic experts to help challenge the evidence.

The lay out of the inside of the court varies. Not all courts have the Judge or Magistrates sitting loftily above everyone else. In fact in most modern magistrates curt we are all on the same level. 

Some offences, such as Murder, Robbery, Kidnapping and Black mail can only be tried in the Crown Court and neither you nor the Magistrates have a choice.