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There are three types of cases Summary only matters which can only be heard in the Magistrates Court, Either way matters which can be heard in either the Magistrates or Crown Court and Indictable only matters which can only be heard at the Crown Court.
All criminal cases however must have a first appearance at the Magistrates’ Court. We will be able to advise you regarding the strength of the evidence against you, your plea and where your case should be heard.
The case will be heard by either 3 magistrates or a district judge We have an experienced team of solicitors who attend the Magistrates Court on a daily basis to advise clients on plea, make bail applications, conduct trials and deal with sentences.
Typical cases dealt with in the Magistrates Court on a daily basis are criminal damage, low level theft, possession of cannabis, assault, public order offences and driving matters.
Legal aid can be obtained to cover the cost of a case at the Magistrates Court depending on the type of case and a clients income. It is helpful to contact us prior to the first hearing so that an application can be submitted as the courts will not adjourn a case simply for this to be done.
If you have been charged with an offence your case will be sent to the youth court The youth court is a special type of magistrates’ court for people aged between 10 and 17. Your parent or guardian should come with you.
A youth court is still heard by either 3 magistrates or a district judge however the court is less formal than an adult court. You are called by your first name and members of the public are not allowed in to the court (unless they get permission). The Court will also consider different sentences to those who appear for the same offence as an adult.
Most cases will be dealt with in the youth court such as criminal damage, theft, burglary, drug offences. If you are jointly charged with an adult your case will be heard before the magistrates Court with the adult. For serious crimes, like murder or rape, the case starts in the youth court but will be passed to a Crown Court.