Follow the links below to further information on Crown Court Trial.


Criminal Procedure Rules and Criminal Practice Directions

Much of criminal procedure in the criminal courts is governed by the Criminal Procedure Rules and Criminal Practice Directions.  Criminal Procedure Rules Part 25 sets out the procedure for trial in the Crown Court and CRIMINAL PRACTICE DIRECTIONS VI TRIAL contains further procedural information.  You can find both of these documents here.

Instructions to the Jury - The Crown Court Compendium

Instructions from the Judge to the Jury (Preliminary Instructions and Summing-Up) can be found in the The Crown Court Compendium - Part I: Jury and Trial Management and Summing Up.  This is a detailed and helpful document encompassing the fundamental directions to juries during trial at the Crown Court.  Criminal Procedure Rules Part 26 contains procedural information about directing the jury.  

Memory refreshing 

Memory refreshing by a witness is governed by s.139 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003.  

The restriction on cross-examination about the previous sexual behaviour of a complainant 

In a case involving an allegation of a sexual nature this restriction is contained in section 41 of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999.  Further information on this issues is also available on the Crown Prosecution Service website.  The procedure for seeking leave to ask questions or introduce evidence about a complainant’s sexual history is contained in Part 22 of the Criminal Procedure Rules.

Applications for special measures to assist witnesses giving evidence 

These are governed by Part 18 of the Criminal Procedure Rules. See also Part II Chapter I of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999.  Applications for special measures may be made for both prosecution and defence witnesses.

Submissions of No Case to Answer 

Submissions of no case to answer are governed by Criminal Procedure Rules Part 25.9(2)(e) and (3) which set out the procedure as follows: 

25.9(2)(e) subject to paragraph (3), at the end of the prosecution evidence, on the defendant’s application or on its own initiative, the court—

(i) may direct the jury (if there is one) to acquit on the ground that the prosecution evidence is insufficient for any reasonable court properly to convict, but (ii) must not do so unless the prosecutor has had an opportunity to make representations;

(3) Paragraph (2)(e) does not apply in relation to a charge of murder, manslaughter, attempted murder, or causing harm contrary to section 18 or 20 of the Offences against the Person Act 1861(a) until the court has heard all the evidence (including any defence evidence), where the defendant is charged with— (a) any of those offences; and (b) an offence of causing or allowing a child or vulnerable adult to die or to suffer serious physical harm, contrary to section 5 of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004.

This test in Part 25.9(2)(e) comes from (and is amplified by) the test set out by the Court of Appeal in the case of R v Galbraith 73 Cr.App.R.124 as follows:

(1) If there is no evidence that the crime alleged has been committed by the defendant, there is no difficulty - the judge will stop the case. (2) The difficulty arises where there is some evidence but it is of a tenuous character, for example because of inherent weakness or vagueness or because it is inconsistent with other evidence. (a) Where the judge comes to the conclusion that the prosecution evidence, taken at its highest, is such that a jury properly directed could not properly convict upon it, it is his duty, upon a submission being made, to stop the case. (b) Where however the prosecution evidence is such that its strength or weakness depends on the view to be taken of a witness's reliability or other matters which are generally speaking within the province of the jury and where on one possible view of the facts there is evidence upon which a jury could properly come to the conclusion that the defendant is guilty, then the judge should allow the matter to be tried by the jury. 

Read further about submissions of no case to answer here (England and Wales section).

Adverse inferences

Section 35 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 contains the adverse inference rule in the ‘A Warning to the Defendant’ section in Crown Court Trial Part 2.  It is worth noting that an adverse inference should not be drawn if it appears to the court that the physical or mental condition of the accused makes it undesirable for him to give evidence (section 35(1)(b)).  Also, even where an adverse inference is drawn against a defendant, a defendant cannot be convicted solely or mainly due to the adverse inference (see s.38 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 and the case of Murray v United Kingdom (1996) 22 EHRR 29).

Bad character applications 

These are governed by Part 21 of the Criminal Procedure Rules and, principally, sections 98 to 106 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003.  

Majority Verdicts

The Juries Act 1974, section 17(4) requires a jury to have deliberated for 2 hours or more before a majority verdict can be given.  In practice, a minimum of 2 hours and 10 minutes must elapse before the jury are given a majority direction, after which they are entitled to return a majority verdict – see Criminal Practice Directions VI Trial 26Q. | Surviving the Criminal Courts