Crown Court Proceedings

Crown Court Proceedings

REPRESENTATION IN THE CROWN COURT
In order to be allowed to represent someone for most types of hearing in the Crown Court, a lawyer must be an advocate with ‘higher rights of audience’.  In the past, only barristers were allowed to have higher rights of audience but now solicitors are allowed them as well.  A solicitor who has higher rights of audience is called a ‘solicitor-advocate’.  The only types of Crown Court hearing where someone who does not have higher rights of audience is allowed to represent someone; bail applications to a judge in chambers; cases where the magistrates have sent a defendant for sentence only; preliminary hearings in indictable only cases; and certain appeals from the Magistrates’ Court.  All other types of case, especially those where there is going to be a trial, will need to have a specialist advocate with higher rights.

Your lawyer will advise you in more detail about the pros and cons of your options for representation at the Crown Court but the ultimate decision is yours.  Many firms have solicitor-advocates in-house but if you want to have a barrister, then this will be arranged this for you.

LISTING OF CASES
The listing of cases in the Crown Court is often less certain than it is in the Magistrates’ Court.  For most Crown Court trials, the court will not give a fixed date on which the trial will start.  Instead, the court operates a ‘Warned List’ system.   This means that you will be told the period in which your trial will be heard but not the exact date.  For example, a case could be in the Warned List for the 4 weeks starting on Monday 8th October 2012 and the trial actually start on Monday 29th October 2012.  In this example, the court would probably have called your solicitors on the afternoon of Friday 26th October 2012 to tell them that the case was listed.  However, your case could just as easily be listed to start on a Wednesday morning and they would only be told on Tuesday afternoon.  It is therefore very important that whilst your case is in a warned list you telephone your solicitors every week-day between 4pm and 5pm to check whether your case has been listed for the following week-day.

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