Specialist criminal defence lawyers
The Magistrates’ Court is the starting point for all prosecutions whether for offences such as criminal damage and theft or for much more serious matters. At Olliers we have a vastly experienced team of advocates representing people in Magistrates’ Courts across the North West, and further afield, on a daily basis. If you have been charged with a criminal offence or have received a requisition to attend a Magistrates’ Court please do not hesitate to get in touch with us at Olliers so that we can explain how we can assist you.
As far as Magistrates’ Court proceedings are concerned more than 95% of all criminal cases start and finish there.
What types of cases are dealt with at the Magistrates’ Court?
Cases are classified largely according to seriousness.
Summary offences can only be dealt with there and these include common assault and the majority of public order matters and motoring offences.
Either way offences
Either way offences all start in the Magistrates’ Court and at an early stage the court will decide whether the case ought to remain there or whether it ought to be allocated to the Crown Court for hearing. These cases include most assaults, dishonesty offences and drugs matters. In some instances, either way matters may be dealt with up to trial in the Magistrates’ Court and then committed to the Crown Court for sentencing.
Indictable only offences
Indictable only offences include the most serious of matters such as robbery and conspiracy to commit offences. People charged with these offences will appear in the Magistrates’ Court for a first hearing and their matters will then be transferred to the Crown Court. Even in these cases, decisions may be made in the Magistrates’ Court in respect of issues relating to bail and pleas.
Sentencing at the Magistrates’ Court
Watch David Philpott discussing sentencing in the Magistrates’ Court.
What happens at a Magistrates’ Court hearing?
Hearings in the Magistrates Court take place before either a District Judge or two or three magistrates. More so than ever, at virtually every hearing important decisions are now made. The Criminal Procedure Rules mean that the court will usually deal with case management issues at the outset and often make binding decisions about the conduct of the case. The sentencing guidelines, that the court must have regard to, highlight the importance of entering the correct plea to an allegation at the very earliest hearing.
Do I need a solicitor?
If you have been charged with a criminal offence or have received a requisition to appear at court it is essential that you seek legal advice as soon as possible. At Olliers we are very well aware that appearing before the court can be a daunting prospect whatever the nature of the allegation that a person faces. We like to have contact with people at the earliest stage so that all aspects of a case can be reviewed and our clients be as fully advised as possible from the outset of case.
Contact our Magistrates’ Court team
If you require advice and representation in connection with Magistrates’ Court proceedings please contact us.