A Short Guide to the Crown Court for First-Timers

If you've never been to the Crown Court before, it can be a daunting experience. This guide will provide an overview of the process of a typical case in the Crown Court and how you can prepare.

The Crown Court deals with serious criminal cases, such as murder, rape, and robbery. It also deals with appeals against a magistrates' court conviction or sentence, and cases passed from a magistrates' court for trial or sentencing.

A Crown Court normally has a jury, which decides if you're guilty or not (the 'verdict'). The judge decides what punishment (or 'sentence') you get. Your solicitor (if you have one) can explain what happens in court - the judge and court staff will also give instructions about the trial.

You can see what cases a court is hearing each day and check their progress on the court lists.

A Crown Court can give a range of sentences including community sentences and prison sentences - including life sentences. You may be able to appeal against the Crown Court verdict if you disagree with it.

If you're a potential juror, you'll be advised of the names of the witnesses to the case to ensure that none of the jurors has prior knowledge or a close relationship with them - or anyone else who might be close to the case (a relative of a witness, for example).

We hope this guide has provided some helpful information for first-timers at the Crown Court. Remember to ask your solicitor for more information and guidance if you have one.