Proactive & professional legal guidance in times of crisis
Where serious criminal cases have been referred to the Crown Court by the Magistrates’ Court, seeking expert legal advice as soon as possible is vital.
Whatever the circumstances or allegations, we believe that everyone has the right to the best possible legal representation. To speak to our expert team, contact us today.
How we can help you
We have a team of specialist case workers, which includes in-house Higher Court Advocates, meaning we are fully-equipped to provide you with support and guidance at this challenging time.
When assisting with matters at the Crown Court, solicitors in our team draw from extensive experience to provide a proactive approach. From your first instructions all the way through to the case’s conclusion, we’ll provide expert advice and representation which takes into consideration your individual circumstances and all of your available options. Not only do we advise, we also explain the entire process to you in a clear and understandable way.
What is the Crown Court?
Crown Court cases are typically serious criminal matters which have been referred by the Magistrates’ Court. These cases are heard by a judge and, in the case of a trial, a jury of 12 people. Depending on the severity of the offence, sentence length and complexity, the process for reaching the Crown Court varies. For example, serious allegations of murder or rape can only be heard by the Crown Court. Less serious cases remain with the magistrates. If, however, complex issues arise or sentence lengths are expected to be longer than six months, they may be referred to the Crown Court.
What happens next?
Following the initial hearing in the Magistrates’ Court, there are further hearings in front of a judge where you are expected to enter a plea of either guilty or not guilty to the charges you are facing. If you plead ‘not guilty’, the Judge will give directions for the next phase, which will be a trial. This may include a fixed date or you’ll be advised that your case is on a warned list and you can therefore be called to trial at any time within the following weeks.
At trial, the case is heard by the judge and 12 members of a jury, who are selected at random from the public. At this point, the judge is there to provide the jury with explanations of the law and procedures.
Once the jury has heard your case, which is presented by your advocate or barrister, they will make their decision. If you are found not guilty, you will be discharged from the court and your case concludes. If you are found guilty - or you have entered a guilty plea - the judge will decide on your sentencing.
It should be noted that not all cases follow such a straightforward process, as obstacles and complexities can arise at any stage. For example, there may be issues involving re-trials, appeals and majority jury decisions. With the right legal guidance on your side, you can rest assured knowing that your case is in safe hands no matter what challenges are faced.
Why Choose Smith Partnership?
Our team is recognised by a top tier Legal 500 ranking in the area of criminal law, showcasing our experience and expertise, as well as our dedication to this specialist sector.
Our solicitors strongly believe that everyone has the right to legal representation, no matter what allegations you’re facing or your financial circumstances. Therefore, we regularly advise clients on legal aid eligibility, guiding them through the application process when required. For those not eligible, we supply a fixed-fee quotation and other payment options.
Smith Partnership’s legal services are built around being clear and practical. We understand how important it is to be fully aware of your position and options in cases that go to the Crown Court so our lawyers ensure any communications and advice are straight-talking and jargon-free at all times.
DON’T JUST TAKE OUR WORD FOR IT...
Having been awarded the highest possible ranking by The Legal 500, The Smith Partnership team is number one for criminal law in the East Midlands. It noted:
Andrew Oldroyd heads the criminal defence practice at Smith Partnership with the assistance of Kevin McGrath, who leads the corporate crime and fraud unit. Noted for its ‘great experience, technical ability and commitment‘ the firm takes on defence cases relating to homicide, drug conspiracies, sexual assault, motoring offences and prosecutions by various regulatory bodies. Other key contacts are David Cusack and Crown Court litigators, Vasanti Vaitha and Beth McGovern.
The combination of friendliness and professionalism – they are very approachable and do not give the impression of “judging” clients. They have a strong work ethic and far better respected than other firms in the local area with a high volume of Higher Court Advocates.
Very strong criminal team, with great experience, technical ability and commitment.
Huge presence in The Midlands for crime. Andrew Oldroyd partner takes the case on as though each client is a family member.