The Criminal Process

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  • Adversarial = advocates from each side representing the party’s position and a judge or jury trying to determine the truthInquisitorial = a judge (or group of judges) investigate the case
  • ExpensiveUnfair burden on the juriesCompetence of non professionalsMedia coverage can influence them Easily persuaded by good counselNo debate or reason for their decisionJuror could have difficulty in assessing damage or complex evidence
  • Drugs, theft
  • Drugs, theft
  • Drugs, theft


  • 1. The Criminal Process
  • 2. Objectives
    By the end of this lesson students should be able to:
    • Explain what is meant by an adversarial system
    • 3. Explain how offences are classified
    • 4. Describe the criminal court system
  • Starter
    What do you know about these courts:
  • 5. Discuss
    What is meant by the following statement?
    The English Criminal Justice system can be described as adversarial.
  • 6. Discuss
    Does this affect the outcome of the case?
    Consider Sally Clarke & the Cardiff 3
  • 7. How are offences classified?
    Summary – e.g. Driving offences, assault. Always tried in the Magistrates Court
    Indictable offences – e.g. Murder, manslaughter, rape. Must be tried at the Crown Court (thought they still begin in the magistrates court)
    Triable-either-way offences – What does this mean?
  • 8. Criminal Court System
  • 9. How are offences classified?
    Answer the following questions:
    Summarise the main thrust of the Criminal Procedure Rules 2005
    What will the magistrates take into account when deciding which court will deal with the case?
    Explain when a defendant can insist on trial by jury
    Discuss why a defendant might wish to elect for trial by jury
  • 10. Activity
    In groups locate a miscarriage of justice. Research the following:
    What happened?
    How did they appeal? On what grounds?
    What was the outcome (if there has been one yet)
    What is public opinion on this case (look at newspapers online)