In the system of courts of England and Wales, the Crown Court deals with serious criminal charges and with less serious charges where the accused has elected trial at the Crown Court instead of trial at a magistrates' court. The Crown Court also hears appeals against conviction and sentence from magistrates.
The Crown Court system was established by the Courts Act 1971, which came into force on 1 January 1972, following the recommendations of a Royal Commission chaired by Lord Beeching. Previously, criminal cases that were not dealt with by magistrates were heard by assize courts and Quarter Sessions courts, in a system that had changed little in the preceding centuries.The Crown Court system is administered by Her Majesty's Courts Service, an Executive Agency of the Ministry of Justice. England is divided into six regions by HMCS (London, Midlands, North East, North West, South East and Western), with the whole of Wales forming a seventh region.
In 2007, there were 91 locations in England and Wales at which the Crown Court regularly sat.Crown Court centres are designated in one of three tiers: first-tier centres are visited by High Court judges for criminal and also for civil cases (in the District Registry of the High Court); second-tier centres are visited by High Court judges for criminal work only; and third-tier centres are not normally visited by High Court judges. High Court judges hear 2% of cases at the Crown Court, but 27% of the most serious (Class 1) cases. Circuit Judges and Recorders sit at all three tiers, hearing 88% and 10% of the cases respectively. When the Crown Court is conducting a trial, the judge sits with a jury of twelve; when hearing appeals against decisions of a Magistrates' Court, the judge sits with two (or sometimes four) magistrates.
Section 78 of the Supreme Court Act 1981 provides that the Crown Court can conduct business at any location in England and Wales, in accordance with directions given by the Lord Chancellor.This power is sometimes used to enable court sittings to take place away from one of the regular Crown Court venues. For example, in 2007, a sitting of the Crown Court was held at one of the oldest court buildings in England or Wales, the former courthouse in Beaumaris, Anglesey, which was built in 1614 and closed in 1997.
|Amersham||South East||Third||Amersham Law Courts act as a satellite to Aylesbury Crown Court.|
|Aylesbury||South East||Third||March 2018 saw the relocation of the court house into the town's previous Magistrates' court.|
|Basildon||South East||Third||Shares a building with Basildon County Court; there are seven courtrooms for criminal cases.|
|Birmingham||Midland||First||Four of the sixteen courts are in a separate building.|
|Bolton||North West||Third||Shares a building with Bolton County Court|
|Bournemouth||Western||Second||Shares a building with Bournemouth County Court|
|Bradford||North East||Second||Shares a building with Bradford County Court|
|Brighton||South East||Third||There are two court rooms dedicated to hosting Crown Court cases within the Magistrates' Court|
|Bristol (Bristol Crown Court)||Western||First||Takes long trials from other courts in the region|
|Burnley||North West||Third||Shares a building with Burnley County Court|
|Caernarfon||Wales||First||A new court building opened on 20 May 2009, the new building contains two Crown court courtrooms and two magistrates court courtrooms; the listed building formerly holding the court was put on sale for £120,000 in 2008.|
|Cambridge (Cambridge Crown Court)||South East||First||Upgraded to first tier status in 2005 after a new court building opened in 2004|
|Canterbury||South East||Third||Shares a building with Canterbury County Court|
|Cardiff (Cardiff Crown Court)||Wales||First||Administers Newport Crown Court|
|Carlisle||North West||First||Shares a building with Carlisle County Court|
|Carmarthen||Wales||Second||Administered from Swansea Crown Court|
|Central Criminal Court||London||Second||Known as the "Old Bailey", after the street on which the court is located|
|Chester||North West||First||Administers the crown courts at Knutsford and Warrington|
|Coventry||Midland||Third||Shares a building with Coventry County Court|
|Croydon||London||Third||Shares a building with Croydon County Court|
|Derby||Midland||Third||Shares a building with Derby County Court|
|Doncaster||North East||Third||Designated as a suitable venue for terrorism-related trials, following improvements to the building in 2007|
|Dorchester||Western||Second||The court has one courtroom; the court offices are in Weymouth|
|Durham||North East||Third||The court has two courtrooms|
|Exeter||Western||First||Shares a building with Exeter County Court|
|Gloucester||Western||Second||The court is in a nineteenth-century building described by the local senior judge as "not fit for the 21st century in any shape or form".|
|Great Grimsby||North East||Third||Shares a building with Great Grimsby County Court|
|Guildford||South East||Third||The court also uses a courtroom at Guildford Magistrates' Court for two weeks each month.|
|Hereford||Midland||Third||A satellite of Worcester Crown Court|
|Inner London (Inner London Crown Court)||London||Third|
|King's Lynn||South East||Third|
|Kingston upon Hull||North East||Third||Shares a building with Kingston upon Hull County Court|
|Kingston-upon-Thames||London||Third||The court has been designated to hear terrorism trials as a backup if Woolwich Crown Court is unable to hear a particular trial.|
|Lancaster||North West||Third||A satellite of Preston Crown Court, which sits at Lancaster Castle|
|Leeds (Leeds Crown Court)||North East||First||Shares a building with Leeds County Court|
|Leicester||Midland||Second||Shares a building with Leicester County Court|
|Lewes (Lewes Crown Court)||South East||First||Shares a building with Lewes County Court; the court has ten courtrooms, split between Lewes, Hove and Brighton.|
|Lincoln||Midland||First||The court is based in Lincoln Castle|
|Liverpool (Queen Elizabeth II Law Courts, Liverpool)||North West||First||Shares a building with Liverpool Youth Court|
|Luton||South East||Second||The number of defendants pleading guilty is lower than the national average, with the senior local judge commenting that this is thought to be because of the historically high level of jury acquittals in Bedfordshire.|
|Maidstone||South East||Second||Shares a building with Maidstone County Court|
|Manchester (Crown Square)||North West||First|
|Manchester (Minshull Street)||North West||Third||There are ten courtrooms in the main building, with a further two at Stockport Magistrates' Court.|
|Merthyr Tydfil||Wales||Second||Shares a building with Merthyr Tydfil County Court and Merthyr Tydfil Magistrates' Court|
|Mold||Wales||First||Shares a building with Mold County Court; extension plans have been put forward|
|Newcastle upon Tyne||North East||First||Shares a building with Newcastle upon Tyne County Court|
|Newport (Isle of Wight)||Western||Third||Shares a building with Newport (Isle of Wight) County Court and the Isle of Wight Magistrates' Court|
|Newport (South Wales) (Newport Crown Court)||Wales||Second||The three courtrooms are administered from Cardiff Crown Court|
|Northampton (Northampton Crown Court)||Midland||Second||Shares a building with Northampton County Court|
|Norwich||South East||First||Shares a building with Norwich County Court|
|Nottingham (Nottingham Crown Court)||Midland||First||Shares a building with Nottingham County Court|
|Oxford||South East||First||Shares a building with Oxford County Court|
|Peterborough||South East||Third||Shares a building with Peterborough County Court|
|Plymouth||Western||Second||Shares a building with Plymouth County Court|
|Portsmouth||Western||Third||Shares a building with Portsmouth County Court|
|Preston (Preston Crown Court)||North West||First||Shares a building with Preston County Court; administers the satellite crown courts at Barrow-in-Furness and Lancaster|
|Reading||South East||Second||The court has six courtrooms, but pressure of work means that some cases are moved to Oxford Crown Court for hearing.|
|Salisbury||Western||Third||Shares a building with Salisbury County Court|
|Sheffield||North East||First||Shares a building with Sheffield County Court|
|Shrewsbury||Midland||Second||The court has three courtrooms, now hosted in the town’s former magistrates’ court, which has been completely refurbished since its closure in 2016.|
|Snaresbrook||London||Third||Snaresbrook is the largest crown court centre in England.|
|Southampton||Western||Third||Shares a building with Southampton County Court|
|Southend||South East||Third||Shares a building with Southend Magistrates' Court|
|Southwark||London||Third||The court is the designated crown court in London for all fraud or money laundering cases estimated to last 6 weeks or more.|
|St Albans||South East||Second||The court has four courtrooms and has had to hold additional hearings at Cheshunt Magistrates' Court and Watford County Court because of pressures of work.|
|Stafford||Midland||First||Shares a building with Stafford County Court|
|Stoke-on-Trent||Midland||Third||Shares a building with Stoke-on-Trent County Court|
|Swansea||Wales||First||Also administers the crown courts at Carmarthen and Haverfordwest|
|Swindon||Western||Third||Shares a building with Swindon County Court|
|Taunton||Western||Third||Shares a building with Taunton County Court|
|Teesside||North East||First||Shares a building with Middlesbrough County Court|
|Truro||Western||First||Truro Crown Court shares a building with Truro County Court|
|Warrington||North West||Second||Administered from Chester Crown Court|
|Warwick||Midland||First||Shares a building with Warwick County Court|
|Winchester (Winchester Crown Court)||Western||First||Shares a building with Winchester County Court|
|Wolverhampton||Midland||Third||Shares a building with Wolverhampton County Court|
|Woolwich (Woolwich Crown Court)||London||Third|
|Worcester||Midland||Second||Shares a building with Worcester County Court; administers a satellite crown court at Hereford|
|York||North East||Second||A two-court centre, taking work from a large part of North Yorkshire|
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