The plea and case management hearing is an integral, yet little understood, area of the criminal trial process in UK law. Legal expert Nick Titchener, director and solicitor advocate at London Criminal Defence Solicitors, Lawtons, discusses what a plea and case management hearing is, and what will happen at the hearing.
What is a plea and case management hearing?
The first hearing after committal, a plea and case management hearing is intended to ensure that the correct plea and trial process are followed.
At plea and case management hearing, the judge will decide if enough information has been provided to allow a trial date to be set.
A plea and case management hearing is always heard at the Crown Court.
What happens at a plea and case management hearing?
At a plea and case management hearing, the indictment will firstly be read out. Then the defendant will be asked if they plead guilty or not guilty to each count of the alleged offence.
If the defendant pleads guilty, they may be sentenced immediately, or alternatively an adjournment may be requested to allow pre-sentence reports to be completed. If the defendant pleads guilty to some counts and not guilty to others, sentencing will be adjourned.
If the defendant pleads not guilty to all counts, the prosecution and defence will inform the court of relevant details such as:
- How many witnesses they intend to call
- Any evidence they intend to exhibit
The court will then be given an estimate of how long the trial is likely to run for, alongside when witnesses will be likely to have to attend court.
The judge will ensure sufficient directions are put into place to allow the trial to proceed as soon as possible.
The use of a plea and case management form is mandatory during a hearing.
About the author
Nick Titchener is an expert criminal solicitor with many years of experience. He has handled a wide range of complex legal cases including sexual offences, violence and assault. Nick’s measured, carefully considered approach means he thrives on even the most complicated cases.
He also oversees the overall management of Lawtons Solicitors, which has branches across London, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Essex.
FAQs about Plea and Case Management Hearing?
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What is a plea?
What is a case ‘for mention’?
How does a plea and case management hearing differ to a plea and trial preparation hearing?
How long does a Crown Court trial last?