Criminal Justice and Courts Bill

Written evidence submitted by Liberty (CJC 22)

Liberty’s Committee Stage briefing on Parts 1, 2 and 3 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill in the House of Commons

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1. The Criminal Justice and Courts Bill comes in five parts. Part 1 makes provision for sentencing, largely in relation to offences connected with terrorism. It also includes proposals to extend the purpose and scope of post-release electronic monitoring and to limit the use of cautions for serious offences or repeat offences. Part 2 of the Bill sets out proposals in relation to young offenders, which include the creation of so-called ‘secure colleges’ intended to replace current detention facilities for young offenders. Part 3 contains wide-ranging changes to procedures in courts and tribunals. This Part includes extremely worrying new powers for trial by a single magistrate on the papers for less serious offences. Part 3 would also introduce oppressive new charges to be levied towards criminal court costs to be paid by convicted adult offenders, would increase the upper age limit for jury duty to 75, and create a new offence of juror research. Part 4 implements radical changes to the availability and operation of judicial review and constitutes a significant threat to the constitutional role of the courts in ensuring the legality of Execution action. Part 5 makes consequential provision.

2. Liberty has produced separate briefings on clauses contained in Part 4. In this briefing we focus on clauses contained in Parts 1, 2 and 3. Specifically: the sweeping extension of the "tagging" regime (clause 6); the establishment and running of ‘Secure Colleges’ and the power for staff to use force to enforce good order and discipline (clauses 17, 18, schedule 4); trial by single magistrate on the papers (clauses 24-28); and the mandatory criminal costs order (clause 29). These proposals demonstrate muddled and short-sighted thinking. The first envisages a new regime for mandatory blanket tagging of those on licence for the purpose of surveillance, as opposed to compliance, that will cost hundreds of millions of pounds to administer. The last three appear to be driven by cost-cutting objectives and together threaten child safety and rehabilitation; the right to trial by jury; open justice and the presumption of innocence. Cumulatively these proposals reveal a frightening desire on the part of Government to absolve itself of responsibility to adequately fund a fair and functioning criminal justice system and instead to divert funds away to the ever burgeoning private surveillance and security industry.

3. Liberty urges MPs at Committee to probe Government on the inclusion of these clauses and to press for their deletion from the Bill.

Clause 6: Electronic monitoring following release on licence

4. Clause 6 amends provisions in Part 3 of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 which authorise electronic monitoring or "tagging" of those released on licence. It amends the current law in three significant ways. It permits (for the first time) tagging of individuals in order to "monitor whereabouts" as opposed to "monitoring compliance with another condition of release" such as a curfew. It imposes a requirement that where an individual is tagged, a person is made responsible for monitoring an individual subject to tagging and therefore for collecting, storing and processing data on the subject’s movements. It also gives the Justice Secretary the power to mandate, by order, the imposition of tags on whole categories of offenders.

5. It is unclear why the Government is seeking to amend the law to monitor whereabouts in addition to monitoring compliance with licence conditions. This reform will change the nature of a tag from an enforcement device which simply monitors adherence to a court sentence to a mechanism of State surveillance for unprescribed purposes. This represents a significant shift and implies suspicion of re-offending for all those made subject to such an order. The Government has not made any case for blanket imposition of surveillance tracking for those released on licence. Further, it is difficult to see how blanket monitoring of licensees will help with Government’s stated aims of improving reintegration and lowering recidivism. For those released on long licences it is easy to see how extended tagging requirements will interfere with re-settlement and rehabilitation.

6. Liberty has further concerns about those who will be made responsible for blanket monitoring of the whereabouts of licensees, and the safety and use of the wealth of data that will be generated by the new monitoring regime. The Bill is silent on the identity of "persons" to be made responsible for monitoring and the Bill states merely that the Justice Secretary must implement a non-binding Code of Practice in relation to the processing of data gathered via tagging. Given the trajectory of recent Government policy in this area it seems likely that private security companies will be made responsible for this surveillance. As we detail in paragraph 18 below, we have grave concerns about the track record of the private security industry in general and specifically in relation to tagging functions. On 19 November 2013 G4S admitted overcharging the Ministry of Justice for its tagging services following the Justice Secretary’s referral of the company to the Serious Fraud Office. [1] G4S offered the Department a 24 million pound credit note which it rejected as auditors continued to establish the extent of the overcharging.

7. Tagging is costly and currently discharged by companies that have been unable to demonstrate basic standards of integrity, record keeping and efficiency. The Government has not evidenced why it believes the tagging industry should be enlarged in this way nor provided information as to the further significant costs that will be incurred.

Clauses 17, 18, Schedule 4: Secure Colleges

8. Part 2 of the Bill sets out a legislative framework for the creation of Secure Colleges. The Government proposes that Secure Colleges will come to completely replace Young Offender Institutions (YOIs) and Secure Training Centres (STCs) in addition to taking some children currently held in Secure Children’s Homes (SCHs). They will hold the vast majority of 12-17 year olds in the prison estate. The stated rationale [2] behind the reform is twofold: to reduce the cost of detaining young people [3] and to provide a more holistic and educational environment for young offenders than at present –

"A Secure College will for the first time offer a fully integrated multi-agency approach to tackling the offending of young people. With education at the heart of the regime and effectively integrated with health, substance misuse and wider services, the Secure College will improve the educational engagement and attainment of young offenders, while also addressing offending behaviour in a holistic and co-ordinated way which can be sustained by community services on release." [4]

9. The particular changes outlined include: a single lead provider overseeing a Secure College and all the services it delivers rather than the separate commissioning of custody and educational services; a headmaster or principal overseeing educational delivery; educational providers to provide education in the youth estate; aspiration to increase in the number of hours of education provided to detainees per week; more effective resettlement policies.

10. The Government’s stated ambition for Secure Colleges is a laudable one. It recognises the complex matrix of issues that lead young people to commit offences and commits to prioritising education and the other diverse needs of children in detention. [5] However, we are concerned that the scheme set out in the Bill and accompanying policy documents fails to reflect the Government’s vision in a number of crucial areas. In particular - the construction of larger detention facilities to detain mixed ages and sexes; use of force to enforce good order and discipline; the option for Secure Colleges to be run by private security firms; and vastly reduced spending per head than that currently spent on child detainees in STCs.

11. The number of children in custody has fallen considerably in recent years. It has dropped by almost half under the Coalition, from 2,136 children in May 2010 to 1,168 in December 2013. Rather than focusing on proposals to build larger prisons for children, the Government should focus on bringing youth custodial rates down further by, as the Howard League argues -

"addressing in particular the high number of children held on remand, the majority of whom do not go on to receive a custodial sentence and the excessive number of children in prison for non-compliance. For the small fraction of the existing children’s prison population who truly require custody, the network of small, localised Secure Children’s Homes represents the best model for success. These homes put the welfare of the child first and provide an education that offers a wide curriculum…Deploying the money intended for a Secure College on Secure Children’s Homes and crime prevention would produce significantly more effective outcomes for the taxpayer and children." [6]

Schedule 4, paragraphs 8 and 10: Use of Force

12. The Government says that it wants education to be at the centre of the new mandate for youth custody and to better vet and train those detaining and working with young people in detention. However the legislative scheme specifically allows for use of force to enforce ‘good order and discipline’. Schedule 4, paragraph 8 provides that use of force can be used among other things [7] to "(c) to ensure good order and discipline on their part" and paragraph 10 provides that a custody officer may "use reasonable force where necessary in carrying out duties in paragraphs 8 and 9." This would allow staff at Secure Colleges to use force against children who, for example, refuse to follow an instruction or break a rule.

13. The use of force against children in detention to enforce good behaviour is contrary to basic human rights standards and notions of decency. It has also recently been found to be unlawful by the Court of Appeal. In June 2007 the Government amended secondary legislation, pursuant to the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, in order to explicitly allow force to be used to enforce good order and discipline (GOAD) in STCs. [8] In R(C) v Secretary of State for Justice [2009] [9] the Court of Appeal interrogated the amended Rules and the Government’s reasoning for use of force to enforce GOAD and held that the amended rules were unnecessary and in breach of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights as incorporated by the Human Rights Act 1998. It follows that primary legislation allowing for such use of force for identical purposes is incompatible with human rights standards and we are puzzled and concerned that the Government seeks to re-legislate in manner that is clearly unlawful.

14. Since April 2000, sixteen boys have died in youth detention. The tragic consequences of unnecessary use of force against children in detention is made all too clear in at least two of these deaths. In 2004 Gareth Myatt, 15, died in Rainsbrook STC as a direct result of use of force triggered by his refusal to clean a sandwich toaster. He was 4 ft 10 and weighed under seven stone, yet was restrained by three members of staff who ignored his shouts that he was unable to breathe. He died of ‘positional asphyxia’ after he choked on his own vomit. Also in 2004 Adam Rickwood, 14, took his life at Hassockfield STC, a few hours after being restrained for discipline purposes. Adam was restrained by staff when he refused, when asked, to move from a communal area to his room. At the second inquest in to Adam’s death, the jury found that the use of force against Adam "more than minimally" contributed to his decision to take his own life. An internal review of deaths in youth custody published by the Youth Justice Board in 2014 further found that -

"When Adam died in 2004, there was confusion at every level within the youth justice system about whether or not restraint for this purpose (maintaining the good order and discipline of the establishment) was lawful. This confusion led to a systemic failure to identify unlawful practice – an issue which was resolved in 2008 when the Court of Appeal ruled that the use of restraint for the purpose of maintaining good order and discipline in STCs was, and always had been, unlawful." [10]

15. Confusion as to whether use of force to enforce GOAD is lawful will be re-ignited if the Government re-legislates for it.

16. Force should only ever be used where strictly necessary, for example to prevent a child doing harm to themselves or others. Following the deaths of Gareth Myatt and Adam Rickwood the Government commissioned an Independent Review of Restraint in Juvenile Secure Settings which reported in 2008 and proposed the following six principles for the use of restraint –

1. Force should be used only as a last resort.

2. Force should be used only to prevent the risk of harm.

3. The criteria for using force should be consistent across settings.

4. The minimum force necessary should be used, and this should be proportionate to the identified risk.

5. Only approved restraint techniques should be used.

6. Force should only be used in the context of an overall approach to behaviour management, including de-escalation and debriefing, in which children and young people are actively involved. [11]

It is entirely unclear why this valuable learning cannot be reflected in the legislation the Government now seeks to pass. Ministerial assurances that secondary legislation will clarify that force should not be used to enforce GOAD ignore the mixed messages that the legislation will give. If the Government truly wants to prohibit use of force for this purpose it must remove the power from primary legislation. There is no justification for legislating a policy that is entirely contrary to the Government’s stated intention. As the YJB finding makes clear, a conflict between primary and secondary legislation is likely to give rise to confusion in practice and will doubtless lead to force being used inappropriately. The price of not addressing this issue as the Bill passes through Parliament could be very high indeed.

Clause 18: Secure Colleges contracted out to private companies

17. Government states that it wants to attract a "diverse and innovative range of new education providers into the youth custodial sector" and says it is taking steps to ensure that "custodial staff working with young people have the right skills for the job." [12] Yet, clause 18 allows private security firms to run the new Secure Colleges. This surely runs counter to the Government’s stated aims for the ethos of Secure Colleges. Taken with Schedule 4, paragraphs 8 and 10, it means that private contractors will be licenced to use force against children who do not follow their instructions.

18. The private security firms that currently provide detention services in the UK are mired in abuse and financial scandals and dogged by administrative failings. All STCs are currently run by private security firms on behalf of the Youth Justice Board. G4S currently manages and operates 3 purpose-built STCs (Medway STC, Rainsbrook STC and Oakhill STC) as well as eight specially designed residential children’s homes for young people with emotional and behavioural difficulties. Serco runs Hassockfield STC and GEO run a number of SCHs.

19. Gareth Myatt died at the hands of G4S security guards. Following the inquest into his death, the coroner wrote to the then Justice Secretary, to highlight G4S’ dismal handling of the incident and failure to act on reports of abuse. [13] Commenting on the Joint Committee on Human Rights’ report of Gareth’s death, Buxton J in the Court of Appeal said it demonstrated "an outrageous attitude on the officers’ part" [14] and stressed that "Hassockfield STC is run by, and the Secretary of State relies on the evidence of, a man who…in these proceedings sought apparently unchecked by the Secretary of State, to argue that his contractual obligations were not binding". [15] More recently –

· A number of G4S employees were referred by Mr Justice Mostyn for prosecution for forgery and contempt of court in relation to an immigration appeal. [16] In the judgement Mostyn J said employees Tamara Burns, Marilyn Bennett and Matthew Newman were involved in ‘corruptly redacting’ an official certificate which helped bolster the case against an immigrant who was being deported from the UK.

· In October 2012 the Chief Inspector of Prisons published a report into Cedars in which G4S were criticised for using "non-approved techniques" during an incident where a pregnant woman’s wheelchair was tipped up whilst her feet were held. The incident caused significant risk to the baby and was a "simply not acceptable" use of force. [17]

· In November 2012 a G4S security guard working at the SECC complex in Glasgow murdered a delegate at a medical science conference. Clive Carter, a G4S employee at the time beat a woman to death with a fire extinguisher. He was convicted in October 2013 and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment. [18]

· In October 2010 three G4S guards held down and killed Jimmy Mubenga as they restrained him during deportation. On 13 July 2013 an inquest jury found that Mr Mubenga’s death was caused by G4S guards "using unreasonable force and acting in an unlawful manner". [19]

Size and funding

20. The proposed size of Secure Colleges and the spend per inmate will likely work against the central objectives of reducing re-offending and improving life chances for children in custody. Secure Colleges are intended to be vastly bigger than YOIs and STCs. The first ‘pathfinder’ 320-place Secure College is due to be built in the East Midlands in 2015 and to open in 2017. History teaches that large detention facilities inevitably become more difficult to manage and that security and discipline challenges overtake education and training objectives in these environments. At the same time, the spend will be similar to the spend per head in YOIs which are currently unable to meet their target of 15 hours education a week and much less than the spend per head in STCs.

Mixing vulnerable children of different ages and gender

21. We are also concerned about the implications of placing children classified as vulnerable in large prisons; detaining younger and older children together and mixing boys and girls. Children classified as vulnerable are accommodated in SCHs or STCs rather than YOIs. STCs are divided into – males between 12-14; females between 12-16; males between 15 – 17 and females aged 17. The Government says "We anticipate retaining some specialist custodial provision for the very youngest and most vulnerable people remanded or sentenced to custody by the courts, but our vision is for Secure Colleges to cater for the vast majority of young people in custody." [20] And later "Older and more resilient young people will be accommodated in larger living units, while those who are younger and more vulnerable will be accommodated separately in smaller blocks." [21] Further, "the larger sizes of Secure Colleges will allow a broader curriculum and range of services to be provided at a lower cost, without any compromise in the safeguarding of young people." [22] It seems to be implied that even very young girls will be detained in facilities with boys including older boys. Liberty is concerned that staff will not be able to ensure safety of girls and younger detainees. It is also the case that bullying and peer pressure are more likely to come into play by mixing physically and emotionally stronger and weaker children.

Risk of increased use of custody

22. Finally Liberty is concerned that excessive rhetoric around the (yet to be proven) educational credentials of secure colleges will encourage sentencers to see them principally as educational establishments and impose greater numbers of longer custodial sentences on children. As the Howard League have pointed out –

"The construction of Secure Training Centres in the late 1990s, along with the introduction of the Detention and Training Order, provides a cautionary tale of the effect of such an approach: the promise of training and education saw the number of children in custody rise dramatically, so that by 2007 over 3000 children were behind bars." [23]

Government should be alive to this risk and ensure that it does not perversely encourage greater use of child custody.

Clauses 24 – 28: Trial by single magistrate on the papers

23. Clauses 24 - 28 of Part 3 provide for a power for a single Magistrate to deal with summary cases, not punishable with a sentence of imprisonment, on the papers. It is proposed that the procedure will operate where a defendant does not serve notice of her wish to be tried in court or an intention to plead guilty or not guilty having been served with a written charge. Consent to be tried on the papers, by a single magistrate, is therefore to be implied by omission. Magistrates will have discretion whether to apply the power and the procedure can also be set aside in circumstances where the defendant makes a statutory declaration that they did not know of the procedure.

24. In the Coalition Agreement, the Government promised to "protect historic freedoms through the defence of trial by jury." [24] This proposal will significantly harm the principle of trial by jury as well as that of open justice – two cornerstones of the British justice system.

25. For centuries, the common law principle that defendants are tried by their peers has allowed justice to be dispensed fairly and in a manner that commands public confidence. Lay magistrates, who currently hear less serious criminal cases, [25] are justified in accordance with the jury trial tradition on the basis that they are laypersons, neither legally trained nor professional judges, that act as peers. In recognition of this, the Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980 requires that criminal trial and sentencing is presided over by at least two magistrates. In practice three magistrates generally sit together and a mix in age, gender and ethnicity is sought as far as possible. Further Magistrates are employed on a voluntary basis with only their expenses paid.

26. The implications of the reform proposed in clauses 24-28 should not be underestimated. Currently magistrates have only very limited powers when sitting on their own, restricted to: hearing remand applications and issuing search warrants and warrants for arrest. Magistrates’ panels on the other hand fulfil a substantial function in our criminal justice system and command significant power. They deal with approx. 97% of criminal cases in England & Wales and sit in Magistrates courts and Youth Courts. They hear and decide the outcome of cases (including both questions of law and fact) and pass sentence. They have the power to impose sentences of up to six months imprisonment as well as community penalties and fines of up to 5,000 pounds per offence. While it is not currently proposed that Magistrates should be able to sit alone and in private to determine cases that attract a sentence of imprisonment it is highly likely that once this procedure has been established further piecemeal reforms will be proposed.

27. It is impossible for a single magistrate to form a "panel of peers" and this will offend against the basic premise of trial by jury. Further, perceived flaws in the current lay magistracy system are addressed at least in part by the requirement that magistrates sit in open court and as a panel. These complaints will be exacerbated by the single magistrates process. Complaints about the current system include that the lay magistracy are not sufficiently representative of society; [26] that magistrates should not be charged with reaching decisions of both fact and law, that there is wide discrepancy in magistrate sentencing, and that they rely too heavily on legal clerks. Further, a magistrate deciding cases and sentences while sitting in private, fatally undermines the principle of open justice. The slow erosion of these bedrock principle risks dangerously undermining public trust and confidence in the criminal justice system over the long-term.

28. The proposal that basic fair trial protections will be waived by omission is further problematic. Think of those who may not read the notice or cannot read the notice either because they lack English language proficiency or have a disability. Defendants will not attend at court and so will not have the procedure and its implications explained to them. At the very least, the procedure should only be activated by a defendant explicitly filing notice to the effect that they wish to waive their rights in a manner which sets out in explicit terms that they understand the full implications of doing so.

29. The Government attempts to justify this proposal by reference to the cost of the current system. It is a fact of life that a decent and functioning legal system will cost a relative proportion of the public budget. Court buildings cost money to run and maintain, as does staff time. In reality, as a result, of the trial by jury system, the criminal justice system in England and Wales benefits from huge savings. Neither lay magistrates nor jurors are paid (above reasonable expenses incurred) and it is therefore difficult to see how the Government can justify slashing the trial by jury system on the basis of cost.

Clause 29: Criminal courts charge

30. Clause 29 creates a requirement for all criminal courts to impose a costs order on those it convicts. "Court costs" are defined as – "costs of providing the judiciary and the rest of the system of courts." It is proposed that the court charge will be mandatory and no financial limit is fixed in Bill – this is left to regulations to be made by the Lord Chancellor. This drastic proposal risks doing significant harm to the right to plead not guilty and the presumption of innocence.

31. There already exists a wide judicial discretion for costs orders in the criminal justice system in addition to a range of sentences [27] and other post conviction orders [28] that can impose financial liability. Section 18 of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 grants Magistrates and Crown Court judges a discretion to award prosecution costs against a convicted person "as it considers just and reasonable." Costs can similarly be awarded where a criminal appeal is dismissed in the Crown Court or Court of Appeal. The Practice Direction on criminal costs orders makes clear that costs should be ordered by the Court under section 18 of the POA only where the "court is satisfied that the defendant has the means and ability to pay." [29] CPS guidance on costs further states that prosecution applications for costs should not be made if in the circumstances of the individual case "it would be unmeritorious or impractical." [30] The guidance gives examples of where an application for costs would be inappropriate, including where "it will cause undue hardship e.g. where it is clear that the defendant suffers from a serious physical or mental illness" or where "the defendant is in such dire financial circumstances that the Court are likely to consider the award of costs as oppressive." It further suggests that where a long sentence or a hospital order is made, a costs award need not be made.

32. No such discretion or nuance is part of the proposal in clause 29. Instead it appears that the court charge will be mandatory, irrespective of circumstances of the individual or the nature of the case. This will have an oppressive impact. It will also act as a powerful disincentive to a not guilty plea. Innocent defendants faced with the prospect of a mandatory costs order in addition to higher sentence for a not guilty plea will be forced to weigh up whether they can afford to plead not guilty. This is shameful state of affairs for a criminal justice system with a proud reputation for fairness and integrity.

March 2014

[1] A National Audit Office report published in November 2013 highlighted the overcharging and found, for example, that G4S charged 3000 pounds per day for 612 days for tagging an offender who had been sent to prison 20 months earlier when the company removed the equipment and G4S billed the MoJ for 4700 pounds for tagging an offender even though his monitoring equipment had been removed 935 days earlier.

[2] As set out in Transforming Youth Custody: putting education at the heart of detention consultation, February 2013, available at - and the Government’s response to the consultation published in January 2014.

[3] Government says that replacing YOIs and STCs will "enable us to withdraw from some of the most expensive youth custodial provision, generating substantial savings." (Government response to consultation, para 5). It estimates that reducing the number of places of detention in the youth estate will "enable a Secure College to achieve an operating cost significantly below the 100 000 pound current average cost of a place in youth custody" (para 4.) Financial savings are again emphasized in relation to the ‘pathfinder’ Secure College in the East Midlands which will "enable us to withdraw from existing custodial capacity which serves these regions…realizing significant ongoing savings from the pathfinder alone". (para 16).

[4] Government response to the consultation, para 2.

[5] In the Lord Chancellor’s foreword to the Government’s response to the consultation he acknowledges that 86% of boys in YOIs have been excluded from school at some point; over half of 15-17 year olds have the literacy and numeracy level expected of a 7-11 year old and that 18% of children in custody have a statement of special educational needs.

[6] The Howard League for Penal Reform, Criminal Justice and Courts Bill Second Reading Briefing, February 2014.

[7] Custodial duties also include (a) to prevent their escape from lawful custody, (b) to prevent, or detect and report on, the commission or attempted commission by them of unlawful acts and (d) to attend to their well being.

[8] The Secure Training Centre (Amendment) Rules (2007) which replaced the Secure Training Centre Rules (1998).

[9] [2009] QB 657.

[10] Deaths of Children in Custody: Action Taken, Lessons Learnt, Youth Justice Board, 2014 available at - .

[11] Independent Review of Restraint in Juvenile Secure Settings, 2008, Smallbridge and Williamson, available at - .

[12] Government response to the consultation, para 21, which continues "We are reviewing the core skills and competencies of senior custodial staff in YOIs…future recruitment campaigns for custodial staff in YOIs will require applicants to demonstrate their clear desire and commitment to working with young people as part of a rigorous assessment process. Current staff will be receiving further training…" Government further welcomes the fact that it received consultation responses from "academies, education providers and employers as well as established custody and care home providers – demonstrating the strength and appetite of the market to deliver a new form of youth custodial provision based around quality education and training provision. We look forward to continuing this discussion with providers as we move to introduce the first Secure College".

[13] "Coroner tells Straw to act now on restraint in child prisons" The Guardian, 19 July 2007,

[14] Ibid at footnote 7, para 12.

[15] Ibid at para 74.

[16] Following the decision in R(on application of AB) v Secretary of State for Home Department [2013] EWHC 3453 (Admin).

[17] Paragraph 1.52, Report on an announced inspection of Cedars Pre-Departure Accommodation by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (30 April – 25 May 2012) available at -

[18] "Clive Carter jailed for life for Khanokporn Satjawat SECC murder" BBC News, 29 October 2013, available at -

[19] "Jimmy Mubenga was unlawfully killed, inquest jury finds" The Guardian, 9 July 2013,

[20] Ibid, para 5.

[21] Ibid, para 16.

[22] Ibid at para 33.

[23] Ibid at footnote 6.

[24] The Coalition: Our Programme for Government, page 11, May 2010, available at -

[25] Currently, those charged with an indictable offence are sent – or for either way offences can elect to be sent - to the Crown Court to face a jury of 12 men and women drawn from all walks of life, tasked with reaching a fair conclusion on the case. Those charged with a summary offence are sent – or for either way offences can elect to go - to the Magistrates court.

[26] The majority of magistrates are within the 45-65 age range and overwhelmingly from professional and managerial backgrounds. That said, the gender and ethnicity make-up of the magistracy is largely representative of society and certainly much more so than the professional judiciary.

[27] Fines can be imposed as sentences both in the Magistrates and Crown Court. The former can impose fines of up to £5000 and up to £20,000 for offences under certain regulations, such as a breach of the health and safety in the workplace. In the Crown Court the fines can be limitless. The court will enquire into the financial circumstances of the offender and fix the fine at the level reflecting seriousness of the offence, taking account of the circumstances of the case and the means to pay.

[28] Confiscation orders imposing an obligation to pay a sum of money that reflects the benefit a convicted person received from his criminal conduct are available under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and courts are now required to impose the victim’s surcharge in respect of offences committed on or after the 1st October 2012.

[29] Practice Direction on Costs in Criminal Proceedings at para 3.4.

[30] CPS Guidance on Costs available at - .

Prepared 19th March 2014