Abuse of process procedure
Abuse of process procedure

The following Corporate Crime guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Abuse of process procedure
  • Abuse application in the magistrates’ court
  • Application for judicial review of magistrates' decision
  • Appeals to the Crown Court
  • Appeals from the Crown Court
  • Abuse application in the Crown Court
  • Delay

The application procedure for making an abuse argument is governed by the Criminal Procedure Rules 2015, SI 2015/1490 (CrimPR) and directions in support of these rules are provided in the Criminal Practice Directions para 3C. The burden of proof is on the applicant, on the balance of probabilities.

Evidence can be called by both the defence and prosecution. The prosecution is under an obligation to disclose relevant unused material. The judge will make a determination on this evidence.

Any challenge of a ruling following an abuse argument in the magistrates’ court would be made in the High Court by way of judicial review or in the Crown Court by way of rehearing.

A decision in the Crown Court is incapable of judicial review as it is a decision relating to trial on indictment.

The prosecution has a right to appeal a terminating ruling to the Court of Appeal. Only following conviction may a defendant appeal a ruling against an abuse application to stay proceedings, in the Court of Appeal.

Abuse application in the magistrates’ court

Magistrates may be asked to consider an application for abuse of process either at summary trial or when sending or transferring cases to the Crown Court. The court has a limited jurisdiction to stay cases for abuse even when its duty under the sending

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