End of criminal proceedings—an introduction to the possible means of disposal
Produced in partnership with Eva Niculiu of Three Raymond Buildings
End of criminal proceedings—an introduction to the possible means of disposal

The following Corporate Crime guidance note Produced in partnership with Eva Niculiu of Three Raymond Buildings provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • End of criminal proceedings—an introduction to the possible means of disposal
  • What amounts to the conclusion of criminal proceedings?
  • End of criminal investigations without charge
  • Decisions to take no further action
  • Alternative out-of-court disposal
  • End of proceedings without verdict
  • Discontinuance by the prosecution (Crown Court and magistrates’ court)
  • CPS stopping a private prosecution (Crown Court and magistrates’ court)
  • Withdrawal of summons or charge by the prosecution (magistrates’ court only)
  • Dismissal of information—non-appearance of prosecutor (magistrates’ court only)
  • more

What amounts to the conclusion of criminal proceedings?

A typical criminal case concludes with either an acquittal at the end of a trial, or a conviction and sentence after a trial or a guilty plea. However, there are a number of other ways in which criminal proceedings may come to an end. They are considered below, categorised as follows:

Without charge, at the end of a criminal investigation

  1. a decision to take no further action

  2. another out-of-court disposal, such as simple or conditional cautions

Without a verdict, after proceedings have begun

  1. the discontinuance of proceedings by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) (in both the magistrates’ court and Crown Court) or by another public prosecutor (in the Crown Court)—available before summary trial starts (magistrates’ court), or before the indictment is preferred (Crown Court)

  2. the withdrawal of the charge or summons by the prosecution (only in the magistrates’ court)—available before a plea is taken

  3. the dismissal of the information for non-appearance of the prosecutor (only in the magistrates’ court)—available at trial

  4. the dismissal of charges (in the Crown Court)—available before arraignment

  5. the quashing of an indictment (in the Crown Court)—available at any time after the indictment is preferred, usually before arraignment takes place

  6. a stay for abuse of process (in either the magistrates’ court or Crown Court)—available at any time