Stages of a summary trial
Stages of a summary trial

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

  • Stages of a summary trial
  • Prosecution case
  • Submission of no case to answer
  • Defence case
  • Closing speeches
  • Verdict
  • Calling evidence after case is closed
  • Adjournments on the day of trial

The first stage in the trial process is for the defendant to confirm whether they are pleading guilty or not guilty. This is a requirement of the Criminal Procedure Rules 2015 (CrimPR), SI 2015/1490. If a not guilty plea was taken on a previous occasion, the justices' legal adviser or the court must ask the defendant to confirm that plea at the start of trial.

CrimPR, SI 2015/1490, r 3.11(a) requires the court, with the assistance of the parties, to establish what are the disputed issues in order to manage the trial. Where a defendant pleads not guilty, this is achieved by the prosecution making an opening speech. The prosecution will summarise the prosecution case and identify the relevant law and facts and highlight the issues which are likely to be in dispute. In the magistrates’ court the prosecution's opening speech will usually be very short (unlike in the Crown Court). Prosecution summaries should not present a detailed account of all the prosecution evidence that will be adduced.

The defence representative has no right to make an opening speech. However, where the court believes that the magistrates would better understand the issues in the case, the court can invite the defence to identify the issues in dispute. The defence, however, is under no obligation to do so and may decline the invitation to

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