The indictment

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

  • The indictment
  • What is an indictment?
  • When is an indictment required?
  • Electronic generation of a draft indictment
  • How is an indictment preferred?
  • Preferring electronically generated indictments
  • Effect of preferring the indictment
  • Procedural requirements relating to the preferment of indictments
  • Multiple indictments against the same defendant
  • Draft indictment served by the prosecution after sending for trial
  • More...

The indictment

The rules relating to the form of indictments and the procedure for their creation and adoption are contained in the following:

  1. the Indictments Act 1915 (IA 1915)

  2. section 2 of the Administration of Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1933 (AJ(MP)A 1933), and

  3. Part 10 of the Criminal Procedure Rules 2020, SI 2020/759 (CrimPR), supplemented by the Criminal Practice Directions (CPD) (as amended)

For information on what an indictment must contain, its form, dealing with defects and amending indictments, see Practice Note: The indictment—content, form, defects and amendments.

What is an indictment?

An indictment is the formal document containing the list of charges against a defendant which is preferred (formally served) in the Crown Court. This is a different document to the written charge or information produced by the prosecution in order to commence the prosecution in the magistrates' court. See Practice Notes: Commencing criminal proceedings—applying for the issue of a summons and Commencing criminal proceedings—written charge and requisition or single justice procedure notice.

The indictment is traditionally drafted by the prosecutor, eg the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) or other prosecuting authority. In practice, this is done by preparing a schedule of charges drafted in the form of counts suitable for inclusion in an indictment (draft indictment or draft bill of indictment).

Draft indictments may be created by the electronic conversion of the statement of criminal charges sent

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