(1) This section applies where—
(a) one or more defendants are to be tried on indictment for one or more offences, and
(b) notice has been given under section 51B of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 (c 37) (notices in serious or complex fraud cases) in respect of that offence or those offences.
(2) The prosecution may apply to a judge of the Crown Court for the trial to be conducted without a jury.
(3) If an application under subsection (2) is made and the judge is satisfied that the condition in subsection (5) is fulfilled, he may make an order that the trial is to be conducted without a jury; but if he is not so satisfied he must refuse the application.
(4) The judge may not make such an order without the approval of the Lord Chief Justice or a judge nominated by him.
(5) The condition is that the complexity of the trial or the length of the trial (or both) is likely to make the trial so burdensome to the members of a jury hearing the trial that the interests of justice require that serious consideration should be given to the question of whether the trial should be conducted without a jury.
(6) In deciding whether or not he is satisfied that that condition is fulfilled, the judge must have regard to any steps which might reasonably be taken to reduce the complexity or length of the trial.
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