The purpose of this page is to shed some light on how long it typically takes between an offence being committed and the case being resolved in a criminal court.
Magistrates’ or Crown Court?
All criminal cases start in the magistrates’ court. Depending on the seriousness of the crime the case will either take place in a magistrates’ court from start to finish, or will be referred from a magistrates’ court to a higher court, usually the Crown Court.
Over half of all criminal court trials don’t go ahead as planned, which uses up court time. Some, called ‘cracked’ cases, don’t go ahead on the intended date at very short notice but don’t need rescheduling – this might be because the defendant entered a guilty plea, or the case is dropped by the prosecution. But other trials that don’t go ahead and do need rescheduling are called ‘ineffective’ – this might be because the prosecution or the defence aren’t ready to begin the trial, or the defendant doesn’t attend as instructed. Those cases that do go ahead are said to be ‘effective’.
Source: Criminal cases