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The english legal system Cheat Sheet (DRAFT) by

All the information required under the AQA A-Level law syllabus for the english legal system topic in non-substantive law for paper 1.

This is a draft cheat sheet. It is a work in progress and is not finished yet.

Access to justice and funding

Sources of legal advice:
Help lines, citizens advice bureaux, law centres, trade unions, schemes run by lawyers.
Advice in criminal cases:
Anyone held as a suspect or questioned at a police station has the right to free legal advice. There is a duty solicitor scheme which operates 24 hours a day. Advice can be given in person or over the phone, or you could be your own solicitor.
Public funding in criminal cases:
Criminal legal aids are run by the legal aid agency in the ministry of justice. The agency has contracts with solici­tors. In order to obtain repres­ent­ation, the defendant must qualify under two tests; interests of justice test, and means test.
Interests of justice test:
A defendant will only get funding if he can show that at least one of these applies; if found guilty he would lose his libert­y/l­ive­lihood, or suffer serious damage to his reputa­tion; the case involves a point of law; the defendant is unable to understand he procee­din­gs/­state the case; the case involves tracing, interv­iewing, or cross-­exa­min­ation of witnesses; or its in the interests of another person to be repres­ented.
Means test- magist­rates court:
Anyone on income support, under 16, or under 18 and in full-time education will pass the test. Others may qualify if their gross annual income is below a certain threshold.
Means test- crown court:
Most defendants receive legal aid. It is free for those with low incomes, and those on higher incomes can receive aid but will have to pay a contri­bution depending on their disposable income. If the defendant is found not guilty then the contri­bution is refunded.
Access to justice requires an open system of justice so that people are able to fund the costs of taking legal action or defending themselves in a criminal case.

Criminal courts

Summary offences:
These are relatively minor offences that are only tried in the magist­rates courts. For example, assault, battery, and motoring offences.
Triabl­e-e­ith­er-way offences:
These are the middle of ‘serio­usn­ess’, they can be tried in both the magist­rates and crown court. They could be S47, S20, or theft.
Indictable offences:
These are the most serious offences, they are tried in the crown court before a judge and jury. These could be murder, mansla­ughter, S18, or robbery.
Jurisd­iction of the magist­rates court:
They try summary offences and some triabl­e-e­ith­er-way offences. They have a prelim­inary hearing for indictable offences to determine bail and legal aid applic­ations. They can also issues arrest and search warrants.
Jurisd­iction of the crown court:
They try indictable offences and some triabl­e-e­ith­er-way offences. They carry out sentencing if sent by the magist­rates court to do so. They also hear appeals from the magist­rates court by defence against conviction and/or sentence.
Appeals from the magist­rates court:
Appeal to the crown court, or appeal by way of case stated law to the admini­str­ative court.
Appeals to the crown court:
Defendant had an automatic right to appeal. If the defendant pleaded guilty then he can only appeal against sentence. The case is completely reheard by a judge and two magist­rates. If there’s a point of law to be decided on then there can be a further case stated appeal to the admini­str­ative court.
Appeal by way of case stated:
Appeals from the crown court:
Allowing an appeal:
Appeals by the prosec­ution:
Appeals to the Supreme Court: