Author: Niall Hearty
18 September 2023
2 min read
The Criminal Procedure Rules relate to how matters should be carried out in criminal courts. They cover cases that go to the magistrates’ courts, the Crown Court, the Court of Appeal and, in extradition appeal cases, the High Court. Each part of the Criminal Procedure Rules relates to part of that process.
When someone is accused of a crime, they may be sent a notice, which is known as a summons or a requisition. This tells that person to go to court on a particular date in the notice or to fill in a form that has been sent with the notice and send that form to the court.
Sometimes, however, the person is arrested. This requires those doing the arresting to have an arrest warrant. An arrest warrant is issued by a court to authorise the arrest. The arrested person is questioned and then may be charged; which means they are formally accused of the crime. They will then either be taken to court or given a date when they must go to court.
In the Criminal Procedure Rules, anyone who is accused of a crime is called a defendant. The authority responsible for prosecuting the case in court is called the prosecutor. For most cases, it will be the Crown Prosecution Service that is the prosecutor.
The Criminal Procedure Rules relate to all aspects of the court prosecution process. They explain:
Since coming into force in 2005, the Criminal Procedure Rules have been subject to a number of changes.
Most recently, the introduction of the Criminal Procedure (Amendment No. 2) Rules 2022 was designed to achieve a number of goals, including supplementing the provisions of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 and the Judicial Review and Courts Act 2022.
The 2022 changes to the Criminal Procedure Rules ushered in significant changes in relation to private prosecutions. Read our article The Criminal Procedure Rules in Relation To Private Prosecutions to learn more.
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