All offences which can be tried in the Crown Court are known as indictable offences. The most serious indictable offences which must be tried in the Crown Court are known as indictable-only offences. There are other indictable offences, such as theft, which can, but need not, be tried in the Crown Court. These are known as either-way offences. Below the Crown Court, at the lowest rung of the criminal court hierarchy, are the inferior magistrates' courts. Proceedings in magistrates' courts are presided over either by a bench of lay justices of the peace, who sit with a legally qualified clerk, or by a legally qualified stipendiary magistrate. Magistrates' courts try the either-way offences which are not tried in the Crown Court and also summary offences. These are crimes created by statute which must be tried by a magistrates' court. An either-way offence cannot be tried in a magistrates' court unless the accused assents to this and a magistrates' court agrees that the summary procedure is appropriate. If the accused does not consent or the magistrates' court vetoes a summary trial the offence must be tried on indictment in the Crown Court regardless of whether the accused intends to plead guilty or not guilty. The only effect of a guilty plea is to make it unnecessary to empanel a jury in the Crown Court. ...
In the majority of cases the court which convicts an accused also sentences him.
Her Majesty's High Court of Justice (usually known more simply as the High Court) is, together with the Crown Court and the Court of Appeal, part of the Supreme Court of Judicature of England and Wales (which under the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, is to be known as the Senior Courts of England and Wales).
It deals at first instance with all the most high value and high importance cases, and also has a supervisory jurisdiction over all subordinate courts and tribunals. Appeal from the High Court in civil matters lies to the Court of Appeal and thence to the House of Lords, except when the High Court is sitting as a Prize Court when appeal lies to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.
The High Court is based at the Royal Courts of Justice on The Strand, in central London. However, it also sits as 'District Registries' all across England and Wales and virtually all proceedings in the High Court may be issued and heard at a district registry. It is headed by the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales. By convention, all of its male judges are made Knights Bachelor, while all of its female ones are made Dames Commander of the British Empire.
The High Court is split into three main divisions: the Queen's Bench Division, the Chancery Division and the Family Division. The Supreme Court Costs Office is the part of the High Court that deals with legal costs and falls outside these divisions.
If we look at the standard works of constitutional law, the only thing that is agreed is that judicial independence means that High Court judges may not be dismissed without an