Do you have a case at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court? What can you expect when you get there?
Highbury Corner Magistrates Court is situated on Holloway Road, just north of Highbury and Islington station. There are numerous buses and trains that will get you there. You can find more details on the TFL website.
Adults who have been arrested and detained, at Holborn Police Station, Islington Police Station, Brewery Road British Transport Police Station, Wood Green Police Station, and Edmonton Police Station will appear there.
If you have been sent a written requisition after an interview under caution at any of those stations, or for example at Kentish Town Police Station or Hornsey Police Station, you will also appear there.
Youths who have been dealt with at any of these police stations (and others in West London) will also appear there.
If you have to go to court, it is a good idea to speak to a solicitor beforehand, and see if you can get legal aid. You can read more about that here. If for any reason you are unwell and cannot attend, you should contact the court.
When you get to court
When you get to court, you will need to pass through the security checks. Once inside the building, you will see the court lists on the wall on the right-hand side. They will tell you which court you are appearing in. If you cannot find your name, go to the office on the ground floor and they will tell you. Courts 1 – 6 are upstairs, Courts 7 and 8 are in front of you and Court 9 is to the right. Courts 10 and 11 are the Youth Courts which are to the right and upstairs.
When the court room opens, the list caller will come out. You need to check in with the list caller, so they know that you are at court. Your solicitor will meet you outside the court room. You can discuss the case with them and they can advise you. Your solicitor will be able to get some paperwork from the prosecutor. This is called the IDPC (Initial Disclosure of the Prosecution Case). This should include a case summary, details of the key witnesses and a summary of your interview. If you have previous convictions, there will be a list of them in the IDPC.
How long will I have to wait?
Cases are heard in the order they are ready, not the order they appear on the list. Custody cases will be given priority. Monday is often the busiest day because there will be a lot of custody cases.
When your case is called into court, in most courtrooms you will sit in the open dock if you are on bail. If you are in custody you will be in the enclosed dock. If you have friends or family with you, they can sit in the public gallery.
Guilty or not guilty?
You will be asked to stay standing until you have given your name, date of birth, address and nationality. If it is your first appearance, you will be asked if you are pleading guilty or not guilty, unless you are charged with a serious offence such as murder or robbery that must be sent to the Crown Court. What happens after that will depend on whether you are pleading guilty or not guilty.
If you plead not guilty, your case will be adjourned for your trial to take place. This will be on another date. It might take place in the Magistrates Court or in the Crown Court, depending on the seriousness of the charge. In some cases, you will be given the choice of where you want your trial to take place.
If you plead guilty, or you are found guilty after a trial, you will be sentenced. The Magistrates will hear a summary of the facts from the prosecutor. You will then have a chance to put forward your mitigation, either yourself or through your solicitor. You might have to have a pre-sentence report prepared. This will involve you speaking to a member of the probation service, who will discuss what happened and your personal circumstances then write a report to help the District Judge or Magistrates decide on the appropriate sentence.
You will be given a means form to complete, showing your income and expenditure, in case you are fined. Everyone who pleads guilty or is found guilty also has to pay the victim surcharge. Most people have to pay some of the prosecution costs. The victim surcharge does not go to individual victims of crime, it is used to pay for various organisations who support victims of crime and their families, and witnesses. If your case has caused loss or injury to someone, you may be ordered to pay compensation. That is paid to the court, and then sent directly to that person.
If you cannot afford to pay your fine in one go, you can ask for time to pay, usually in instalments. For people on benefits, the money can be deducted directly from your benefit payment.
How can we help?
If you need specialist advice in relation to any criminal investigation or prosecution, from the initial investigation through to court proceedings, at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court or any other court, please get in touch. Call John Howey on 020 7388 1658 or email email@example.com. Let us help.