Court for Crown Cases Reserved

The Court for Crown Cases Reserved, also known as the Court for Criminal Cases Reserved, was established in 1848 in England and Wales by the Crown Cases Act. This appellate court had a specific function – to hear references from trial judges in criminal cases. Unlike modern appeals, it did not permit retrials; its sole authority was to provide judgment on points of law. The court selected only a limited number of cases for consideration each year.

The creation of this court was facilitated by the Crown Cases Act 1848, which was presented in the House of Lords by Lord Campbell. According to the provisions of this act, following a criminal conviction, the trial judge had the authority to refer the case to the Court for Crown Cases Reserved by way of a case stated. Once a case was reserved, it was brought before a panel of at least five judges from the superior courts of common law, including at least one of the following: the Lord Chief Justice, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, or Chief Baron of the Exchequer. The court's jurisdiction was limited to addressing points of law, and it possessed the power to annul a conviction but lacked the authority to order retrials or modify sentences.

The Court for Crown Cases Reserved served its function until 1907 when it was superseded by the establishment of the new Court of Criminal Appeal. The successor court, with an expanded scope and enhanced powers, marked a shift in the appellate structure for criminal cases in England and Wales. This historical context underscores the evolution of the appellate framework in the English legal system and highlights the role played by the Court for Crown Cases Reserved during its existence.
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