Indictable Offence in England and Wales

In England and Wales, an indictable offence, also known as a indictable-only offence or an offence triable only on indictment, refers to a more serious criminal offence that can only be tried in the Crown Court. Indictable offences are typically more severe in nature and carry higher maximum penalties compared to summary offences.

Indictable offences encompass a wide range of serious criminal acts, including murder, rape, robbery, serious fraud, drug trafficking, and large-scale theft. These offences often involve more complex legal and factual issues, and they generally require a more formal and lengthy legal process, including a trial by jury.

When a person is charged with an indictable offence, his case is typically heard in the Crown Court before a judge and jury. The jury is responsible for determining guilt or innocence based on the evidence presented during the trial. The judge provides guidance on matters of law, and the jury's decision must be reached by a unanimous or majority verdict, depending on the specific circumstances.

The penalties for indictable offences are generally more severe and can include substantial fines, long-term imprisonment, life imprisonment, or other custodial sentences. The Crown Court has wider sentencing powers compared to the Magistrates' Court, which primarily handles summary offences.

It is important to note that some offences may have a hybrid or either-way nature, meaning they can be tried either summarily in the Magistrates' Court or on indictment in the Crown Court, depending on factors such as the seriousness of the offence, the defendant's criminal history, or the decision of the prosecution.
Back to blog

UOL Case Bank

Upon joining, you become a valuable UOL student and gain instant access to over 2,100 case summaries. UOL Case Bank is constantly expanding. Speed up your revision with us now.

Subscribe Now

Where are our students from?

Yale University
Council of Europe
Baker Mckenzie 
University of Chicago
Columbia University
New York University
University of Michigan 
University College London (UCL)
London School of Economics (LSE)
King’s College London (KCL)
University of London
University of Manchester
University of Zurich
University of York
Brandeis University
University of Exeter
University of Sheffield
Boston University
University of Washington
University of Leeds
University of Law
Royal Holloway, University of London 
Birkbeck, University of London
SOAS, University of London
University of Kent
University of Hull
Queen’s University Belfast
Toronto Metropolitan University
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
University of Buckingham
ESSEC Business School

  • Criminal Practice

    Diagrams and Charts

    Our carefully designed diagrams and charts will guide you through complex legal issues.

  • Criminal Law

    Clear and Succinct Definitions

    Key concepts are concisely defined to help you understand legal topics quickly.

  • Property Law

    Statutory Provisions

    Statutory provisions are provided side by side with legal concepts to help you swiftly locate the relevant legislation.

  • Public Law

    Case Summaries

    We have summarised important cases for you so that you don't need to read long and boring cases.

  • Evidence

    Rules and Exceptions

    Rules and exceptions are clearly listed so that you know when a rule applies and when it doesn't.

  • Company Law


    Legal terms and key concepts are explained at the beginning of each chapter to help you learn efficiently.

  • Case Law

    Case law is provided side by side with legal concepts so that you know how legal principles and precedents were established.

  • Law Exam Guide

    Law Essay Guide

    You will learn essential law exam skills and essay writing techniques that are not taught in class.

  • Law Exam Guide

    Problem Question Guide

    We will show you how to answer problem questions step by step to achieve first-class results.

  • Conflict of Laws

    Structured Explanations

    Complex legal concepts are broken down into concise and digestible bullet point explanations.

  • Legal System and Method

    Legal Research

    You will learn legal research techniques with our study guide and become a proficient legal researcher.

  • Jurisprudence and Legal Theory


    All essential concepts, principles, and case law are included so that you can answer exam questions quickly.