Why does Manchester have two Crown Courts?

The short answer is that it is due to the number of cases being heard.

Crown Square

Manchester Crown Court (Crown Square) just off Bridge Street is the main Crown Court for cases from Manchester, Salford, Trafford & Manchester Airport. Built in 1962, it has sixteen courtrooms and the current Resident Judge at Crown Square is the Recorder of Manchester, His Honour Judge David Stockdale QC. Defendants or witnesses arriving at Manchester Piccadilly Train Station can take the free bus No.1 or No.2 Metroshuttle outside to drop you off outside Spinningfields which is next to Crown Square. It is not as easily served by Trams with either Exchange Square (outside the Arndale Centre) or St Peters Square both being a few minutes walk away, perhaps not suitable for those with difficulties walking. Salford Central train station is within walking distance, or Deansgate Train Station at the other end of Deansgate.

Minshull Street

Manchester Crown Court (Minshull Street often mistakenly referred to as Minstrel Street) is near to Piccadilly Train Station and was originally built in 1868-71 as the City of Police Courts. It was closed after the Crown Square Opened, but a refurbishment program started in 1993 and the upgraded building opened in 1996, and since has worked in tandem to its sister court. It is ideally served by trams/buses from Piccadilly Gardens or trams/trains from Piccadilly Train Station. Its nine courtrooms handling the most serious criminal cases from Tameside, Stockport, Bury and Rochdale areas of Greater Manchester. The current Resident Judge at Minshull Street Crown Court is His Honour Judge John Potter.

Burton Copeland have been acting on behalf of clients appearing at both courts for over 40 years. We have been instructing members of the independent bar from Manchester’s elite sets of barristers chambers, seeking the expertise of counsel from London and nationwide to successfully defend cases involving conspiracy to defraud, joint enterprise murder, historical sexual offences and knife point robberies. Our team and individual skills are recognised by The Times as one of the Best Law Firms 2019, the Legal500 and building upon previous recognition and with the crime team winners at previous Manchester Legal Awards in 2010, 2014 and individual winners in 2014 and 2017.

Will I appear at the Crown Court straight away?

Highly unlikely, defendants charged with an offence will be either bailed or remanded into custody and will make their first appearance before the Magistrates Court. The circumstances where somebody appears at the Crown Court first are extremely rare. Even someone charged with murder would have to make a first appearance at the Magistrates' Court before their case is sent to the Crown Court.

So will my case go to the Crown Court?

Only the most serious cases are sent to the Crown Court for trial and/or sentence. For an adult even if the Magistrates decide that a case is suitable to be dealt with summarily in the Magistrates Court, the defendant for either-way offences still has a right to elect a crown court trial by a jury of their peers. Alternatively if they appeal any conviction and/or sentence from the Magistrates' or Youth Courts.

What if my case is in a different area such as Cheshire/Lancashire/London etc?

Burton Copeland are criminal law specialists and handle all of the most seriousness cases throughout England & Wales and regularly deal with cases throughout London & Birmingham through to Carlisle and Newcastle-upon-Tyne. If you have any concerns or need advice please contact us