Crown Court Compendium

Update June 2022

The main aim of this Compendium is to provide guidance on directing the jury in Crown Court trials and when sentencing, though it contains some practical suggestions in other areas, for example jury management, which it is hoped will be helpful.

The Compendium is intended to replace all of the guidance previously provided by the Judicial College and its predecessor the Judicial Studies Board namely: the ‘Specimen Directions to the Jury’ in the Crown Court Bench Book published in March 2010; the Companion to the Bench Book published in October 2011; and part II of the Companion, dealing with sentencing, published in January 2013.  This Compendium seeks to combine the perceived strengths of all these previous publications, so that further reference to them is not necessary. Its format and contents have been guided by the wide-reaching survey referred to in the Foreword (April 2016).

We appreciate that the users of this Compendium will have widely differing degrees of experience in trying and sentencing in Crown Court cases. We have sought be inclusive, and therefore to meet the needs of the most inexperienced Recorder. We appreciate that some the Compendium’s contents will cover areas of law, practice and procedure already well known to more experienced hands, and will therefore be more helpful to some than to others. We also appreciate that some Judges and Recorders will have developed their own practices, procedures and formulae for summing up with which they feel comfortable and which they prefer to those suggested in this Compendium. We have sought to provide useful guidance, but not to be at all prescriptive.

The Compendium consists of two separate parts. Part I deals with jury and trial management and summing up. Part II deals with sentencing in the Crown Court.