Pre-trial procedure


1. This section sets out the law and legal procedures, which an inspector must consider at the pre-trial stage, including:

  • jurisdiction;
  • laying an information;
  • serving a summons;
  • initial details of the prosecution case; and
  • preparation for court.

Offences committed after 12th March 2015

2. Section 85 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 came into force on 12th March 2015. This has the effect of increasing the level of fine available for Magistrates Courts to an unlimited fine (previously £20,000 for most health and safety offences). However, the increase will only apply in respect of offences committed after 12th March 2015.

3. The Criminal Practice Direction has been amended by (the Criminal Practice Direction (Amendment No. 2) 2014) so that for offences committed after the 12th March 2015 an authorised District Judge must deal with any allocation decision, trial and sentencing hearing including in;

  • Cases involving death or significant, life changing injury or a high risk of death or significant, life‐changing injury;
  • Cases where the defendant corporation has a turnover in excess of £10 million but does not exceed £250 million, and has acted in a deliberate, reckless or negligent manner;
  • Cases where the defendant corporation has a turnover in excess of £250 million;
  • Cases where the court will be expected to analyse complex company accounts;
  • High profile cases or ones of an exceptionally sensitive nature.

4. Many of HSE's more serious cases are likely to come within these types of cases.

5. HSE should inform the justices' clerk where practicable of any case of the type mentioned above, no less than 7 days before the first hearing to ensure that an authorised District Judge is available at the first hearing.

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Updated 2020-09-07