HC Deb 06 March 1992 vol 205 c305W
Sir Michael McNair-Wilson

To ask the Attorney-General what consultation, and with whom, has to take place before a judge can decide to abandon a case; and whether members of the jury are included in such discussions.

The Attorney-General

A trial judge in criminal proceedings may in appropriate circumstances make any one of a range of orders the effect of which is that the whole or part of a prosecution cannot be proceeded with. The most frequently encountered of such orders is a directed acquittal following a submission of "no case to answer" or, under section 17 of the Criminal Justice Act 1967, where the prosecution has offered no evidence. Trial judges also have some inherent powers to stay proceedings and in certain circumstances may order that some or all of the counts in an indictment lie on the file.

The relevant parties to the proceedings are entitled to be heard before any such order is made. The making of any such order is the responsibility of the trial judge alone.