HL Deb 15 December 1999 vol 608 c39WA
Lord Windlesham

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Which offences triable either way in the magistrates' courts or on indictment in the Crown Court were re-classified as summary only in 1988; and whether there has been any further re-classification since that date; and [HL248]

What has been the estimated effect of reclassifying either-way offences as summary only offences on the number of defendants committed for trial in the Crown Court. [HL249]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bassam of Brighton)

The Criminal Justice Act 1988 reclassified, from 12 October 1988, the following offences from triable either way to summary: common assault; unauthorised taking of a motor vehicle; criminal damage below a specified value (set at £2,000, and later increased to £5,000); and driving while disqualified.

It is estimated that the reclassification resulted in a 5 per cent fall (or about 5,500) between 1988 and 1989 in the number of persons tried at the Crown Court. There has been no subsequent reclassification of offences as summary only.