The court considered three appeals where there had been a procedural irregularity, and where the judge had taken some step to overcome that irregularity. In two cases the Crown Court judge had reconstituted himself as a district judge to correct a decision before going on with the case.
Held: The court should consider first whether the irregularity went so far as to remove its jurisdiction. If it did not, and the court could proceed, it should then ask whether there existed a real possibility that one or both parties would suffer a real prejudice if the corrective steps were taken, and last whether it would be just in all the circumstances to go ahead.
The indication of pleas of guilty by counsel on the respondents’ behalves and not by the respondents themselves was a procedural failure which invalidated the steps which followed.
Fulford J said: ‘indeed, these three applications demonstrate how far-reaching the effect of those authorities is likely to be whenever there is a breakdown in the procedures whereby a defendant’s case progresses through the courts (as opposed to the markedly different situation when a court acts without jurisdiction). In our judgment it is now wholly clear that whenever a court is confronted by failure to take a required step, properly or at all, before a power is exercised (‘a procedural failure’), the court should first ask itself whether the intention of the legislature was that any act done following that procedural failure should be invalid. If the answer to that question is no, then the court should go on to consider the interests of justice generally, and most particularly whether there is a real possibility that either the prosecution or the defence may suffer prejudice on account of the procedural failure. If there is such a risk, the court must decide whether it is just to allow the proceedings to continue.
On the other hand, if a court acts without jurisdiction – if, for instance, a magistrates’ court purports to try a defendant on a charge of homicide – then the proceedings will usually be invalid.’
Rose LJ VP, Penry-Davey, Fulford JJ
 EWCA Crim 794, Times 18-Apr-2006,  1 WLR 181
Magistrates Courts Act 1980
England and Wales
Cited – Sekhon, etc v Regina CACD 16-Dec-2002
The defendants appealed against confiscation orders on the basis that in various ways, the Crown had failed to comply with procedural requirements.
Held: The courts must remember the importance of such procedures in the fight against crime, . .
Cited – Project Blue Sky Inc v Australian Broadcasting Authority 28-Apr-1998
(High Court of Australia) ‘In our opinion, the Court of Appeal of New South Wales was correct in Tasker v Fullwood in criticising the continued use of the ‘elusive distinction between directory and mandatory requirements’ and the division of . .
Cited – Regina v Soneji and Bullen HL 21-Jul-2005
The defendants had had confiscation orders made against them. They had appealed on the basis that the orders were made more than six months after sentence. The prosecutor now appealed saying that the fact that the order were not timely did not . .
Cited – Regina v Bullock CCA 1964
The appellant was granted leave to move for an order of certiorari to quash the decision of the quarter sessions and the Court of Criminal Appeal then sat as a Divisional Court to hear the motion. Quarter sessions had no jurisdiction to commit an . .
Cited – Director of Public Prosecutions, Regina (on the Application of) v Everest Admn 24-May-2005
The defendant had lit a bonfire. The smoke left his garden and blew across the road. An accident occurred. The prosecution appealed dismissal of a charge against him on the ground that they sought an amended charge after closure of their case and it . .
Cited – Regina v Cain HL 1985
The sentencing judge had exceeded his powers by making a criminal bankruptcy order. S40 appeared to deny a right of appeal against such an order.
Held: There is a strong presumption that except by specific provision the legislature will not . .
Cited – Regina v Scunthorpe Justices ex parte McPhee and Gallagher Admn 24-Feb-1998
The defendant faced a charge of robbery. More than six months after the alleged offence the prosecution sought to add alternate charges including one of common assault. The magistrates declined jurisdiction on the ground that, more than six months . .
Cited – Ladd v Marshall CA 29-Nov-1954
Conditions for new evidence on appeal
At the trial, the wife of the appellant’s opponent said she had forgotten certain events. After the trial she began divorce proceedings, and informed the appellant that she now remembered. He sought either to appeal admitting fresh evidence, or for . .
Cited – Regina v A S CACD 20-Jan-1997
The defendant appealed against convictions for several sexual offences. The alleged victim had originally denied that any offending had taken place. The defendant denied that anything had happened. He complained now that the court had accepted in . .
Cited – Clarke, Regina v; Regina v McDaid HL 6-Feb-2008
An indictment had not been signed despite a clear statutory provision that it should be. The defects were claimed to have been cured by amendment before sentence.
Held: The convictions failed. Sections 1(1) and 2(1) of the 1933 Act which . .
Cited – Westminster City Council v Owadally and Another Admn 17-May-2017
Defendant must plea to charge, and not counsel
The defendants had, through their barrister, entered pleas of guilty, but the crown court had declared the convictions invalid because this had to have been done by the defendants personally, and remitted the cases and the confiscation proceedings . .
These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 28 January 2021; Ref: scu.240364