Regina v Derby Magistrates Court, ex parte Brooks: 1993

Looking at the court’s power to halt a prosecution as an abuse of process, the court said: ‘The power to stop a prosecution arises only when it is an abuse of a process of the court. It may be an abuse of process if either (a) the prosecution have manipulated or misused the process of the court so as to deprive the defendant of a protection provided by the law or to take unfair advantage of a technicality, or (b) on the balance of probability the defendant has been, or will be, prejudiced in the preparation or conduct of his defence by delay on the part of the prosecution which is unjustifiable.
The ultimate objective of this discretionary power is to ensure that there should be a fair trial according to law, which involves fairness to both the defendant and the prosecution.’ For the magistrates: (Lord Griffiths) If the magistrates appreciate the need to use the jurisdiction sparingly, they can use a power ‘to exercise control over their proceedings through an abuse of process jurisdiction. However, in the case of magistrates this power should be strictly confined to matters directly affecting the fairness of the trial of the particular accused with whom they are dealing, such as delay or unfair manipulation of ‘court procedures.’


Lord Lane CJ, Sir Roger Ormrod, Lord Griffiths


(1994) 80 Crim App R 164


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedRegina v Manchester Stipendiary City Magistrates ex parte Pal Tagger Admn 29-Nov-1996
The defendant appealed his conviction for illegal entry. He complained that after first being proceeded against for illegal working, it was an abuse now to pursue this prosecution.
Held: No abuse had been established, only delay. . .
CitedMaxwell, Regina v SC 20-Jul-2011
The defendant had had his conviction for murder set aside after a finding of gross prosecutorial misconduct by the police. The Court was now asked as to the propriety of the order for a retrial. The police involved in the case had misled the CPS, . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Magistrates, Criminal Evidence

Updated: 07 May 2022; Ref: scu.188240