Criminal courts and mental health
Some people who come into contact with the criminal justice system have to go to court. This factsheet looks at the different criminal courts in England and Wales. It explains how they work, how mental health can be considered in court, and the possible outcomes of a court case.
- The 2 types of criminal courts in England and Wales are magistrates’ courts and Crown Courts. All cases start at the magistrates’ court.
- You may see and speak to lots of different professionals. It can be helpful to tell some of these professionals about your mental health.
- You have certain rights when going to court.
- It can help if you know what to expect when you go to court.
- The court should think about how your mental illness might affect you when you’re in court.
- The court should think about your mental health when deciding what your sentence should be.
- You might be able to appeal the court’s decision if you don’t agree with it.
This section covers:
- Why do I have to go to criminal court?
- What are the criminal courts in England and Wales?
- Who’s involved?
- What are my rights at court?
- What happens in court?
- How will the court consider my mental health?
- What can a friend or relative do to help?
- What might happen after going to court?
- What might happen at the end of my court case?
- What sentences consider mental health?
- Can I appeal my conviction or sentence?
- Sample letters
- Flowchart of the criminal justice system
These pages are created by Rethink Mental Illness' Advice and Information Service. Last reviewd June 2017 next review June 2020.
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