Court for Crown Cases Reserved

The Court for Crown Cases Reserved was an English appellate court for criminal cases established in 1848[1] to hear references from the trial judge. It did not allow a retrial, only judgment on a point of law. Neither did it create a right of appeal and only a few selected cases were heard every year.[2]

English criminal courts system 1848-1907


The Court for Crown Cases Reserved was created by the Crown Cases Act 1848, introduced in the House of Lords by Lord Campbell. Under the Act, after a conviction, the trial judge in a criminal case could refer the case by way of case stated to the Court. A case that was reserved would then be heard by at least five judges, including at least one Chief Justice or Chief Baron.

The Court could only hear appeals on a point of law; it could quash a conviction, but not order a retrial or alter a sentence.

It was superseded by the Court of Criminal Appeal in 1907.[3]

Notable cases referred to the Court


  1. Crown Cases Act 1848 (11 & 12 Vict. c.78)
  2. Cornish & Clarke (1989) p.35
  3. Cornish & Clarke (1989) p.619


  • Cornish, W.; Clarke, G. (1989). Law and Society in England 1750-1950. London: Sweet & Maxwell. ISBN 0-421-31150-9.