Where proceedings were initiated in the Crown Court following an allegation of a breach of the criminal law, an overall view of the proceedings was appropriate and not an order-by-order analysis to determine whether they remained a criminal cause under s.18(1)(a) Supreme Court Act 1981 which could not be appealed to the Court of Appeal.The appellant (X) appealed against a High Court decision that the Crown Court had acted without jurisdiction. In February 2001 X appeared before the Crown Court charged with the murder of his sister-in-law. The medical evidence was that X was suffering from a mental disorder for the purposes of the Mental Health Act 1983. A jury found that X was unfit to stand trial. A second jury determined that X had done the act charged against him as the offence. The Crown Court ought then to have made an order under s.5(2)(a) Criminal Procedure (Insanity) Act 1964 (as amended by the Criminal Procedures (Insanity and Unfitness to Plead) Act 1991) that X be admitted to a hospital as specified by the secretary of state. However, the Crown Court was mistakenly referred to s.47 Crime (Sentences) Act 1997 and in error, made an order under that section ordering that X be detained at Newton Lodge Regional Secure Unit. A further error then occurred in that an officer of the court issued the order in a form that did not accord with the Crown Court's order. After admission to Newton Lodge, both the respondent (NHS Trust) and the secretary of state discovered the error. Consequently, the NHS Trust applied for judicial review of the Crown Court's decision. The High Court held that the Crown Court's order was ultra vires but despite that it remained in force and was not void until it was set aside. In the circumstances, the High Court remitted the matter to the Crown Court. X appealed on a number of bases. However, a question arose as to whether the Court of Appeal had jurisdiction to hear the appeal. X submitted that the present proceedings were not "in a criminal cause or matter" under s.18(1)(a) Supreme Court Act 1981. He maintained that once he had been found unfit to stand trial, the criminal trial had come to an end. The proceedings that followed simply concerned the question of his detention in a hospital, which was a non-punitive procedure, and therefore, not criminal matters.HELD: The appeal to the High Court was an appeal in a "criminal cause or matter" as defined by s.18(1)(a) of the 1981 Act. Where proceedings were initiated in the Crown Court following an allegation of a breach of the criminal law, an overall view of the proceedings was appropriate and not an order-by-order analysis (Amand v Home Secretary and Minister of Defence of Royal Netherlands Government (1943) AC 148). The Crown Court orders under consideration did not cease to be orders in a "criminal cause or matter" because the statute empowered the court to make a custodial order in the absence of a conviction. Therefore, it followed that in the present case, given the criminal nature of the matter, the Court of Appeal did not have jurisdiction to hear the appeal.Appeal dismissed

[2003] EWCA Civ 1857

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