If the government is satisfied that the ordinary courts are inadequate to secure the effective administration of justice and preservation of public peace and order, Special Criminal Courts may be established. Special Criminal Courts are non-jury courts.
When the government is satisfied that the administration of justice or preservation of peace and order in relation to offences of a particular type so require, they are deemed to be scheduled offences. Attempting, conspiring, or inciting the commission of or aiding or abetting the commission of a scheduled offence is itself a scheduled offence.
The Special Criminal Court has much of the same powers as other criminal courts. There is no jury. The Special Criminal Court consists of three judges. Generally, it comprises judges or persons – eligible to be appointed as judges of the Supreme Court, High Court, Circuit Court, or District Court.
The Special Criminal Court verdicts are by a majority, but whether the decision is unanimous or not is not disclosed.
Persons may be brought before the District Court, charges and sent for trial to the Special Criminal Court. The DPP may require a person to be sent forward to the Special Criminal Court by the District Court for trial in relation to a scheduled offence.
If a person charged before the District Court with a non-scheduled offence may if the DPP requests and certifies that the ordinary courts are inadequate to secure the effective administration of justice and preservation of public peace, the DPP may require that he is send forward to the Special Criminal Court.
Where a person is charged with a scheduled offence before the District Court, the DPP may direct that he be brought before the Special Criminal Court and charged there. The same applies in respect of a non-scheduled offence in respect of which the DPP certifies that the effect of administration of justice and preservation of peace and order so require.
There are equivalent powers by which person sent for trial to the Central Criminal Court or Circuit Court may on the application of the DPP be transferred for trial to the Special Criminal Court.