A brief explanation of the 'no case to answer' principle and how it operates in the courts.
How is no case to answer applied in criminal cases?
No case to answer is where the defence requests a dismissal of a case from the judge following the prosecution laying their evidence against the defendant. Essentially, it is a request to dismiss the case on the basis that the prosecution’s evidence is insufficient for a conviction. The request is made at the ‘half-time’ of the case – subsequent to the prosecution’s evidence, but before the defendant’s submissions.
The test for no case to answer is found in the case of R v Galbraith. The first instance in which a no case to answer request will be allowed is when there is no evidence that the defendant committed a crime. The second instance is where the evidence is vague, inconsistent or tenuous. The consideration for the judge is whether a properly directed jury could find the defendant guilty with the evidence as it appears. If they could not, the case will be dismissed. This decision is at the discretion of the judge.
The prosecutor may choose to appeal the judge’s decision; however, a successful appeal is ordinarily highly unlikely, as the courts will attempt to refrain from interfering with a judge’s factual findings.
R v Galbraith  1 WLR 1039