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What is a Single Justice Procedure Notice?

June 29, 2018 by in category Failing To, News, Speeding with 0 and 0

Since 13th April 2015, Single Justice Procedure Notices have been issued to adults charged with summary-only non imprisonable offences such as speeding or failing to stop and/or report an accident.

The notice outlines details of the offence, the option to submit your plea and the consequences of failing to respond. The notice should include some evidence from the prosecution, which they will rely upon to prove their case.

The written charge and the Single Justice Procedure Notice must be issued ‘at the same time’ and within 6 months of the offence. The date of the offence is excluded from calculating the 6 month period.

The Single Justice Procedure allows for cases to be dealt with by a single magistrate ‘on the papers’, meaning they will only look at the written charge, the notice itself as well as any mitigation submitted to the court when the notice is returned in a guilty plea is communicated. Neither the prosecution nor any defence advocates are required to attend court for the matter to be dealt with by this procedure although there are exceptions to this outlined below.

When returning the notice to the court, you are able to submit your plea:

  1. Guilty (I do not wish to come to court) – you accept that you have committed the offence and are willing to accept the penalties imposed by post.
  2. Guilty (I wish to attend court) – whilst you accept that you have committed the offence, you wish for the matter to be heard at a court hearing where you can attend and present your mitigation to the court.
  3. Not Guilty – you wish to dispute the allegations against you, and request a trial date to be set to present your defence.

Can I be disqualified without attending court?

In motoring cases, where disqualification may be an option the court will consider as a penalty in your case, the court would issue a summons for you to attend court. A single magistrate could not impose a period of disqualification ‘on the papers’.

Recent changes however, mean that you may now receive a notice of proposed disqualification. This may be received where you plead guilty or fail to respond to the notice. The magistrate may believe you should be disqualified, often because you may be a “totter” where you will be accumulating 12 or more points within a 3 year period, or the offence committed is serious enough to warrant disqualification.

Upon receipt of a notice of proposed disqualification, you have a couple of options available to you:

  1. Ignore the notice – this would allow the court to disqualify you without the need to attend court; or
  2. Respond and request a full hearing – a disqualification may not be the only option available to the court. We always recommend that you ask the court for a full hearing for the best chance of having any influence on the court’s decision. In our experience, written representations simply do not have the same impact as a skilled and experienced advocate presenting the arguments in person.

How can Geoffrey Miller Solicitors help you?

At Geoffrey Miller Solicitors, we understand the impact that a driving disqualification can have. Our expert knowledge of this area of law, combined with our selected advocates who attend court with you will ensure that you receive the best possible outcome. This depends on whether you are at risk of a totting up ban or a ban for the offence itself.

Totting Up Ban – if you amass 12 points within a 3 year period, the court will look to impose a minimum 6 month ban. We can assist in these cases by presenting ‘exceptional hardship’ arguments which centre around the impact such a ban will have on you and those connected to you (usually family/colleagues).

Serious offences – Some offences carry an option for the court to either impose penalty points or a discretionary period of disqualification. For example if you were caught speeding at 80mph in a 30mph zone. The courts have discretion in the sentence they can impose and are likely to impose a ban for such excessive speed. Depending on your circumstances and whether you wish to aim for a ban or penalty points being imposed, we can advise you on your case and present the best case to the court accordingly.

If you receive a Single Justice Procedure Notice or a notice of proposed disqualification, please contact our legal team at Geoffrey Miller Solicitors for expert advice on your next steps from here.

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