Single Justice Procedure Notices

A Single Justice Procedure Notice is used by the police to bring proceedings for a range driving offences. These offences are usually straightforward and can be dealt with by a magistrate (the Single Justice); they include charges such as careless driving, speeding offences, driving without insurance and using a phone while driving.

Since 13th April 2015 these have been issued in place of a summons or postal requisition to deal with certain offences more efficiently; if you have received one it is important to seek legal advice early to make sure that you understand the implications and what is expected of you. You will need to decide whether you are going to plead guilty or not guilty to the charge. Brian Koffman & Co Solicitors have a team of motoring offence specialists who are experts in this area of the law and are ready to help you.

Why was the Single Justice Procedure Notices Introduced?

The Single Procedure Notice was introduced in an attempt to save time and strain on the court system. Before this, every offence, no matter the size or severity, was given a court hearing date. Under the new system, some cases which will not result in a custodial sentence can be dealt with.

What Offences can be dealt with by a Single Justice Procedure Notice?

An offence that doesn’t need a formal hearing and will not end in a prison sentence can be dealt with by a Single Justice Procedure. These include:

  • Speeding
  • Driving without insurance
  • Driving without due care and attention
  • Failing to give information regarding the identification of a driver.
  • Using a mobile phone while driving
  • Careless Driving

How will I receive a Single Justice Procedure Notice?

You should receive your Single Justice Procedure Notice through the post within 6 months of committing the offence. It will be accompanied by the charge itself, a Plea Form and a Means Form. It is vital that you read and understand all of the paperwork that you receive, and you must respond within 21 days of the posting date.  This is the ideal time to get in touch with us – if you are struggling with the documents, or to understand the charge (or charges) against you, we will advise you on the best course of action to take. We can also respond on your behalf if you wish us to – we understand that it can be a difficult process if you’re not familiar with it, but it’s what we do best.

Understanding your Single Justice Procedure Notice

When you receive your notice, it is important to fully understand the information on it. It will include:

  • The details of the police force issuing the notice
  • The name and address of the person the notice is issued to. It is important that only the person named on the notice responds; if it is in your name, you should respond personally. You can authorise us to respond on your behalf if you would prefer.
  • The charge or charges that are being brought against you. It is important that you read and fully understand these charges.
  • The date of posting – this is important. If the date of posting is more than 6 months from the date that the offence is committed, you may be able to challenge it. Again, this is legally quite complex, and it is advisable to seek legal advice on how to deal with this.

What can I expect and how is will the offence be dealt with?

  • In writing – you will present your plea in writing, either online or by post.
  • You don’t need to attend a courtroom - the majority of cases take place in an office.
  • There will be just one magistrate and a trained legal adviser.
  • At an unspecified time – you will not necessarily be given a date when your case will be considered.
  • Prosecutors, police officers, defendants and witnesses are not allowed to be present.

How should I plead?

You need to decide how you are going to plead – choosing the correct plea for your particular circumstance is extremely important and will have an impact on the outcome of your case and associated costs. There are three options open to you:

Guilty (I do not wish to come to court)

This is the option if you accept the charges and are happy to have the matter decided in your absence. You will be notified of the outcome. It is possible that the court may request that you appear if they are considering an instant disqualification, or if the penalty points awarded will take you a total of 12 at least points, which could trigger a 6-month ban.

Guilty (I wish to attend court)

This option means that you accept the charge but wish to avoid a ban or to mitigate your case in person before a court. If you dispute the circumstances or any detail of the charge then this is the correct option to choose, but legal advice is crucial – your solicitor will be able to ascertain the best line of defence, for example, whether a special reasons submission would be appropriate.     

Not guilty

You do not accept the charge and wish to defend yourself against it. It is essential that you understand legally what this entails; contact us immediately for help to formulate your case.

If you are not sure how to plead, you need legal advice now – do not risk missing the 21 day window to respond, or you risk being found guilty by default and penalised accordingly. Even if you intend to plead guilty it’s wise to take legal advice, as one of our motoring offence specialists may be able to mitigate your case, giving you the greatest chance of reducing the penalty or fine you are given.

Can I be disqualified from driving under the Single Justice Procedure?

No. If it seems likely that you are going to lose your licence or be disqualified then your case will be referred, and you will receive a court summons to a full magistrate hearing. You will need to appear in court to mitigate your case – if you find yourself in this situation get in touch with us. We will work with you to ensure you get the best outcome under the circumstances.

Whan will the Single Justice not deal with my case?

There are certain cases that cannot be dealt with by Single Justice Procedure, as the aim is to deal quickly with straightforward cases. These include:

  • If you plead not guilty. Not guilty pleas are automatically referred on for trial.
  • If you request a full-court hearing.
  • If (as above) it looks likely that you may be disqualified from driving, or that the points you are likely to be given will take you to or over 12 points, your case will be referred on, as the Single Justice does not have the power to disqualify you.

What will happen if I miss the 21-day time limit, or fail to respond at all?

If you fail to respond the case will be heard in your absence – without any information from you as to what happened. This can lead to significantly higher fines than you would have received had you responded; there is a discount applied if you plead guilty and the fine will be based on your earnings, which you should supply on the Means Form. If you miss the deadline for any reason you need to seek advice – you will need to contact the court as soon as you can to let them know what has happened.

How can we help at Motoring Offence Solicitors?

We understand that receiving a Single Justice Procedure Notice can be stressful; if you have never received one before it can feel overwhelming and you may not know how to proceed. That’s why getting the best legal advice is essential. Brian Koffman & Co offer the best Motoring Law defence advocacy and are widely recognised as being in the top rank of criminal solicitors in the North West.  Our Road Traffic Offence team give top-rated legal advice based on our years of expertise and experience – we’d love to help you achieve the best outcome possible in your case.

Contact us

If you now need expert advice or representation. Motoring Offence Solicitors offer the very best privately funded defence advocacy to clients in Manchester and across the UK.  Call our team today on 0161 832 3852 or complete the enquiry form on the right-hand side of this page.

Motoring Offence Solicitors offer the very best privately funded legal representation to clients accused of driving offences in Manchester and across the UK.