Have you received a “ Single Justice Procedure notice”?
It will probably be pages in length, asking you to enter a plea to a certain offence or offences, and you possibly don’t have a clue what to do or how to complete the notice.
Don’t Ignore the Notice, act on it as soon as you receive it. The Notice is the commencement of the legal proceedings against you, and if you do not respond there is a significant chance that the case against you could be proven in your absence.
The Single Justice Procedure is designed to try and expedite motoring cases, by making the system more efficient. Our experiences of the system is that it has some fundamental flaws in it, and the matter has to be managed very carefully.
If your case progresses through this system, it will mean that there will not actually be a formal court hearing. Rather, a single magistrate sitting alone will decide what sentence you should receive. I
Indeed, if the Court has not heard from you, this might mean that the single magistrate may even convict you and sentence you, without knowing a thing about you.
So the process is as follows:
- You receive the single justice procedure notice
- You respond to it
- You can plead guilty or not guilty
- Either way, you are entitled to ask for a full court hearing, which the court CANNOT refuse
Can I just ignore the sjp notice?
No. By ignoring the notice, you are running a significant risk of being convicted of that offence, and receiving penalty points, without even being in the court room.
Could I be convicted/sentenced by the single justice procedure
Yes. If you plead guilty, and the offence is not that serious, then the single justice procedure may well deal with your case, with a minimum of fuss. You will receive notification from the court as to what sentence you have received.
If you do not respond to the notice and if the court is satisfied that there has been good service of the documents upon you ( that the paperwork has been sent in the post to your last known address), then the SJP may well convict you and impose penalty points upon your licence and a fine upon you.
Could the SJP procedure disqualify me?
No. That is one thing the procedure itself could not do. If the single magistrate is of the view that there is a chance you could be disqualified from driving, either due to the amount of points on your licence, or due to the serious nature of the case itself, then the court is obliged to write to you, warning that you are at risk of receiving a driving disqualification, and providing you with a court hearing date.
Can I ask for the case to come out of the SJP?
Yes you can. You may have committed the offence but wish to try to avoid penalty points on your licence, by putting forward a “Special Reason” argument. Or, you may be of the view that you have not committed the offence and wish to stand trial. Alternatively, you might feel that you would like to put forward your explanation to the court, rather than simply writing in to the SJP procedure.
Whatever the reasoning behind it, if the defendant insists on the matter being transferred to the Magistrates Court itself, the court has to do that.
What happens if I want to plead guilty but I already have 9 points plus on my driving licence?
In this type of situation, you are perfectly entitled to plead guilty to the offence online. However, as soon as the Single Justice sees the state of your licence, you will receive a letter from the court, warning you of a possible driving disqualification and asking you to attend court.
Could I instruct James Murray to write to the Single Justice to explain my offending?
Yes. For as little as £200 plus Vat, we will take your instructions and draft a letter of mitigation which ultimately will be sent to the court. We will also liaise with the Court to find out the outcome of the case and will notify you of the result.
Call James Murray Solicitors today on 0151 933 3333