SJP Explained

If you or your company find yourself charged with a minor criminal offence, your case may be reviewed by a Magistrate Judge and a decision made without you actually attending court. This process is called a ‘Single Justice Procedure’. You will know if this process applies to you, if you receive a Single Justice Procedure Notice, either through the post or when you are charged.

Within your notice, you will be informed about who has brought the case against you, for example the police. Your Notice will also explain how you can make you plea, for example online or by post. It’s important when you respond to your Single Justice Procedure Notice,  you state whether you wish to plead guilty or not guilty. If you enter a NOT GUILTY plea, you will be issued with a court summons at a later date. The court summons with outline the location, date and time of your upcoming hearing.  You will need to attend your court hearing and present your evidence/case to the Magistrate Judges in person. If you choose to plead GUILTY, you can decide whether or not you wish to attend court. If you decide to not attend court, the Magistrates Judge/s will make a decision in your absence, based on the information/evidence they have to hand at the time. You will be informed of this decision by post. If you opt to attend a court hearing, you will be sent out a court summons in the post, advising you on the date, time and location your hearing is listed. You will then need to attend your hearing and present your case to the judge/s. This is crucial if you are planning on presenting an exceptional hardship argument or a special reasons argument. You can find more information on this in our past article about exceptional hardship and mitigation. 

Single Justice Procedure Notices are time sensitive and you only have 21 days to respond to your notice. If you do not respond within 21 days, the Magistrates Judge/s will make a decision about your case and you will not able to make any input into how they form their decision. This could put you at risk of a higher amount of penalty points and an increased fine. This money could be taken from your wages or benefits. 

If you are unsure why a case has been brought against you, you can call the Courts and Tribunals Service Centre on 0300 303 0656 for information on your case. You will need to have your case refence number to hand, which can be found on your Single Justice Procedure Notice. This helpline is available on Monday to Friday from 8am to 5pm.  

If you wish to attend court and need advice and/or representation for you matter, please call one of our motoring experts on 0330 912 2124. We can assist you from responding to your Single Justice Procedure Notice, to your court hearing. 

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