The Single Justice Procedure Notice (SJPN) is a process which came into force in 2015 with the objective of reducing the number of cases which resulted in a Magistrates’ Court Hearing. The SJP Notice is usually used in less serious Road Traffic Offences such as speeding and careless driving.
Once a person has been charged, if the Court considers the offence suitable under the Single Justice Procedure, a Defendant will receive the SJPN in the post.
The SJPN enables the Court to sentence some Defendants without having a Court Hearing, in essence this system enables the Court to deal with more cases quickly as a physical Court Hearing is avoided.
Time Limit on Responding to a SJPN
The Single Justice Procedure Notice will need to be completed within 21 days. The SJP Notice can be completed manually and posted back to the specified address or completed online the “Make a Plea” page on the Government website.
What Are My Options?
All SJP Notices provide the recipient with three options:
Option 1: Guilty – I do not want to come to Court
Option 2: Guilty – I want to come to Court
Option 3: Not Guilty – Send me the date for my trial
The correct option to choose will depend upon the offence you have been charged with, the evidence in the case and the desired outcome. If you are unsure of which option to select, you may wish to speak with one of our specialist Driving Offence Solicitors on 0345 222 9955 for an indication of the possible repercussions of each option.
If you decide to select Option 1 (Guilty – I do not want to come to Court) it is usually helpful to include short mitigation about the offence and your personal background, as this will be taken into consideration when the Court is making a decision upon the appropriate sentence (punishment) to impose.
Do I have to attend Court?
The SJP notice is a standard form which is sent out on a variety of cases, and in many cases, it is still sent out on cases which are unsuitable for the SJP scheme.
As an example, a person may have a clean driving licence and is caught travelling at grossly excessive speeds on a motorway, in this example a person may be caught travelling at 106mph on a motorway. Due to the very high speed, the Court is likely to impose a driving disqualification for the offence, and because a driving ban is a very realistic sentence the Court would need to call the driver into Court. Motorists in this example will still receive the SJP and may even select Option 1 (Guilty – I do not want to come to Court) however, they will still be called to attend Court for sentence.
In theory the system would work well however, in practice the SJP Notice leaves many Defendants somewhat confused.
If a person selects Option 2: Guilty (I want to come to Court) or Option 3: Not Guilty (Send me the date for my trial) the Court should then provide a Defendant with a Court date where attendance will be required either for Sentence or Trial.
Should I appoint a Specialist Lawyer?
If you are unsure of which option to select, you should appoint a specialist lawyer so that you make the correct decision. If you select Option 2: Guilty – I want to come to Court or Option 3: Not Guilty – Send me the date for my trial a Court Hearing date will be generated and you will certainly have a higher chance of securing your desired result if you attend Court with a qualified and experienced lawyer in your corner.
If you would like to discuss any aspect of the Single Justice Procedure Notice, please call our solicitors on 0345 222 9955 or complete our Contact Form for a no obligation telephone conversation with one of our lawyers.
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