A brief outline of the Single Justice Procedure

Posted: 05 January 2023

What is the Single Justice Procedure?

A Single Justice Procedure relates to minor summary- only offences that cannot result in a custodial sentence. For example, driving without insurance, low value shoplifting or speeding. It allows the case to be dealt with by a single Magistrate based on the Prosecution papers alone without the requirement of either party having to attend for a hearing.

This procedure has been found to be extremely effective in time and cost management within the court.

If you are charged with a summary- only offence you may be sent a Single Justice Procedure notice which was introduced under the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015. This will happen once you have been served with a Criminal Charge Notice by the Crown Prosecution Service. The notice will explain who has brought the case against you and presents you with options in how to respond.

single justice blog

How do you respond?

The options to respond are listed below.

  • Guilty – ‘I wish to attend court’. This means that you accept the offence(s) has been committed and you wish to attend court for the matter and present your mitigation.
  • Guilty – ‘I do not wish to attend court’. This means that you accept the offence(s) has been committed but do not wish to attend in an open court. The Magistrate will then make a decision based upon the information they are given, and the result will be sent to you in the post.
  • Not Guilty – ‘I wish to dispute the accusations and request a trial date’. This means that you do not accept the offence(s) have been committed and you will be required to attend court on a fixed date to provide further information in your defence.
What are the consequences if you do not respond?

You must respond to this notice within 21 days. However, if you choose not to respond to this notice, the Magistrate will decide about your case without your input.

This could result in you being found guilty and a sentence to be decided based upon the papers the Magistrate is provided with. You will not have a reduced sentence for a guilty plea. This also may cause the fine or any penalty point, if relevant, to be increased.

What sentence can be imposed?
  • Fines
  • Penalty Points
  • Court Costs
How can we help?

If you have received a Single Justice Procedure Notice, and would like some advice, please do not hesitate to the THB Criminal Law team call us on 01245 493959 or email for further assistance.

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