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Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015

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This is the original version (as it was originally enacted).

Trial by single justice on the papers

46Instituting proceedings by written charge

(1)Section 29 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (public prosecutor to institute proceedings by written charge) is amended as follows.

(2)In subsection (1), for “public prosecutor” substitute “relevant prosecutor”.

(3)For subsection (2) substitute—

(2)Where a relevant prosecutor issues a written charge, it must at the same time issue—

(a)a requisition, or

(b)a single justice procedure notice.

(2A)A requisition is a document which requires the person on whom it is served to appear before a magistrates’ court to answer the written charge.

(2B)A single justice procedure notice is a document which requires the person on whom it is served to serve on the designated officer for a magistrates’ court specified in the notice a written notification stating—

(a)whether the person desires to plead guilty or not guilty, and

(b)if the person desires to plead guilty, whether or not the person desires to be tried in accordance with section 16A of the Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980.

(4)In subsection (3), for “The” substitute “Where a relevant prosecutor issues a written charge and a requisition, the”.

(5)After subsection (3) insert—

(3A)Where a relevant prosecutor issues a written charge and a single justice procedure notice, the written charge and notice must be served on the person concerned, and a copy of both must be served on the designated officer specified in the notice.

(3B)If a single justice procedure notice is served on a person, the relevant prosecutor must—

(a)at the same time serve on the person such documents as may be prescribed by Criminal Procedure Rules, and

(b)serve copies of those documents on the designated officer specified in the notice.

(6)After subsection (3B) insert—

(3C)The written notification required by a single justice procedure notice may be served by the legal representative of the person charged on the person’s behalf.

(7)In subsection (4), for the words from the beginning to “public prosecutor” substitute “A relevant prosecutor authorised to issue a requisition”.

(8)In subsection (5), for ““public prosecutor”” substitute ““relevant prosecutor””.

(9)After subsection (5) insert—

(5A)An order under subsection (5)(h) specifying a person for the purposes of this section must also specify whether that person and a person authorised by that person to institute criminal proceedings—

(a)are authorised to issue written charges, requisitions and single justice procedure notices, or

(b)are authorised to issue only written charges and single justice procedure notices.

(10)A person who immediately before the commencement of this section is—

(a)a person specified in an order under section 29(5)(h) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, or

(b)a person authorised by a person so specified to institute criminal proceedings,

is to be treated after the commencement of this section as authorised to issue requisitions and single justice procedure notices (subject to the order specifying that person being varied or revoked).

47Instituting proceedings: further provision

(1)Section 30 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (further provision about method of instituting proceedings in section 29) is amended as follows.

(2)In subsection (1)—

(a)in paragraph (a), for “or requisitions” substitute “, requisitions or single justice procedure notices”, and

(b)in paragraph (b), for “or requisitions” substitute “, requisitions or single justice procedure notices”.

(3)In subsection (2)(b), after “further requisitions” insert “or further single justice procedure notices”.

(4)In subsection (5)—

(a)in paragraph (b), for “public prosecutor” substitute “relevant prosecutor”, and

(b)after paragraph (b) insert , and

(c)any reference (however expressed) which is or includes a reference to a summons under section 1 of the Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980 (or to a justice of the peace issuing such a summons) is to be read as including a reference to a single justice procedure notice (or to a relevant prosecutor issuing a single justice procedure notice).

(5)After subsection (7) insert—

(7A)The reference in subsection (5) to an enactment contained in an Act passed before this Act is to be read, in relation to paragraph (c) of subsection (5), as including—

(a)a reference to an enactment contained in an Act passed before or in the same Session as the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015, and

(b)a reference to an enactment contained in such an Act as a result of an amendment to that Act made by the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 or by any other Act passed in the same Session as the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015.

(6)In subsection (8)—

(a)for ““public prosecutor”,” substitute ““relevant prosecutor”,”, and

(b)after ““requisition”” insert “, “single justice procedure notice””.

48Trial by single justice on the papers

(1)The Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980 is amended as follows.

(2)In section 11 (non-appearance of accused: general provisions)—

(a)in subsection (1), for “and (4)” substitute “, (4) and (8)”, and

(b)after subsection (7) insert—

(8)This section and sections 12 to 16 do not apply if and for so long as a written charge is to be tried by a magistrates’ court in accordance with section 16A.

(3)After section 16 insert—

Trial by single justice on the papers
16ATrial by single justice on the papers

(1)A magistrates’ court may try a written charge in accordance with subsections (3) to (10) if—

(a)the offence charged is a summary offence not punishable with imprisonment,

(b)the accused had attained the age of 18 years when charged,

(c)the court is satisfied that—

(i)the documents specified in subsection (2) have been served on the accused, and

(ii)service of all of the documents was effected at the same time, and

(d)the accused has not served on the designated officer specified in the single justice procedure notice, within the period prescribed by Criminal Procedure Rules, a written notification stating either—

(i)a desire to plead not guilty, or

(ii)a desire not to be tried in accordance with this section.

(2)The documents mentioned in subsection (1)(c) are—

(a)a written charge and a single justice procedure notice (see section 29 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003), and

(b)such other documents as may be prescribed by Criminal Procedure Rules (see section 29(3B) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003).

(3)The court may not hear any oral evidence and may consider only the contents of the following—

(a)the documents specified in subsection (2),

(b)any document containing information to which subsection (4) applies, and

(c)any written submission that the accused makes with a view to mitigation of sentence.

(4)This subsection applies to information if—

(a)a notice describing the information was served on the accused at the same time as the documents specified in subsection (2), and

(b)a copy of the notice has been served on the designated officer specified in the single justice procedure notice.

(5)The court may disregard a written submission that is not served on the designated officer specified in the single justice procedure notice within the period prescribed by Criminal Procedure Rules.

(6)The court is not required to conduct any part of the proceedings in open court.

(7)The court may try the charge in the absence of the parties and, if a party appears, must proceed as if the party were absent.

(8)If the accused served on the designated officer specified in the notice a written notification stating a desire to plead guilty and to be tried in accordance with this section, the court may try the charge as if the accused had pleaded guilty.

(9)The court may not remand the accused.

(10)If the resumed trial is to be conducted in accordance with subsections (3) to (9), no notice is required of the resumption of the trial after an adjournment.

(11)A magistrates’ court acting under this section may be composed of a single justice.

(12)Any magistrates’ court may try a written charge in accordance with subsections (3) to (10), whether or not its designated officer is specified in the single justice procedure notice.

(13)Subsection (1) is subject to sections 16B and 16C.

16BCases not tried in accordance with section 16A

(1)If a magistrates’ court decides, before the accused is convicted of the offence, that it is not appropriate to convict the accused in proceedings conducted in accordance with section 16A, the court may not try or continue to try the charge in that way.

(2)A magistrates’ court may not try a written charge in accordance with section 16A if, at any time before the trial, the accused or the accused’s legal representative on the accused’s behalf gives notice to the designated officer specified in the single justice procedure notice that the accused does not desire to be tried in accordance with section 16A.

(3)If a magistrates’ court may not try or continue to try a written charge in accordance with section 16A because the conditions in section 16A(1) are not satisfied or because of subsection (1) or (2), the magistrates’ court dealing with the matter must—

(a)adjourn the trial, if it has begun, and

(b)issue a summons directed to the accused requiring the accused to appear before a magistrates’ court for the trial of the written charge.

(4)A magistrates’ court issuing a summons under subsection (3)(b) may be composed of a single justice.

16CCases that cease to be tried in accordance with section 16A

(1)If a magistrates’ court decides, after the accused is convicted of the offence, that it is not appropriate to try the written charge in accordance with section 16A, the court may not continue to try the charge in that way.

(2)If a magistrates’ court trying a written charge in accordance with section 16A proposes, after the accused is convicted of the offence, to order the accused to be disqualified under section 34 or 35 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988—

(a)the court must give the accused the opportunity to make representations or further representations about the proposed disqualification, and

(b)if the accused indicates a wish to make such representations, the court may not continue to try the case in accordance with section 16A.

(3)If a magistrates’ court may not continue to try a written charge in accordance with section 16A because of subsection (1) or (2), the magistrates’ court must—

(a)adjourn the trial, and

(b)issue a summons directed to the accused requiring the accused to appear before a magistrates’ court to be dealt with in respect of the offence.

16DSections 16B and 16C: further provision

(1)If a summons is issued under section 16B(3)(b) or 16C(3)(b), a reference in sections 11 to 13 to a summons issued under section 1 is to be read, for the purposes of subsequent proceedings as regards the matter, as if it included a reference to a summons issued under section 16B(3)(b) or 16C(3)(b) (as the case may be).

(2)If a summons has been issued under section 16B(3)(b) or 16C(3)(b), a justice of the peace may issue a summons directed to the accused requiring the accused to appear before a magistrates’ court for the purpose specified in the earlier summons; and subsection (1) applies in relation to a summons under this section as it applies in relation to a summons under section 16B(3)(b) or 16C(3)(b).

(3)Where a summons has been issued under section 16B(3)(b) or 16C(3)(b), a magistrates’ court that afterwards tries the written charge or deals with the accused for the offence must be—

(a)composed as described in section 121(1), or

(b)composed of a District Judge (Magistrates’ Courts) sitting alone by virtue of section 26 of the Courts Act 2003.

(4)Where—

(a)the accused is convicted of an offence before a matter is adjourned under section 16C(3)(a), and

(b)the matter is tried after the adjournment by another magistrates’ court,

that other magistrates’ court is to be treated as if it were the court that convicted the accused for the purposes of section 142(2).

16EAccused not aware of single justice procedure notice

(1)This section applies if—

(a)a single justice procedure notice has been issued, and

(b)the written charge is being tried, or has been tried, in accordance with section 16A.

(2)This section does not apply if the trial of the written charge has been adjourned under section 16B(3)(a) or 16C(3)(a).

(3)The proceedings subsequent to the single justice procedure notice are void if—

(a)the accused makes a statutory declaration that the accused did not know of the single justice procedure notice or the proceedings until a date that the accused specifies in the statutory declaration,

(b)that date is a date after a magistrates’ court began to try the written charge,

(c)the declaration is served on the designated officer specified in the single justice procedure notice within 21 days of that date in such manner as Criminal Procedure Rules may prescribe, and

(d)at the same time as serving the declaration, the accused responds to the single justice procedure notice by serving a written notification on that designated officer.

(4)Subsection (3) does not affect the validity of a written charge or a single justice procedure notice.

(5)A magistrates’ court may accept service of a statutory declaration required by subsection (3) after the period described in subsection (3)(c) if, on application by the accused, it appears to the court that it was not reasonable to expect the accused to serve that statutory declaration within that period.

(6)A magistrates’ court that accepts a statutory declaration under subsection (5) is to be treated as accepting service of a written notification that is served at the same time.

(7)A statutory declaration accepted under subsection (5) and a written notification treated as accepted under subsection (6) are to be treated as having been served as required by subsection (3).

(8)If proceedings have become void under subsection (3), the reference in section 16A to the period within which a written notification must be served is to be read as referring to a period that ends on—

(a)the date on which a written notification is served under subsection (3)(d), or

(b)if a magistrates’ court is treated as accepting service of a written notification by virtue of subsection (6), the date on which the written notification is so treated as accepted.

(9)If proceedings have become void under subsection (3), the written charge may not be tried again by any of the same justices.

(10)A magistrates’ court carrying out functions under subsection (5) may be composed of a single justice.

16FAdmissibility of statements

(1)A statement contained in a document is admissible in proceedings conducted in accordance with section 16A as evidence of a matter stated if, in the particular case—

(a)the document is one in relation to which section 16A(1)(c) is satisfied, or

(b)section 16A(4) applies to the information in that document (as the case may be).

(2)Subsection (1) does not prevent a court taking into consideration the nature of the evidence placed before it when deciding whether it is appropriate to try the written charge in accordance with section 16A.

(3)In this section “statement” means any representation of fact or opinion.

49Trial by single justice on the papers: sentencing etc

In section 121 of the Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980 (constitution etc of a magistrates’ court), after subsection (5) insert—

(5A)A magistrates’ court that is trying a summary offence in accordance with section 16A is restricted to the following in dealing with the accused for the offence—

(a)imposing a fine;

(b)imposing a penalty under section 102(3)(aa) of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 or section 29, 35A or 37 of the Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994 (penalties imposed for certain offences in relation to vehicle excise licences);

(c)ordering an amount to be paid under section 30, 36 or 38 of the Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994 (liability to additional duty);

(d)making an order under section 130(1) of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 (compensation orders);

(e)ordering payment of a surcharge under section 161A of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (victim surcharge);

(f)making an order as to costs to be paid by the accused to the prosecutor under section 18 of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985;

(g)making an order as to costs to be paid by the accused by virtue of section 19 of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985;

(h)ordering payment of a charge under section 21A of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 (criminal courts charge);

(i)making an order under section 30A of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 (order to disregard penalty points if approved course attended);

(j)making an order under section 34 or 35 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 (disqualification from driving);

(k)making an order under section 44 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 (endorsement of a driving record);

(l)making an application to the Secretary of State by virtue of section 24(1)(a) of the Criminal Justice Act 1991 (benefit deductions);

(m)making an attachment of earnings order under Part 3 of Schedule 5 to the Courts Act 2003;

(n)making an application for benefits deductions to the Secretary of State under Part 3 of Schedule 5 to the Courts Act 2003;

(o)making a collection order under Part 4 of Schedule 5 to the Courts Act 2003;

(p)discharging the accused absolutely or conditionally.

(5B)The limit in subsection (5) does not apply to fines imposed as described in subsection (5A).

50Further amendments

Schedule 11 contains further amendments relating to the provision made by sections 46 to 49.

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