MISTAKES IN THE MAGISTRATES COURT


Micalia01Hi, I am Micaila Williams. If you have committed or been accused of any criminal offence we at Law for Life can help you every step of the way. We provide straight talking, affordable and practical advice from specialist Solicitors and Barristers as well as full representation at the Magistrates’ or Crown Court.

We can also provide you with any forms/documents you need to complete the case together with DIY guides if you choose to represent yourself . Feel free to contact us now for more details.


HOW CAN I RECTIFY MISTAKES MADE IN THE MAGISTRATES COURT


THE LEGAL TEST The Magistrates Court will be asked to consider whether it is in the interests of justice to allow your application or not. As part of the process, the Magistrates Court will consider the factors set out below together with any other relevant information:-

  • Why you did not appear at the original trial at the Magistrates Court (if that was the case);

A deliberate and culpable non-attendance is unlikely to persuade the Magistrates Court to allow you a chance to defend yourself.

  • Timeliness of your application;
  • Reason for any delay;
  • Importance of the decision being questioned
  • Inconvenience and prejudice caused to anyone involved in the Magistrates Court hearing;
  • Whether a more appropriate appeal remedy is available.

REASONS TO APPLY TO RE-OPEN IN MAGISTRATES COURT The list below is non-exhaustive but should give you an idea of the common reasons why this application is made in the Magistrates Court:-

  • If you have been convicted in the Magistrates Court in your absence
  • If you have received a sentence in the Magistrates Court that is wrong in law or based on inaccurate information
  • If you have pleaded guilty or been convicted of an offence that is wrong in law or based on inaccurate information in the Magistrates Court

RESTRICTIONS ON APPLYING You cannot apply under this section if the Crown Court (or the High Court) have dealt with any appeal hearing in relation to your sentence or conviction.

If you feel there has been an error with the Crown Court process then you must apply to them to rectify this mistake.

This is an application known as an application under the “slip rule” but the process is the same and a 28 day time limit is strict. If you are outside of this 28 day time limit then you must explain your reasons to the court.

TIME LIMITS Although there are no official time limits, the Magistrates Court will expect you to notify them as soon as you are aware of the error and usually within 28 days. If you are applying outside of 28 days it would be advisable for you to explain why this application has not been made sooner to the Magistrates Court.

HOW TO MAKE THE APPLICATION The application can be made either in writing or in person at Magistrates Court.

If you do not have legal representation the usual course will be for you to write a letter to the Magistrates Court explaining the mistake that you wish to have rectified and they will either deal with it administratively if this can be done, or inform you of a date for you to attend Magistrates Court and have the matter heard.

APPLICATION IS REFUSED If your application is refused, you can Appeal to the Crown Court AGAINST CONVICTION or AGAINST SENTENCE or to the High Court (this would be unusual) and we advise you seek LEGAL ADVICE before taking any action in this regard.

APPLICATION IS ALLOWED A re-opening in the Magistrates Court does not mean that this matter will simply go away. Any conviction or sentence will be set aside and you will simply start again from the point where the mistake was made.

So, if you did not attend your trial at the Magistrates Court because of an admin error for example, you will be given the opportunity to prepare your case for trial and attend in the usual way. If you had been sentenced to an illegal sentence, your sentence will be set aside and you will be allowed to go back and deal with the sentencing hearing all over again in the Magistrates Court