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Single Justice Procedure

A Single Justice Procedure notice in the post can ruin your whole day – and an ill-advised response can spoil your licence for years.

What is the worst thing you can do when you get a Single Justice Procedure Notice in the post?

Do not bring up your personal needs when telling the magistrates why you are not guilty.

Here’s the one thing many self-represented defendants write in their forms / say in court that’s guaranteed to make the magistrates roll their eyes and stop listening:

“I am not guilty because getting points on my licence would have a big affect on me because my insurance premium will go sky high and I am saving money to fulfil my lifetime ambition of becoming an entrepreneur …”

Here’s what the magistrate is thinking when s/he’s reading or listening to this:

What does this guy’s lifetime ambitions have to do with whether he was speeding or driving without due care and attention?”

By framing your not guilty argument in terms of your personal needs, you’re adopting the weakest position possible. Not only are you positioning yourself as a guilty person who’s saying that they’re not guilty, you’re positioning yourself as a undeserving charity case.

You might as well be saying:

“Please let me off the hook for no reason because I don’t want to pay higher insurance premiums”.

What anybody reading or listening to this is hearing that you don’t understand how the court works.

The magistrates aren’t there to be charitable. What they want is help from you in applying the correct law to the facts of your case.

One example of how you can avoid irritating the magistrates might be, “I did not contravene the 20 mph speed limit on Green Lanes because on the date that the camera flashed me going 26 mph, the speed limit was still 30 mph”. 

By explaining things like this, you are making it easy for the magistrates to see what the issue is – and, if true, you are positioning yourself as a not guilty person.

If, however, you are guilty, say so.

If you are guilty, the next step is to tell the magistrates about your mitigation.

My simple tip

Persuading the magistrates not to disqualify you is a different issue to whether you are guilty of the offence.