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Day 1 of my pupillage was spent at City of London Magistrates Court observing how to prosecute a “simple” Traffic list.

I had zero understanding what s172 was – and mystified by the explanation that it was simply “reading”.

S172s are so much more than the Prosecution reading out the Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP), the Reminder Letter and the Witness Statement of the member of Police Staff who checked the database records and verified that they never received a response.

They also are, or should be, much more than the Defence, “putting the Prosecution to proof” and reciting case names with little understanding of how those cases apply to the facts of their own.

For a requirement that on its face seems so straightforward, the law surrounding s172 has a number of twists and turns.

Dabbling lawyers beware.