Single Justice Procedure Notices for Driving Offences

Have you received a Single Justice Procedure Notice for a driving offence?

We can take the stress out of responding to the court. Our specialist driving offence lawyers can advise you on your plea and strategy so you get the best outcome. If appropriate, we can contact the police to invite them to withdraw or reduce the charge.

If you are pleading guilty, we can write your mitigation for you to reduce the penalty. Our experience in these matters means we know what factors the court can and should take into account. We also know what not to write if you want the best result.

Also, see below our FAQs on Single Justice Procedure Notices.

SJPN Basics

What are Single Justice Procedure Notices?

The courts introduced these to increase their effectiveness when dealing with minor driving offences.  The Police use Single Justice Procedure Notices in conjunction with speeding, careless driving, using a mobile phone while driving, driving without insurance and other motoring offences.  The law permits the use of Single Justice Procedure Notices for non-imprisonable matters which can only be dealt with by a Magistrates’ Court.

Single Justice Procedure Notices for offences that are potentially imprisonable. This means they should not be used for driving offences such as drink driving, dangerous driving or failing to stop or report an accident. If the police charge you with these more serious offences, they will often send you a postal requistion and written charge.

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Single Justice Procedure Notice Summary

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How do I respond?

SJPNs are sent by the police but require a response to the Magistrates’ Court.

You should therefore enter your plea online or by post to the Court named in the notice before the 21-day deadline expires. You should seek advice before entering your plea if you have any doubts about how to respond.

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Why are they used?

SJPNs are intended to be a faster and more efficient way of dealing with some more minor driving offences.

Many offences can be dealt with at a Single Justice Hearing which means that the defendant does not need to attend. 

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Why might I need to go to the Magistrates Court?

If you plead not guilty, request a hearing or if you are at risk of a driving disqualification your case will usually be adjourned at the Single Justice Hearing. 

You will then be notified of any future court date by post. 

Do you need help protecting your driving licence?

Talk to us today about how we can help you with your driving offence.

Single Justice Procedure Notices FAQs

What should I do if I receive a Single Justice Procedure Notice?

You must complete the Single Justice Procedure Notice confirming your plea within the 21-day time limit. We can respond to your Single Justice Procedure Notice if you instruct us.

Except in the most straight-forward of cases, it is best to seek advice before responding. You may have a defence to the allegation or that there are Special Reasons available to you. These could make a significant difference to the outcome.

Even if you don’t have a defence or special reasons, you must make the court aware of any mitigating circumstances. It’s also vital that you tell the court about the impact various penalties would have on you and others. You may feel comfortable explaining this yourself, or you may be worried that you will ‘say the wrong thing’ so that the court may misinterpret it. You may be concerned that you will miss something out. It may be that you don’t know what sort of factors are relevant to the court’s decision-making process.

What happens if I don't respond?

If you don’t respond to a Single Justice Procedure Notice, the court is likely to proceed in your absence. This means that the court could convict you of a motoring offence without having heard your side of the story. If the court convicts you in your absence, you are unlikely to be given credit for pleading guilty, so the fine you receive is likely to be higher than if you had entered a guilty plea.

An example of how the discount applies for pleading guilty

Say you are convicted in your absence of a speeding offence by travelling at 40mph in a 30mph limit, you are likely to receive a fine of around £660, with costs of approximately £85 and a victim surcharge of £66, making a total of £811.

The financial penalty you would have received if you had pleaded guilty would depend on the income details you provided to the court. If for example, you earn £400 per week (after tax), you would typically receive a fine of no more than £200 (although usually even less) with costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £30, making a total of £315.

The discount will not apply to penalty points imposed or a period of disqualification. If you have provided mitigation, i.e. an explanation of why you committed the offence to the court, this can influence the points/disqualification imposed.  Have a look at our fine calculator for speeding for more information.

Can I still accept a Fixed Penalty or driving course once I've received a Single Justice Procedure Notice?

Unfortunately once a Single Justice Procedure Notice has been issued, it’s in the court system and can’t be changed back to a Fixed Penalty Notice or driver awareness course. You may be able to plead guilty without attending court. If there’s a good reason why you missed the Fixed Penalty Notice deadline, the court may decide to order that you pay the original fine and no additional prosecution costs.

Should I plead guilty?

Recipients of a Single Justice Procedure Notice may feel put under pressure to plead guilty. The notices refer to a discount of 33% for pleading guilty at the earliest opportunity and warns of the likelihood of increased prosecution costs if you don’t. It does not mean that you should plead guilty to an offence if you are not guilty.

However, it is beneficial to consider your plea before returning the documents or entering a plea online. We can deal with this for you.

If you do not have a defence, then it is usually best to plead guilty as soon as possible to preserve credit and to get the best outcome. You should be aware that it can be difficult to retract a guilty plea once entered, so if you are in doubt, get advice before entering your plea. 

Conversely, it is straightforward to change your plea from not guilty to guilty. You can do this at any stage in the proceedings, even in the middle of a trial. The later you leave it, the less credit you will receive for your plea. 

Will I avoid having to go to court?

Not necessarily. The Single Justice Procedure Notices use standard wording regardless of the seriousness of the offence. The theory is that it avoids unnecessary court hearings. However, if disqualification from driving is a possibility, the court must warn the driver. The court should either invite the driver to a court hearing or send them a letter warning of proposed disqualification. Driving while disqualified is a serious offence which can result in a prison sentence. For that reason, courts must attempt to ensure the driver is aware of the ban before imposing it. It will depend on the nature of the offence and the number of points on your licence whether you will need to attend court at some point.

Also, you will have to attend court if you contest the matter and it proceeds to a trial. The same goes for if you intend to put forward special reasons or exceptional hardship to avoid points or disqualification.

When might I need to attend court?

These are two examples of when a court appearance will be likely:

– A driver has six penalty points for two speeding offences. The driver committed the speeding offences in the three years before the current alleged mobile phone offence. Driving while using a mobile phone is an offence for which the court will impose a minimum of six penalty points (unless there are special reasons). The court won’t be able to deal with an offence of driving while using a mobile phone without the driver attending court because the driver would be facing a ‘totting up’ disqualification.

– A driver is facing an allegation of driving at 55mph in a 30mph limit. The magistrates’ court sentencing guidelines suggest that the court should impose a period of disqualification of between 7-56 days or six points. The court should request that the driver should attend court so it can consider whether to ban. It does not mean that the court will impose a driving ban, but it is a genuine possibility.

What if there is a mistake on the Single Justice Procedure Notice?

The court may allow some errors to be corrected. If the police have misspelt your name, it doesn’t automatically mean that the notice is invalid and you can ignore it. The prosecution can ask the court to allow them to amend the papers, and unless you can show that you would suffer prejudice, the court will grant the application. 

If there is a significant error which results in you being disadvantaged, the court may choose not to allow the amendment. Alternatively, the court may allow the change but grant an adjournment for you to prepare your case further. 

Some errors cannot be rectified, such as if an entirely different name or entity is on the Single Justice Procedure Notice. You should seek advice before pleading not guilty solely on the basis that a notice is defective. 

What happens if I miss the 21 day deadline?

You should contact the court immediately to let them know the situation. Ideally, you should enter your plea as soon as possible to allow the court to deal with your case. Often matters are not dealt with until 28 days or more after the postal date on the Single Justice Procedure Notice. However, you should enter a plea within the deadline if at all possible. If you do not, you risk the court convicting you in absence. 

Don’t feel under pressure to enter a plea if you have not had time to consider it properly. If in doubt, you may choose to enter a not guilty plea while you take advice, but this can impact on the credit you receive (see the questions ‘what happens if I don’t respond’). If you are going to plead guilty, you should do so at the earliest possible opportunity.  It is, however, easier to change a plea of not guilty to one of guilty, than to change it the other way around. 

If you have missed the 21-day deadline for responding to a Single Justice Procedure Notice, then take advice as a matter of urgency. 

Can my solicitor respond to the Single Justice Procedure Notice for me?

Yes, we can respond on your behalf, provided we have your full instructions and have advised you accordingly. If you instruct us, we will deal with the court on your behalf, enter your plea, deal with any issues and put forward any mitigation or defence as appropriate. You may still have to attend court at a later date, depending on the nature of your case. We can represent you at that hearing. 

Please do contact us as soon as possible so that we can ensure we are able to meet any deadlines. That said, if your deadline is looming or has already passed, we will still be delighted to help you. 

Can the court throw the case out if I have a defence?

he prosecuting authority (usually the Police alone or together with the Crown Prosecution Service) decides whether to proceed with an allegation. It is not up to the court to make this decision. A court can only dismiss a case in the following circumstances:

  • The prosecution issues a Notice of Discontinuance, offers no evidence or withdraws an allegation (this means that the police or Crown Prosecution Service are choosing not to proceed).
  • The court accepts a submission of no case to answer – often referred to as a ‘half-time submission’. At the close of the prosecution case, the court may decide that no reasonable jury could convict you.
  • The court finds you not guilty after a trial.

That said, sometimes the court may indirectly put pressure on the prosecution by questioning its decision to proceed where it is clear that the case against the defendant is clearly weak. At the Single Justice Procedure Stage, this rarely happens unless there is a prior agreement between the court and the prosecution. 

Is there a 6 month time limit for Single Justice Procedure Notices?

The new Single Justice Procedure Notice has mostly replaced the Summons procedure, and the rules are different. Unlike with a Summons, the Single Justice Procedure is dealt with by the prosecuting authority.

The Single Justice Procedure requires the police prosecutor to issue a Written Charge and Single Justice Procedure Notice within six months of the offence. The police prosecutor must issue a Written Charge and Single Justice Procedure Notice to the court (usually electronically) within the six-month time limit.  The Single Justice Procedure Notice may not be posted out to you within six months, but the law does not appear to require that.

The charge is usually laid electronically by the police. This involves entering the details in a computer system which can be viewed by the court. As soon as the details are complete, the charge is authorised. The charge date should appear on the court paperwork you receive. 

The whole purpose of the six-month time limit for summary only offences is presumably to allow people facing less serious offences to be able to ‘draw a line under the matter’ after a reasonable period. For this reason, it seems unfair if the Single Justice Procedure Notice is sometimes not sent out for seven months or more, but higher courts have decided that it is acceptable. 

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Mission DanMission Dan
09:07 25 Jun 22
Absolutely saved my business. Took on my case, were direct from the start, kept me informed and worked behind the scenes to push my case and get my license returned, despite a somewhat archaic court house. You can tell pragma are specialists in this field and i genuinely recommend them 100% (thanks to lucy, david and claire) you saved my bacon
hayley smithhayley smith
12:14 15 Jun 22
Lucy was extremely thorough , professional and very emphatic. She always took the time to make everything totally clear and gave excellent guidance throughout.My son was facing a charge of death by dangerous driving. His sentenced was reduced to a suspended one with the help of Lucy and her teams expertise.This is a rare outcome.We are enormously grateful for her support and patience throughout the case, and can not recommend her highly enough!
Atanas CAtanas C
18:51 26 May 22
Just out of few miles.As we wheel around we do step at times on the lines labelled as traffic law. You could be fine at the moment but the sweet moment does not last. Out of just a few miles, the minute problem starts snowballing to a self-unmanageable level. Paper from traffic police paper from the court, bitter mouth, the clock is ticking and nothing sensible comes to mind of what to write to the court rep. When a problem starts simmering and climes we tend to run out of fit ideas. Some call it panicking and I agree. Pragma law has a different set of remedies for similar situations. And I am sharing this from experience. Lucy from Pragma listened to my story and said the problem is not as big as my mixed at the time mind thought it was. ‘’Leave with me and answer my emails timely and don’t worry’’ she said. Six weeks later I was out of the mud. Just like that, …out of a few miles.
Combe ClovisCombe Clovis
09:51 26 May 22
I just want to say thank you so much for your support for your help and advice, I really appreciate your services I was panicking, i couldn't sleep for properly because the thoughts l couldn't imagine losing my licence or getting banned for 6 months because l drive for living getting banned for 6 months means loosing my income for 6 months therefore loosing my home and get into really hardship so I really appreciate prgma low and special thanks to Mr David swingler who was there for me and advice me and defend my case really well and win the case for me instead of 6 months disqualification I got 14 days this for me it was big win thanks to David Swingler and Pragma Low.
Ismail KhanIsmail Khan
15:13 03 May 22
Very diligent, professional and helpful. Lucy prioritised us as our case was time-sensitive and was very prompt and accessible at all times whenever we needed to communicate with her. She helped us get the best possible outcome. Highly recommended!
Neil BrittonNeil Britton
14:33 23 Apr 22
Their pricing is less than that of other specialists.David did a great job of defending me in court.They communicated well and went out of their way to help.Couldn't recommend these solicitors enough.10/10
Michael GillespieMichael Gillespie
17:09 21 Apr 22
Fantastic service and representation. Great result.
Fahd The REAPER MoenisFahd The REAPER Moenis
19:24 20 Feb 22
Lucy is really professional and i was so relaxed and happy to deal with her
shaun allmanshaun allman
17:51 02 Feb 22
Great service, communication and informative with all the advice given to me. Very much will recommend to all my family and friends should they ever need a trustworthy and professional solicitor to help with advice and proceedings with motoring offences.
Filip Rares-NicolaeFilip Rares-Nicolae
18:17 24 Jan 22
Absolutely amazing from start to finish.Was extremely worried about a situation I had got myself in.Was a very very nervous time for me as losing my license would have meant I lost everything including my job.Pragma Law team was helpful, professional, clear and thorough from the outset.It was Lucy Whitaker who represented me in court and I cant stress enough how fantastic she was in that court room. I received the best possible outcome and kept my license. Without her I would of undoubtedly lost my license.As far as I am concerned this was a one off and will never ever happen again, however if I ever was in any situation of this kind in the future there is no where else I would turn.Can not recommend highly enough!
a tanasa tanas
18:02 25 Nov 21
Working with Lucy Whitaker as my lawyer has been the best thing I could have ever done. She sorted out my problem as BEST and i truly recommend her to anyone that needs to solve car problems.Flavia Campilli
Joseph PaynterJoseph Paynter
16:18 12 Nov 21
I recently had a case involving an E-Scooter, unfortunately I committed an offence that I didn't even know was illegal. I contacted Pragma Law after reading reviews and outcomes of similar cases, and was put into contact with Lucy Whitaker. Lucy was very professional throughout the whole process, and was very realistic with me about my outcome from the initial phone call. The consultation was extremely through and well carried out, and Lucy was always available to contact if I had any questions. I couldn't have asked for a better outcome from the court after Lucy's representation- from the potential of a suspended sentence reduced to a ban on the lower end of the range, and without a community order. In the court room Lucy was very good at explaining to the Magistrates that the seriousness of the case was nothing like what the sentencing guidelines were designed to punish for (driving a car) and this is what got my punishment reduced. The prices are reasonable, and transparent from the initial phone call with no hidden costs. Would definitely recommend.
Tim NVTim NV
14:43 14 Oct 21
Was really impressed with PL and Lucy. Was given great advice (which I wouldn’t have been able to obtain without guidance) throughout the whole process. Every time we communicated over the phone it was followed up with a written email with actions, next steps etc. was also fortunate enough to work with her colleague David too who represented my case where I avoided a ban of 6 months.
Abi CorsiAbi Corsi
16:39 14 Sep 21
Lucy is the best lawyer I could have possibly found. I unexpectedly received a letter from the police who at the time intended to prosecute me for driving an electric scooter without insurance, and without a license. I was terrified as if found guilty, I would receive 6 penalty points and would have lost my drivers license. Other solicitors I called said unfortunately there was nothing they could do. Lucy on the other hand immediately reassured me and wrote a letter to the police which persuaded them to drop the charges completely. I honestly can’t recommend her enough. Thank you Lucy!
Aziz AbilovAziz Abilov
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I contacted Pragma Law when I wanted to appeal against a decision made in the Magistrates court. Lucy had picked up my case and advised me on the next steps. She helped me with everything that was required, advised me on all possible outcomes of the appeal, helped me get my licence back until the appeal hearing comes along, and then went ahead and got the appeal accepted in the Crown court. She is not only the best solicitor I’ve worked with, but she is also a wonderful human being. Very lovely and easy to work with, even the judges loved her! I 100% recommend you to contact them with any issues you have.
Asad AhmedAsad Ahmed
15:41 21 May 21
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Bobby CharlesBobby Charles
19:05 07 Feb 21
I have had an extremely positive experience with Lucy Whittaker. She is very knowledgeable, very proactive and always explains things in a clear and precise.She was able to convince the court to drop a driving without due care charge despite the police and the CPS disareeing.I would hesitate to recommend Lucy and Pragma Law anyone who needs assistance.
harry bedderharry bedder
15:53 16 Dec 20
Fantastic Service provided by Lucy, very profesional and quick at getting you answers and providing the help you might need! I will definitly be recomening Pragma Law to anyone I know that has a motoring proplem please do the same...
Jobin Mathew JosephJobin Mathew Joseph
18:11 25 Nov 20
Absolutely brilliant! 100 percent reliable! The case was related to driving matter and I had initially approached few other solicitors for help with my case. They all denied saying we would not win the case. But Lucy happily took the case and help me win the case with the best possible outcome.She puts you at ease and confidence. Very responsive in your queries. She genuinely care for case and very pleasant to deal with. Always well prepared and wins you the best possible outcome. Very Very Strongly recommend. Thanks much Lucy.
Lewis CobleyLewis Cobley
11:12 05 Nov 20
I highly recommend Pragma Law for any motoring problem. They were very efficient and professional even with little time to prepare.
A Google User
A Google User
14:30 04 Jul 20
What can I say about pragma law and Lucy whitaker, 1st class absolutely brilliant!!!. I had my licence revoked last October due to vasovagal syncope (faint) from the word go Lucy was brilliant, and I only dealt with her, she explained everything, in every stage extremely professional in everything she does, and had my licence back. What a result!!! thank you so much Lucy.
hannah vanessahannah vanessa
15:45 15 Jun 20
I suffer with anxiety (as many) and this incident completely took over my life for months until I met Lucy. I was super comfortable and confident in her work as she was very professional and was always available to help. Really helped take the stress away - thanks Lucy and thanks Pragma!
Wayne DaviesWayne Davies
14:51 08 Jun 20
What can I say about pragma law and Lucy whitaker, 1st class absolutely brilliant!!!. I had my licence revoked last October due to vasovagal syncope (faint) from the word go Lucy was brilliant, and I only dealt with her, she explained everything, in every stage extremely professional in everything she does, and had my licence back. What a result!!! thank you so much Lucy.
Rukhsar LatifRukhsar Latif
13:59 19 May 20
Lucy genuinly cares about her clients she took on my case dealt with everything herself and won my case I couldn't be happier with the results and the service. I will definitely be using Pragma Law again if needs be.
Vicky ClarkeVicky Clarke
20:16 03 Mar 20
I couldn't have hoped for a better solicitor. Lucy did everything she could to get the best possible outcome for me, and I can't thank her enough
Paul MercerPaul Mercer
17:19 31 Jan 20
Lucy Whitaker provided an impressive, cost effective service. She was objective, responded quickly to questions and, I believe, offered the best advice before efficiently dealing with a case as it came to court.I would have no hesitation either in using Lucy again, should the need arise, or recommending her services.
Rebecca HodkinsonRebecca Hodkinson
16:33 19 Nov 19
Lucy represented me in a driving case and I couldn't be happier. She was friendly, professional and pragmatic without giving me false hope. The outcome was a more positive one than I expected and that's down to her advice and detailed preparations. Would highly recommend! Thank you Lucy!
Gary SykesGary Sykes
22:12 04 Oct 19
We were so impressed with Lucy Whitaker. She represented our son in an unusual driving case which thanks to her knowledge, care & understanding, ended in a much better than expected outcome. Clear, concise & professional, we highly recommend her... can't thank her enough!!
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