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Posts Tagged ‘Court procedure’

Don’t Allow CPS Inefficiencies To Affect Your Legal Case



There are many reasons for instructing a specialist solicitor to assist you with your legal case.


An obvious and common one, is that as a lay person you simply don’t have the knowledge that specialists do in this field.  It’s a natural and very sensible decision to turn to an expert who understands the legal system, has the knowledge of suitable defences, and the experience of successfully presenting cases.


Another reason is the fear that many people feel when they realise they will have to appear in Court.  Our clients are always good people with minimal, if any, previous involvement with the legal system.  The reality of appearing in Court is terrifying, and we can make the process faster, easier and stress-free.  In some circumstances we can even appear in Court instead of the client altogether, which is a huge benefit to many people.


There is another reason why you should instruct a specialist solicitor, and many people unfamiliar with the legal world are not aware of this.


The fact is, that as a defendant charged with an offence, you are fighting your case against the large and powerful Crown Prosecution Service.  You are one person entering the legal system, and your case will be at the forefront of your mind.  It is likely that you will feel that the case hands over your head from the first moment you learn of the potential charge, until the final hearing when the case is concluded.


Our clients are often incredibly worried and have difficulty sleeping and eating.  Personal relationships may break down as a result of the case, your job or whole career may be at risk, and the case will be all-consuming.


It is fair, therefore, to expect that your case has similar importance to the people on the other side of the story – the prosecution service.  These are the people, after all, who will be building and presenting the case against you.  They should, surely, be organised and efficient and follow the guidelines set out by the Court – as you will have to as the defendant – to ensure that your case is heard fairly.


While this is the ideal, it is very rarely the reality.


A recent government-commissioned review has revealed that “defence practitioners throughout England and Wales reported problems with the lack of case ownership and morale within the CPS”.


It is certainly an experience that we can also confirm as being the norm, sadly.


Swift progress of a client’s case usually requires daily chasing by us of the prosecution service.  Deadlines set out for them by the Court are often ignored.  Delays are very commonly caused by their inability to review cases ahead of hearings.  Prosecutors often arrive at Court unaware of their cases, certainly without having prepared in advance.  Prosecutors are often agent barristers given no time to read or prepare cases ahead of hearings.


Put simply, anyone defending themselves without representation, will have to not only prepare their case, but also badger the prosecution service to ensure that they are following the procedure the Court requires.


The amount of time and effort that this takes is considerable.


Luckily, with Forrest Williams on your side, all of this work is included in the fixed fee that we quote you for the whole of your case.  We do not charge for every letter or phone call as we do not consider this to be fair – you need to know the total amount that your case will cost.


Facing a charge for a motoring matter is stressful enough.


Don’t increase your worry by trying to manage the case alone.


Get the experts on your side.


We are here to help.


Give us a call now for free initial advice and a fixed fee quote to manage the whole of the case for you.


CALL US NOW: 01623 397200


How to reply to a motoring summons if you are not guilty

So you have received a summons for a motoring offence and you deny it, what do you do from here?

The summons will include a form asking various questions. The most important of these is in relation to the 3 options you get for your plea. Either – Plead Guilty by post, Plead guilty at court or plead not guilty.

The summons will normally tell you whether you need to attend court. Normally for a motoring summons it can be dealt with in your absence. This can be an advantage because it avoids taking more time off work.

The aim of returning the form when you deny it is two fold. Firstly you want to avoid any extra court hearings and secondly you want to try and get the matter dropped as soon as possible. This is the best stage to instruct a specialist motoring solicitor.

I see lots of advice from non lawyers online suggesting that you keep your cards close to your chest in relation to your defence.

I disagree with this, if you have a strong defence then let the court and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) know. The CPS will probably not have even seen the file until a not guilty plea is entered. The matter is dealt with as an admin function until a not guilty plea is entered. The CPS have a duty to review cases and see whether there is a realistic prospect of success and whether it is in the public interest.

You may be tempted to follow the advice of a non motoring solicitor and give very few details. The reality is that if you just fill the form in with no details of your defence the matter will be listed for a case management hearing when you will need to attend and explain your defence. This defeats the object of having as few hearings as possible. I would advise that you go through the matter with a motoring solicitor, get advice on what you should put in here, if they won’t give you this advice for free try someone who will (me ;-)) In brief I would suggest you need to give details of your defence,what witnesses you have and  tell the court how long you think the case will take (assume about 30 minutes per witness) I would also suggest you tell the court if there are any witnesses for the Prosecution that you don’t neet to give live evidence – in other words if there is a witness whose ‘evidence’ is not contested then you can allow their evidence to be read out rather than them attend court. An example of this may be a Police Counter clerk who simply says she checked your documents when you produced them at the police station.

An example of the advantage of doing it this way happened to me only last week. I had been consulted by a client who was charged with failing to furnish details of the driver. His defence was that he never receieved the paperwork. We completed the form and told the court of our defence, we also told them the names of 8 witnesses who would give evidence that they have had postal difficulties at that address. The result? It was dropped by the CPS at this first hearing without the need for my client to ever attend. Bear in mind this was the first time the CPS had seen the case, by setting out a full and strong defence they took the view there was not a reasonable prospect of success for them and dropped it.

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