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Magistrates Association comment on the Single Justice Procedure


20 August 2019
Magistrates Association comment on the Single Justice Procedure

National Chair of the MA, John Bache, puts forward our view on the Single Justice Procedure:

"The Magistrates Association supports efforts to make the justice system more efficient and we welcome the potential offered by the Single Justice Procedure to deal with some low-level offences efficiently. However, one of the fundamental principles of the justice system is that justice is not just done but is also seen to be done, and it is essential that openness and transparency are not compromised. How the Single Justice Procedure can be opened to public scrutiny must be addressed, particularly as we head towards further digitisation of the court process.

There is an additional risk that if the whole process is done without a hearing, individuals may not fully appreciate its implications. This is a serious process regarding a criminal offence, but as the system may appear to be administrative rather than judicial, people may not realise the importance of responding and thus risk ending up with a criminal conviction without entering a plea."

 

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