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Single justice procedure extended for prosecution of companies

08 January 2023

FROM 4 JANUARY 2023, prosecutors can deal with non-imprisonable cases involving companies without the need to go to court.

For companies, non-imprisonable cases are for lesser offences, such as:

  • excess vehicle weight
  • lack of or incorrect operator’s licence
  • tachograph offences
  • failure to give identification of a driver

This change will help to move cases for minor offences out of the courtroom and is an extension of the Single Justice Procedure (SJP). SJP minimises delays and allows more court time for other more serious cases.

SJP process for companies

SJP will be the same for companies as it is for individuals. The decision as to whether to prosecute a company using SJP or in court is decided by the prosecutor.

As with all SJP cases, defendants can still choose to have their case heard in a court. They can also submit a plea on paper, rather than electronically, where needed.

When a company is a defendant, the plea and means forms must be signed by either a:

  • company secretary
  • company director
  • company solicitor

SJP enables magistrates’ courts to deal with minor offences more efficiently, while still ensuring rigorous, open and fair justice.