We have been asked by HMCTS to share the below clarification with regards to the current position in the London Magistrates’ Courts with cases being listed on a Saturday.
A dedicated mailbox has now been set up for you to apply for an adjournment for any traffic cases you may be covering on a private basis:
This was after concerns were raised about the ongoing delays in effectively communicating with Magistrates’ Courts through the Central Admin Centres.
Saturday Courts: Police Prosecuted traffic (driver disqualifications) and TfL fare evasions
You will be aware that we have not been dealing with traffic cases in our courts since the lockdown commenced in late March. The need to maintain social distancing and, as a consequence, the very limited capacity available means that we will not be able to list our bulk traffic courts until at least late September. The Single Justice Process caseload of specified motoring offences, fare evasion and TV licence cases is being managed actively using remote hearings. Some SJP cases need to referred back to court e.g. the conviction puts the defendant at risk of a penalty points disqualifications. Whilst we continue to operate under constraints and therefore need to prioritise even this work within its own category, we have made plans to list this Police prosecuted limited traffic work and TfL fare evasion cases on Saturdays to clear the backlog over the next months. We have been able to do this with the support of volunteer police, TfL and HMCTS staff and judiciary. Subject to judicial approval on the day, we will utilise live links for prosecutors to appear in court with defendants attending Wimbledon, Bromley, Willesden and Stratford court locations on alternating Saturdays. We have specifically chosen this limited category of work as it is simple to do, involves no parties present at court other than the defendant, judiciary and court staff. The courts will be open to the public. Defence lawyers will note that this work does not attract legal aid and the number of privately represented defendants is negligible. Where representation is required, and attendance on a private client on Saturday is not possible, an adjournment to a formal weekday court remains an option. [To apply for an adjournment of a traffic case listed on a Saturday please contact LondonMC@justice.gov.uk This mailbox has been specifically designated for this purpose and will not accept applications, enquiries or issue responses for other cases. We are working hard to manage high levels of email enquiries into the main inboxes.] This specific Recovery initiative will not extend to other categories of work under these proposals. The national Extended Hours project will include detailed consultations with stakeholders about wider work in due course.