Court Summons Policy

Court Summons Policy

Section 29 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 removes from public prosecutors the power to lay an information for the purpose of obtaining the issue of a summons.

Instead, a public prosecutor may institute criminal proceedings against a person by issuing a document (a ‘written charge’) which charges the person with an offence.
Where a public prosecutor issues a written charge, it must at the same time issue a document (a ‘requisition’) which requires the person to appear before a magistrates’ court to answer the written charge.

– The written charge and requisition must be served on the person concerned, and a copy of both must be served on the court named in the requisition. Who is a public prosecutor for this purpose?

A police force or a person authorised by a police force to institute criminal proceedings.

The director of the serious fraud office or a person authorised by him/her to institute criminal proceedings.

The director of public prosecutions or a person authorised by him/her to institute criminal proceedings.

The attorney general or a person authorised by him/her to institute criminal proceedings.

A secretary of state or a person authorised by a him/her to institute criminal proceedings.

The commissioners of Inland Revenue or a person authorised by them to institute criminal proceedings.

The commissioners of customs and excise or a person authorised by them to institute criminal proceedings.

A person specified in an order made by the secretary of state for the purposes of this section or a person authorised by such a person to institute criminal proceedings.

The above named prosecutors may still commence proceeding by laying an information and obtaining a summons in the normal way as an alternative.

– Is there a way of checking that things arriving in the post are from the court?
– Is there somewhere to report suspect fraudulent letters to HMCTS for their inspection / prosicution if they are found to be fraudulent?

Issue of summons

A summons is the document issued by a magistrate, justices’ clerk or member of the clerk’s staff specifically authorised by him/her, requiring someone to attend at a given time and place in answer to the allegation.
Form of summons
The summons must tell the defendant:

when and where to attend court;

what offences are alleged (more than one may properly be referred to in the summons); and

identify the person under whose authority it is issued; and may bear an electronic signature.

Service of summons

A summons sent by first class post to the defendant’s last known address is deemed to have been served. This however can be challenged by the defence.
As a ‘document produced by a court computer system’, a summons is to be taken as to have been ‘sent by first class post or by the equivalent of first class post to the addressee on the business day after the day on which it was produced.’

Where a summons has been issued and a magistrates’ court has begun to try the information to which the summons relates, if at any stage the defendant makes a statutory declaration that he did not know of the proceedings until a date after the trial of the information, the summons and all subsequent proceedings shall be void, without prejudice to the validity of the information.

Fraud is a matter that will be dealt with by the police and should be reported to them. Click here to read all the postings>>>

Tags: court, summons, policy

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