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What you need to know when attending Magistrates’ Court

Kang & Co Solicitors

If you have been charged with a Criminal Offence or if you are being prosecuted for a Driving Offence, it could be your first involvement with the Criminal Justice System, and you may find the whole experience somewhat daunting and confusing.

If your case is listed for a sentence hearing or a trial in the Magistrates’ Court, your priority should be to secure an experienced and skilled solicitor so you receive the correct legal advice before your Court Hearing and your interests are properly protected at Court.

Most criminal and motoring offences such as Assault, Speeding, Careless Driving, Failing to Provide Driver Details and Driving Disqualifications are dealt with by the Magistrates’ Court.

Our clients are often professionals and law-abiding citizens with a clean criminal record, and for that reason have never attended Court before for a criminal or motoring offence.

With all our clients that are attending the Magistrates’ Court for the first time, we recommend the following:

Attending Court on Time

The Court Summons or Postal Requisition you have received will have a start time, this will be a 10am or 2pm start time.

We recommend that you arrive 45 minutes before the time listed on The Court Summons or Postal Requisition.

If you have been given a 10am time, we recommend arriving at Court just after 9am, it is also important to note that most Magistrates’ Courts open at 9am therefore, it is not necessary to attend before 9am.

It is important that you are not late, therefore we recommend that you factor in unexpected traffic delays, road closures and travel disruptions into your travel time.

Planning Your Journey

If you are unfamiliar with the location of the Court, you should research this a few days before your Court date. We recommend that you research the location of the Court, how to get to Court, identify suitable car parking locations and planning your rail journey, if attending by rail.

We also recommend that you park in a long-stay car park as you could be at Court for longer than anticipated.

Court Listings The time listed on your Court Summons or Postal Requisition is not an appointment time or the time your case will be heard.

The Court will give the same start time to 20, 30 or even 40 other defendants, and it is at the discretion of the Court as to the order cases are heard.

If you are the first person to attend Court, it does not necessary mean that your case will be heard first however, you must be at Court before the time listed on your Court Summons or Postal Requisition.

You should be prepared to be at Court for several hours and should arrange your affairs accordingly.

Our lawyers will also aim to have your case heard as soon as possible to avoid you having to wait for several hours.

Transportation to Court

If your lawyer has advised you that there is a risk you could be disqualified from driving, it is important to note that the driving ban imposed by the Court will be effective immediately therefore, you should either attend using public transport or should have another person with you that can drive, should you receive a driving ban.

If you attend Court in your own vehicle and receive a driving ban, you will be committing a further offence (Driving Whilst Disqualified) if you drive your vehicle back home from Court.

Court Dress Code for Defendants

There is no formal dress code for defendants attending Court, and you should wear appropriate and comfortable clothing.

However, it is important to remember that a Court Hearing is a formal arrangement and appropriate respect should be shown to the Court, District Judge or Magistrates’ therefore you may prefer to attend in accordance with a smart dress code.

Mobile Phones at Court

You should bring your mobile phone with you to Court, as this allows your lawyer to contact you whilst at Court and to update you with any essential information whilst you are travelling to Court.

However, when you enter the Court room, you should turn off all mobile phones and electronic devices, as they should not be used in Court.

Attending Court with a Relative or Friend

If you are nervous about the thought of attending the Magistrates’ Court for a Sentence Hearing or Trial we recommend you bring your spouse, a relative or a friend for emotional support.

The person you bring will be able to sit in the public gallery of the Court, once your case is being heard.

We advise against bringing several family members or friends to Court, as this can sometimes be counterproductive.

Furthermore, whilst your family member or friend is sat in the public gallery of the Court, they should not be making any comments about the case or making any unnecessary sounds or actions and they should also turn off their mobile phone.

Information About Your Income - Means Information

A few days before your case is listed in Court, we recommend that you research and make a written note of your household income and expenditure.

It is important that you have an accurate and clear understanding of your household income and bills. If you plead guilty or are found guilty at Court following a trial, the Court will usually impose a fine, the amount of the fine is based upon individual financial means.

The Court will need to know your specific income and expenditure so that an appropriate fine can be imposed upon you. We recommend that you are aware of this before you attend Court.

When you attend Court, you will be provided with a ‘means form’ to complete.

Use A Professional

Our Solicitors and Barristers are experienced at successfully defending cases in both the Magistrates’ and Crown Court, if you would like to speak with a Solicitor or Barrister please visit www.kangandco.co.uk or call us on 0345 222 9955 to see how we can safeguard your rights and interests at Court.

Our Solicitors and Barristers are regularly instructed to defend cases in Birmingham, Solihull, Sutton Coldfield, Walsall, Tamworth, Lichfield, Leamington Spa and Coventry. If you would like a free initial telephone consultation about your case, call us on 03452229955 or e-mail info@kangandco.co.uk.