Separate Courts

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What should a motorist do if they committed three offences of speeding at the same location on three different days within the same week and three summonses were issued from different Magistrates’ Court: Willesden Magistrates’ Court, Lavender Hill Magistrates’ Court and Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court?

Recently, I was instructed in such a case.  Everything seemed very confusing. My client was extremely anxious and didn’t know how to resolve the tangle of facts and legal documents. The cost implications loomed and he was fearful that legal fees would spiral out of control.

Firstly, how did these three offences end up in different Magistrates’ Court? I can’t answer that question with any confidence, only by speculating. I can only imagine that due to the joined-up nature of the criminal justice system in London, offences could end up in any court throughout the Capital. That certainly was the case here. I may not know categorically why this situation arose but I do know how to resolve the problem. That’s that point of this blog.

The conventional way to deal with this type of situation is for the lawyer, and client, to attend each Magistrates’ Court. That is a visit to Willesden Magistrates’ Court, Lavender Hill Magistrates’ Court and Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court. After those initial hearings, a further hearing is usually necessary to complete the process. Therefore, the client pays for 4 hearings. That’s an expensive remedy. It could be a money spinner for the lawyer but not very efficient or helpful to a client. A client who is already confused and anxious and particularly fearful of the cost of instructing an expert.

How did I resolve this tangle? By communicating, via email and telephone, with each court. I was able to persuade them to reopen each case administratively, and transfer all the matters to a single court, in this case, Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court. There was no need for me to charge my client for any initial court appearances; everything was arranged via email and telephone. Therefore, my client paid one admin fee instead of three separate court fees. A considerable saving to him.

At the only court hearing that was necessary, at Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court, the matter was resolved in one hearing, to the client’s enormous satisfaction and relief!

So whether it’s a solicitor or a barrister that you instruct, ensure you get a lawyer who knows theirr way around the system. Ultimately, my client had three matters resolved for the price of one hearing and an additional admin fee. I know that my fees are not cheap but in a case like this, my client saved a great deal of money. As ever, you get what you pay for!

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