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Magistrates' Courts Act 1980 (-)
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This document is for private study purposes only. It is likely not to reflect the law as it stands today. It may be incomplete, and some provisions are likely to have been repealed or amended, and new ones inserted.
(1) Upon an information being laid before a justice of the peace . . . that any person has, or is suspected of having committed an offence, the justice may,
(a) issue a summons directed to that person requiring him to appear before a magistrates' court . . . to answer to the information. . .
(1) A magistrates’ court has jurisdiction to try any summary offence.
(2) A magistrates’ court has jurisdiction as examining justices over any offence committed by a person who appears or is brought before the court.
(3) Subject to:
(a) sections 18 to 22 below, and
(b) any other enactment (wherever contained) relating to the mode of trial of offences triable either way,
a magistrates’ court has jurisdiction to try summarily any offence which is triable either way.
(4) A magistrates’ court has jurisdiction, in the exercise of its powers under section 24, to try summarily an indictable offence.
(5) This section does not affect any jurisdiction over offences conferred on a magistrates’ court by any enactment not contained in this Act.
(1) This section shall have effect where a person who has attained the age of 18 years appears or is brought before a magistrates’ court on an information charging him with an offence triable either way.
(2) Everything that the court is required to do under the following provisions of this section must be done with the accused present in court.
(3) The court shall cause the charge to be written down, if this has not already been done, and to be read to the accused.
(4) The court shall then explain to the accused in ordinary language that he may indicate whether (if the offence were to proceed to trial) he would plead guilty or not guilty, and that if he indicates that he would plead guilty--
a) the court must proceed as mentioned in subsection (6) below, and
(b) he may be committed for sentence to the Crown Court under [section 3 of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000] if the court is of such opinion as is mentioned in subsection (2) of that section.
(5) The court shall then ask the accused whether (f the offence were to proceed to trial) he would plead guilty or not guilty.
(6) If the accused indicates that he would plead guilty the court shall proceed as if--
(a) the proceedings constituted from the beginning the summary trial of the information; and
(b) section 9(1) above was complied with and he pleaded guilty under it.
(7) If the accused indicates that he would plead not guilty section 18(1) below shall apply.
(8) If the accused in fact fails to indicate how he would plead, for the purposes of this section and section 18(1) below he shall be taken to indicate that he would plead not guilty.
(9) Subject to subsection (6) above, the following shall not for any purpose be taken to constitute the taking of a plea--
(a) asking the accused under this section whether (if the offence were to proceed to trial) he would plead guilty or not guilty;
(b) an indication by the accused under this section of how he would plead. District Judges (Magistrates’ Courts)
(3) The matters to which the Court is to have regard under subsection (1) above are the nature of the case; whether the circumstances make the offence one of a serious character; whether the punishment which a Magistrates Court would have power to inflict for it would be adequate; and any other circumstances which appear to the Court to make it more suitable for the offence to be tried in one way rather than the other.
(1) Where a person under the age of 18 years appears or is brought before a magistrates' court on an information charging him with an indictable offence other than one falling within subsection (1B) below, he shall be tried summarily unless -
(a) the offence is such as is mentioned in subsection (1) or (2) of section 91 of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 (under which young persons convicted on indictment of certain grave crimes may be sentenced to be detained for long periods) and the court considers that if he is found guilty of the offence it ought to be possible to sentence him in pursuance of subsection (3) of that section; …
and accordingly in a case falling within paragraph (a) ... of this subsection the court shall commit the accused for trial if either it is of opinion that there is sufficient evidence to put him on trial or it has power under section 6(2) above so to commit him without consideration of the evidence.
(1) A Magistrates Court may at any time, whether before or after beginning to hear a complaint, adjourn the hearing and may do so notwithstanding anything in this Act when composed of a single justice.
(2) The court, may when adjourning either fix the time and place at which the hearing is to be resumed, or, unless it remands the defendant under s.55 below leave the time and place to be determined by the court; but the hearing shall not be resumed at that time and place unless the court is satisfied that the parties had had adequate notice thereof.
(1) A magistrates' court by whose conviction or order a sum is adjudged to be paid may, instead of requiring immediate payment, allow time for payment, or order payment by instalments.
(2) Where a magistrates' court has allowed time for payment, the court may, on the application by or on behalf of the person liable to make the payment, allow further time or order payment by instalments.
(1) Where a justice of the peace is satisfied that-
(a) any person in England or Wales is likely to be able to give material evidence, or produce any document or thing likely to be material evidence, at the summary trial of an information or hearing of a complaint… by a magistrates' court, and
(b) it is in the interests of justice to issue a summons under this subsection to secure the attendance of that person to give evidence or produce the document or thing,
the justice shall issue a summons directed to that person requiring him to attend before the court at the time and place appointed in the summons to give evidence or to produce the document or thing.
101:- Where the defendant to an information or complaint relies for his defence on any exception, exemption, proviso, excuse or qualification, whether or not it accompanies the description of the offence, or matter of complaint in the enactment . . . or on which the complaint is founded, the burden of proving the exception, exemption, proviso, excuse or qualification shall be on him.
(1) The power of a magistrates’ court on the complaint of any person to adjudge any other person to enter into a recognisance, with or without sureties, to keep the peace or to be of good behaviour towards the complainant shall be exercised by order on complaint.
. . .
(3) If any person ordered by a magistrates’ court under subsection (1) above to enter into a recognisance, with or without sureties, to keep the peace or to be of good behaviour fails to comply with the order, the court may commit him to custody for a period not exceeding 6 months or until he sooner complies with the order.
(1) No objection shall be allowed to any information or complaint, or to any summons or warrant to procure the presence of the defendant, for any defect in it in substance or in form, or for any variance between it and the evidence adduced on behalf of the prosecutor or complainant at the hearing of the information or complaint.
(2) If it appears to a magistrates' court that any variance between a summons or warrant and the evidence adduced on behalf of the prosecutor or complainant is such that the defendant has been misled by the variance, the court shall, on the application of the defendant, adjourn the hearing.
(1) ... a magistrates’ court shall not try an information or hear a complaint unless the information was laid, or the complaint made, within 6 months from the time when the offence was committed, or the matter of complaint arose
(1) A magistrates' court imposing imprisonment on any person may order that the term of imprisonment shall commence on the expiration of any other term of imprisonment imposed by that or any other court; but where a magistrates' court imposes two or more terms of imprisonment to run consecutively the aggregate of such terms shall not, subject to the provisions of this section, exceed 6 months.
142. Power of magistrates' court to re-open cases to rectify mistakes etc.
(1) A magistrates' court may vary or rescind a sentence or other order imposed or made by it when dealing with an offender if it appears to the court to be in the interests of justice to do so; and it is hereby declared that this power extends to replacing a sentence or order which for any reason appears to be invalid by another which the court has power to impose or make.
(2) Where a person is convicted by a magistrates' court and it subsequently appears to the court that it would be in the interests of justice that the case should be heard again by different justices, the court may so direct.
(1) . . .
(ga) authorising, for the purposes of the law relating to contempt of court, the publication in such circumstances as may be specified of information relating to proceedings referred to in section 12(1)(a) of the Administration of Justice Act 1960 which are held in private;
(1)In this Act the expression “magistrates’ court” means any justice or justices of the peace acting under any enactment or by virtue of his or their commission or under the common law.
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