Regina v Metropolitan Stipendiary Magistrates ex parte Levy: Admn 16 Jun 1997

The court was asked whether a defendant can be convicted of driving while disqualified notwithstanding that, subsequent to the act of driving in question, he has successfully appealed against the conviction for which he had earlier been disqualified? The magistrates refused to state a case, saying that the request was frivolous.
As to the refusal to state a case, if there is a real point to be argued, then a case should have been stated. Simon Brown LJ said: ‘On 13th November 1996 the Magistrate refused to state a case, explaining fully and helpfully the reasons why he regarded the applicant’s argument as unsustainable and why in the result he concluded that the application was frivolous within the meaning of section 111(5) of the Magistrates’ Court Act 1980.
Invited by the applicant’s solicitors on 4th December 1996 to reconsider his decision, the Magistrate on 11th December refused, pointing out that, in any event, ‘the case has in effect been stated in the body of that letter’ (i.e. his earlier letter of 13th November). The same day, 11th December 1996, the applicant brought judicial review proceedings seeking an order for mandamus to require the respondent Magistrate to state a case. Leave to move was granted . . on 26th January 1997, and it was in that form that the matter first came before us today. As, however, I have had occasion to remark in a number of other cases, such a course, although conventional and technically correct, is in fact, in circumstances such as arise here, absurdly inconvenient. If it succeeds, all it produces is an order for a case to be stated which in reality advances the resolution of the substantive issue not one jot. Far better surely, in a case like this where the facts are not in dispute and where in any event the Magistrate has, as he observed, already in effect stated the case, that the true issue should be placed directly before this court (as so easily it can be) by way of a straightforward judicial review challenge to the legality of the conviction . . With these considerations in mind, we gave leave at the outset of the hearing to amend the proceedings to include a separate judicial review challenge going directly to the conviction on 23rd October 1996 so as to raise squarely for present decision – rather than merely for the expression of a prima facie view upon – the critical issue arising. I should just note that we took this course with the agreement not merely of the applicant, but also of the Crown Prosecution Service who fortunately were represented before us.’


Simon Brown LJ, Garland J


[1997] EWHC Admin 559




Magistrates’ Court Act 1980


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedSunworld Limited v Hammersmith and Fulham London Borough Council QBD 2000
The company faced a prosecution under the 1968 Act, in respect of a brochure. On conviction, the company asked the Crown Court to state a case for the Divisional Court. The Recorder refused as to two points, saying that they were decisions of fact . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Criminal Practice, Magistrates, Judicial Review

Updated: 26 May 2022; Ref: scu.137504