Rockall v Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Admn 22 Mar 2007

The defendant appealed against his conviction under the Act, saying that the proceedings had been issued late. The issue was the calculation of the date when proceedings were begun.
Held: There was no justification for reading the wording of the two Acts differently despite the extended time limit allowed by the 1967 Act. The time limit expired over a weekend, but the complaint was received by fax. An information was laid by fax at the point where it could have been read: ‘the essential concept running through all these authorities is that the information should be made available to the justices, or the clerk to the justice, within time. This will be so in relation to postal delivery when it can properly be inferred that it has been received, whether opened or not; and as far as transmissions by fax or other electronic means are concerned, that will be when it can properly be inferred that the information is retrievable, whether retrieved in fact or not. ‘ On that basis the appeal was denied.


Latham LJ, Davis J


Times 11-May-2007, [2007] EWHC 614 (Admin)




Forestry Act 1967 17(1), Magistrates’ Court Act 1980 127(1)


England and Wales


CitedRex v Willace 1797
The commencement of a prosecution was held to be ‘the information and proceeding before the magistrate’. . .
CitedPrice v Humphries 1958
The court was asked whether or not the prosecution had proved that the relevant proceedings had been ‘instituted’ by or with the consent of the minister or other authorised agent as required by section 53(1) of the National Insurance Act 1946.
CitedRegina v Manchester Stipendiary Magistrate, ex parte Hill and others HL 1993
The complaint had been laid before Magistrates before the expiration of the time limit, but was only considered and the summons issued after the time limit. The House also considered the power of delegation where a justice of the peace or the clerk . .
CitedDirector of Public Prosecutions v Cottier QBD 22-Feb-1996
Proceedings against a youth begin at court; notice need not be given to the youth panel before the charge itself is made at police station. When considering whether proceedings have been ‘begun’ in any court for the section Saville LJ, said: ‘We . .
MentionedLloyd v Young Admn 1963
There had been doubt on the face of the summons as to the date of the laying of the information.
Held: The court concluded on the evidence that the Justices were entitled to dismiss the information because of the doubts of the date. . .
CitedRegina v Pontypridd Juvenile Court ex parte B and others Admn 1988
The court was asked about compliance with the time limits in the 1980 Act. There was a computer link between the police station and the magistrates’ court. The practice for laying an information was for the police to feed the information into the . .
CitedAtkinson v Director of Public Prosecutions Admn 12-May-2004
The court considered how to apply the time limits in the section. There was a system for automatic electronic communication between the police and the court office. The six month time limit expired on the 16th December. The documents served on the . .

Cited by:

See AlsoRockall v Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Admn 9-May-2008
The defendant appealed by way of case stated against his conviction for having felled more than five cubic metres of wood without a licence. He argued that the summons had been issued out of time.
Held: The request to state a case failed. . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Magistrates, Agriculture

Updated: 10 July 2022; Ref: scu.250593