Special traffic courts to deal with motoring offences


Special traffic courts to deal with motoring offences

A new proposal by the Ministry of Justice could see driving offences heard in special traffic courts to free up time for more serious cases.

Magistrates courts hear around half a million motoring cases every year, with some taking over six months from offence to completion.

In the eyes of justice ministers, this time could be better spent dealing with more serious crimes.

The justice minister Damian Green told The Guardian: "The justice system must respond more quickly and effectively to the needs of victims, witnesses and local communities, and these dedicated courts will enable magistrates to better organise their work and drive greater efficiency."

The government is currently discussing with the judiciary, who are responsible for managing cases in the courts, how the traffic courts can be delivered across the country.

So far, nine areas have trialled the new traffic courts, including: Essex, Hampshire, Kent, Lincolnshire, Metropolitan police, Nottinghamshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and West Yorkshire.

Chief Constable Chris Eyre, the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) lead on criminal justice, said: "We have implemented this new procedure to traffic cases with great success in nine police forces – radically simplifying and speeding up the process.

"This is only implemented when there is a guilty plea or where the case against a defendant is not contested. "Effective first hearings have significantly reduced the amount of adjournments and a single court can deal with up to 160 cases a day."