Commencing criminal proceedings—written charge and requisition or single justice procedure notice
Commencing criminal proceedings—written charge and requisition or single justice procedure notice

The following Corporate Crime practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Commencing criminal proceedings—written charge and requisition or single justice procedure notice
  • Instituting proceedings by way of a written charge and requisition
  • Which prosecutors can use the written charge and requisition procedure?
  • Contents of a written charge
  • Contents of a requisition
  • Service of the requisition on the defendant
  • Amendment of a written charge
  • Time limits for summary only offences
  • Amendment of a written charge outside statutory time limits
  • Instituting proceedings by way of a written charge and single justice procedure notice

All criminal cases begin in the magistrates' court regardless of the seriousness of the offence. There are, however, a number of ways of commencing criminal proceedings in England and Wales:

  1. the defendant may be arrested and charged by the police and brought before a magistrates’ court

  2. the prosecution can apply to the magistrates’ court for the issue of a summons (also called ‘laying an information’) requiring the defendant to attend court on a specified date and time

  3. a relevant prosecutor may issue a written charge together with a requisition requiring the defendant to attend court on a specified date and time

  4. a relevant prosecutor may issue a written charge together with a single justice procedure notice requiring the defendant to indicate a plea and if guilty, consent to the disposal of the case by use of the single justice procedure on the papers

This Practice Note explains the procedure which must be followed to commence a criminal prosecution by way of written charge and requisition or single justice procedure notice under section 29 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (CJA 2003). This provision enables a relevant prosecutor to issue a written charge alleging that a person or organisation has committed an offence and, at the same time, must issue either a requisition notice requiring the attendance of the defendant at court or a single justice

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