Q&As

How should a complaint against an abatement notice under section 51 of the Magistrates’ Court Act 1980 (MCA 1980) be made and what is the impact of non-payment of the court fee payable? What are the permitted methods laying a complaint under MCA 1980, s 51 to a magistrates' court?

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Published on LexisPSL on 22/01/2019

The following Corporate Crime Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • How should a complaint against an abatement notice under section 51 of the Magistrates’ Court Act 1980 (MCA 1980) be made and what is the impact of non-payment of the court fee payable? What are the permitted methods laying a complaint under MCA 1980, s 51 to a magistrates' court?
  • Laying a complaint in the magistrates’ court
  • Fees payable on laying a complaint in the magistrates’ court
  • Service of the summons on the defendant

How should a complaint against an abatement notice under section 51 of the Magistrates’ Court Act 1980 (MCA 1980) be made and what is the impact of non-payment of the court fee payable? What are the permitted methods laying a complaint under MCA 1980, s 51 to a magistrates' court?

Laying a complaint in the magistrates’ court

Certain proceedings before a magistrates’ court must be begun by the laying of a complaint under section 51 of the Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980 (MCA 1980). An appeal against an abatement notice is one such example.

The procedure for laying a complaint comes under the magistrates’ courts civil jurisdiction as opposed to its criminal jurisdiction. The distinction between an information and a complaint is that an information is laid where the person charged has committed, or is alleged to have committed, an offence for which they may be punished, while a complaint is made where the person in regard to whom it is made is liable, or alleged to be liable, to have an order made upon them either to pay money or to do or refrain from doing any act. See Commentary: Distinction between information and complaint: Halsbury's Laws of England [522].

MCA 1980, s 51 provides:

‘Where a complaint relating to a person is made to a justice of the peace, the justice of the peace may issue a summons

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