The welcome announcement of special traffic courts
The Ministry of Justice has announced that it is to set up specialist traffic courts to deal with motoring prosecutions for offences such as speeding, issues with driving licences and traffic light offences.
It is estimated that around half a million motoring offences are currently dealt with in the Magistrates’ Courts each year with motorists often having to wait four or five months for cases to be brought to court – and worry throughout that period over the outcome.
It would appear that the new traffic courts will only be able to deal with cases where the motorist pleads guilty. If they plead not guilty then the case will, quite rightly in my view, still be adjourned for a trial to take place in the 'non specialist' Magistrates' Court.
These proposals seem to deliver a pragmatic approach - a sensible balance of due process, justice and efficiency.
The proposal is part of the Government's Criminal Justice Strategy and Action Plan – the courts will be set up in every police area in England and Wales and ready to hear road traffic cases by April 2014. The Ministry is to work with the Judiciary to determine how this can be delivered across the country.