March 2016 - Motoring law update

Sentencing Council - Allocation guideline - Determining whether cases should be dealt with by a magistrates’ court or the Crown Court

To be used from 1 March 2016. Revised definitive guideline on determining whether cases should be dealt with by a magistrates’ court or the Crown Court. The new guideline came into effect on 1 March 2016.

1. In general, either way offences should be tried summarily unless:

  • the outcome would clearly be a sentence in excess of the court’s powers for the offence(s) concerned after taking into account personal mitigation and any potential reduction for a guilty plea; or
  • for reasons of unusual legal, procedural or factual complexity, the case should be tried in the Crown Court. This exception may apply in cases where a very substantial fine is the likely sentence. Other circumstances where this exception will apply are likely to be rare and case specific; the court will rely on the submissions of the parties to identify relevant cases.

2. In cases with no factual or legal complications the court should bear in mind its power to commit for sentence after a trial and may retain jurisdiction notwithstanding that the likely sentence might exceed its powers.

3. Cases may be tried summarily even where the defendant is subject to a Crown Court Suspended Sentence Order or Community Order.

4. All parties should be asked by the court to make representations as to whether the case is suitable for summary trial. The court should refer to definitive guidelines (if any) to assess the likely sentence for the offence in the light of the facts alleged by the prosecution case, taking into account all aspects of the case including those advanced by the defence, including any personal mitigation to which the defence wish to refer.

Where the court decides that the case is suitable to be dealt with in the magistrates’ court, it must warn the defendant that all sentencing options remain open and, if the defendant consents to summary trial and is convicted by the court or pleads guilty, the defendant may be committed to the Crown Court for sentence.

Committal for sentence

There is ordinarily no statutory restriction on committing an either way case for sentence following conviction. The general power of the magistrates’ court to commit to the Crown Court for sentence a er a nding that a case is suitable for summary trial and/or conviction continues to be available where the court is of the opinion ‘that the o ence or the combination of the o ence and one or more o ences associated with it was so serious that the Crown Court should, in the court’s opinion, have the power to deal with the o ender in any way it could deal with him if he had been convicted on indictment’


R v Boyle Transport (Northern Ireland) Ltd [2016] EWCA Crim 19

On 25th February 2016 the Court of Appeal gave judgment in Boyle Transport (Northern Ireland) Limited v. R and R v. Patrick Boyle and Mark Boyle [2016] EWCA Crim 19, in which it quashed substantial confiscation and enforcement receivership orders. The case is an important one in relation to piercing the corporate veil in confiscation cases, and is the most detailed consideration by the Court of Appeal in this context of the general principles set out by the Supreme Court in Prest v Petrodel Resources Limited [2013] 2 AC 415.


The Driving Licences (Exchangeable Licences) Order 2016. SI 2016 No. 277

This Order (in force: 23rd March 2016) designates Switzerland under section 108(2)(b) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 as making satisfactory provision for the issue of certain classes of driving licence. This enables a person holding one of those licences to exchange it for a corresponding British licence. The licences affected are those issued in Switzerland authorising the driving of large goods vehicles and large buses (with or without a trailer). The Order provides that a Swiss licence authorising the driving of vehicles with automatic transmission is exchangeable for a British licence authorising the driving of vehicles with automatic transmission only.



Parlimentary written question.

Douglas Carswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans his Department has to update the Drug Driving (Specified Limits) (England and Wales) Regulations 2014, so as to reduce the amount of a drug that can be detected in blood for the purposes of the definition of that offence.

Andrew Jones: The Department is evaluating the new specified limits drug driving offence and a final report from the researcher is due at the end of 2016. The Department will consider its findings and assess whether there is any requirement to change the legislation, but currently there are no plans to amend the regulations. Thanks to the tougher law, police are catching and convicting more drug drivers.



The DVLA has published this guide - which includes the GMC Guidelines:

1. The driver is legally responsible for informing the DVLA about such a condition or treatment. However, if a patient has such a condition, you should explain to the patient:

a) That the condition may affect their ability to drive (if the patient is incapable of understanding this advice, for example because of dementia, you should inform the DVLA immediately) and;

b) That they have a legal duty to inform the DVLA about the condition.

2. If a patient refuses to accept the diagnosis, or the effect of the condition on their ability to drive, you can suggest that they seek a second opinion, and help arrange for them to do so. You should advise the patient not to drive in the meantime.

3. If a patient continues to drive when they may not be to do so, you should make every reasonable effort to persuade them to stop. As long as the patient agrees, you may discuss your concerns with their relatives, friends or carers.

4. If you do not manage to persuade the patient to stop driving, or you discover that they are continuing to drive against your advice, you should contact the DVLA immediately and disclose any relevant medical information, in con dence, to the medical adviser.

5. Before contacting the DVLA, you should try to inform the patient of your decision to disclose personal information. You should also inform the patient in writing once you have done so.


House of Commons Transport Committee - Road Traffic Law Enforcement

Seecond Report of 2015-2016

"Exceeding the speed limit was a contributory factor in 254 fatal accidents in 2014, 16% of all fatal accidents, as well as 1,199 serious accidents; this was the fourth most prevalent contributory factor in fatal collisions.29 is is distinct from “travelling too fast for conditions”, a factor in 169 fatal accidents (11% of all fatal accidents) in 2014, which does not necessarily imply exceeding the speed limit. Exceeding the speed limit can be dealt with by a warning, an FPN, a diversionary course (the National Speed Awareness Court, NSAC), or court proceedings. With the increasing use of this course, FPNs for speeding have more than halved from a 2005 peak of 1.98 million to 743,100 in 2014.30 e use of the NSAC has more than doubled over the same period."


Smoking in cars with children: Police 'cannot' enforce ban

According to the BBC, "No fines or court summonses were issued in the first three months of the law, a BBC Radio 5 live freedom of information (FOI) request suggests. The Police Federation said there was no "physical ticket" to enforce the law. The government said it was working with police and councils on arrangements."


Improvement to Crown Court DCS form

An improvement to the Digital Case System (DCS) means that advocates are able to make online edits to the pre-trial and preparation hearing (PTPH) form.

This means that advocates can carry on working within the DCS. The previous way of working required the user to download the form, edit, save and then upload back into the DCS.

Likewise, the indictment can now be edited online within the DCS by prosecution advocates. However, this applies solely to those applications to amend made on the day of the hearing.

Details here.