New online plea service for minor motoring offences
A new government service has been introduced allowing anyone who has been charged with a minor motoring offence, such as speeding, to make a plea online. The “Make a Plea” system was piloted from August last year in Manchester and, following this successful trial, where more than 1,200 people used the service, the government is to roll it out gradually across the rest of England and Wales from this month. The courts presently process thousands of minor motoring offences every year and this new scheme, which can be used as an alternative to the present methods of either court attendance or a postal plea has been designed to reduce case time and costs for the courts and the police, it will also allow the police to focus on those cases that are more complex and demanding and is part of plans by the government to modernise our courts. Mr Shailesh Vara is Courts Minister and he said “Digital technology gives us an opportunity to make the justice system simpler, clearer and faster – and part of this means reducing or removing the unnecessary movement of paper, and people, around the system.” Anyone wishing to enter their plea will be able to access the “Make a Plea” system via the secure website 24 hours a day; they will also be able to view the details of their case and any evidence against them. The new system will mean they may be able to avoid having to attend the court in person and anyone making a guilty plea may result in a discount on any fines imposed by the court. Mr Vara stated that “The new ‘Make a Plea’ service is reducing case time and costs for the courts and the police, ensuring that they can focus on the most complex cases. It makes it easy, simple and quick for people to access justice.”
The government is also giving consideration to extending this type of service to other low level crimes as part of key government objectives for improved use of digital technology, Mr Shailesh Vara said that “Wider modernisation of the courts has included investing £160 million in digital technology for courtrooms including video links, wifi and improved IT systems to end the system’s reliance on paper.”
For more information about the new “Make a Plea” system please visit the government website at Make A Plea
Special thanks Lee Haywood for providing the image.