A statutory declaration is a written statement declared to be true in the presence of an authorised witness. You will need to adhere to a strict submission process to the Court.
We are often asked how do you go about making a Statutory Declaration at the Magistrates’ Court? This is normally in relation to our clients who have been convicted of road traffic offences without realising.
It normally transpires that this has happened because either our client has an extremely poor postal service to their home address or they have moved addresses and the V5 (log book) for the vehicle has not been updated.
When this happens you can either make an application for the case to be re-opened under Section 142 of the Magistrates’ Courts Act (see our page in that regard) or you can ask the Court to hear a Statutory Declaration.
Allowing you to make an application to re-open a case is at the Magistrates discretion.
Making a Statutory Declaration within 21 days of finding out that you have been convicted of an offence without your knowledge is not subject to the discretion of the Magistrates. The Magistrates can refuse to allow you to make a Statutory Declaration more than 21 days after you have found out about the conviction but they cannot refuse you the opportunity to make a Statutory Declaration within that period.
If the Magistrates do not believe the statutory declaration that you are making (and you have to swear the statutory declaration on oath) then they can warn you about the offence of perjury and you should take such a warning seriously.
If you find out that you have been convicted of an offence without realising, then you have to act fast. At the same time as asking the Court to list the case for a Statutory Declaration to be made, we will often lodge a Leave to Appeal to the Crown Court, (normally out of time) just in case the Magistrate refuses for some reason to hear the declaration.
Each case depends on its individual circumstances and if this has happened to you then you will need urgent specific advice relevant to the facts of your case so that your statutory declaration is presented correctly.
Making a Statutory Declaration sets aside the conviction. The Magistrates can then either re-list the case, based on an indication from you that it is your intention to plead not guilty to the original matter. If the Court adopts this approach, then your case will simply be adjourned to a new date for you to attend for trial.
Sometimes when you make a Statutory Declaration, the Court will simply accept that statutory declaration and send you on your way. This does not mean that the matter is over and done with. The Court notifies the Crown Prosecution Service that the Statutory Declaration has been made and the vast majority of the time the Crown Prosecution Service will lay in fresh information for the original offence and the proceedings will start over again.
You will then receive a Summons and you will have to attend and indicate whether or not you plead guilty or not guilty. We have had many cases in the past where people have made a Statutory Declaration because they did not receive the Summons and have not notified the Court of their up to date address and then proceedings have been re-issued to their old incorrect address.
We have had a number of people who have had to go through the Statutory Declaration exercise on a number of occasions in relation to the same case. When you make a Statutory Declaration, the limitation period (in road traffic offences is normally 6 months) disappears.
Therefore the Prosecution are allowed to instigate fresh motoring offence proceedings even though it is more than 6 months from the original offence. Most of the cases that we deal with that require a Statutory Declaration are allegations of failing to provide driver information.
Our clients will have been convicted in their absence of this offence and the original speeding matter will have been withdrawn. It is strongly argued that when you make a Statutory Declaration, the Court do not have the power to re-open the 'withdrawal' of the original speeding matter.
Lots of Courts tend to do this and in our view that this approach is wrong in law. Again, you will need extra advice in this regard if this has happened to you.
If you need help making a Statutory Declaration or you are worried about the proceedings to which the Statutory Declaration relates, then please contact us or call in for urgent advice.
We can help you to complete the statutory declaration forms to get your case reopened successfully.
I wanted to thank you for all the good and diligent work you have done on my behalf. I am very pleased with the final outcome of my court case and most satisfied with the level of service you provided.
Dear Louise, I would like to express deep appreciation for all the work and effort you've put into my case and for ultimately getting me the decision that I wanted. Your professionalism, ease to communicate with, understanding of my problem and successful result are all testimony to your excellent legal services. I would recommend anybody with a Road Traffic Offence matter to your use your firm as they can be assured of an excellent and thorough service. Thanks again.
Having Googled for a solicitor who had expertise in the area of my alleged offence I found your firm and I have to say it I am so glad I contacted you. From the first phone call the attitude from your office was positive and informative. Once I instructed your firm officially I immediately felt that my case was at last being handled by someone who actually had an interest and knowledge and wanted to provide an exceptional service. All in all a positive experience. My thanks to all who had dealings with my case and especially to Louise for the expediency with which she dealt with the case saving me many sleepless nights. Very professional, honest from the outcome, didn't raise my hopes at getting case discharged at all. Very well done.
It is extremely rare to do a web search and stumble across a firm of any profession, and actually receive a first rate service, but that’s what’s happened in this instance. My hesitation was doubled by the fact they are located 200 miles away from me. From my initial contact through the web site, the call back was very, very fast, and the conversation put you in no doubt you were in safe hands. The contact with the secretaries was fast and efficient. The information from both the Principle Solicitor Emma Patterson and the Solicitor and Senior Case Progression Officer Louise Kippax was professional, useful, thorough and pragmatic. I wish more people in all professional services sector were as down to earth, and say it like it is! Overall, I would have no hesitation in recommending this firm. Thank you!
Great Response, Great Advice, Great Service and … Great Result – Thanks.