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How To Get Your Case Reopened in Magistrates Court

Reopening a Case in the Magistrates Court

The only standard practice method of setting aside a conviction is to appeal to the Crown Court, or if you were not aware that proceedings were happening you can make a statutory declaration.

Under Section 142 of the magistrates Court Act 1980, magistrates have the authority to get your case reopened in order to rectify an error.

This might be used if you have missed a stage in the case proceedings, or if you have been found guilty and convicted in your absence.

It might for example be possible for a Magistrate to re-open your case if you have an insurance certificate that provides insurance cover for you in relation to an alleged offence but you weren’t able to provide it to the Court when you were originally convicted, either because it wasn’t possible to get hold of a copy or you were not present for that stage of the court proceedings.

Magistrates are required to act on proper judicial grounds in deciding if it is the interests of Justice for the case to be re-opened to allow for the error or mistake to be amended. This is a general power to amend errors and mistakes.

As soon as you become aware that a mistake has been made you should make an application as a matter of urgency. The less delay in making an application under Section 142 the more likely it is to be successful.

If you wish to request the Magistrates to use their powers under Section 142 to re-open your case you will need to speak to the Court Listings Department so that you can attend Court and make an application.

There isn’t an application form for the request, instead you will go before the Magistrates and outline the circumstances of the mistake that you believe has been made. This is your opportunity to persuade the Court that they should re-open the case in the interests of Justice.


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