Minor traffic offences to be heard by new courts in England and Wales

Traffic Trials of the new courts have been successful, police say

Related Stories

Dedicated traffic courts are to be set up in England and Wales to prosecute minor motoring offences following a pilot scheme in nine areas.

The move is part of a drive to cut delays in the criminal justice system and free up magistrates' courts to deal with more serious cases.

Each year, 500,000 minor motoring offences go through the courts.

Ministers say such cases clog up the courts, which should be dealing with more serious offences.

Dedicated traffic courts have been piloted in Essex, Hampshire, Kent, Lincolnshire, Metropolitan Police, Nottinghamshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and West Yorkshire and police have said they had successfully "simplified" the legal process.

The plan is to open a traffic court in every police area by April 2014, and to use specialist prosecutors to deal with up to a 160 cases a day.

'Swift justice'

Cases they could hear include speeding, traffic light offences and those relating to insurance and driving licences.

The new courts will only have jurisdiction in the 90% of cases where motorists admit their guilt; if they contest the offence, it will be dealt with by magistrate courts as at present.

Justice Minister Damian Green said enforcing traffic laws was hugely important for road safety but the time it was taking to hear cases - especially those when drivers had accepted their guilt - was "simply unacceptable".

"The justice system must respond more quickly and effectively to the needs of victims, witnesses and local communities, and these dedicated courts will enable magistrates to better organise their work and drive greater efficiency," he said.

Labour said it welcomed moves to make courts more efficient and specialised.

"It is important that we have swift justice, and I look forward to seeing results of how this works in practice," said the party's shadow justice spokesman Sadiq Khan.

But Mr Khan said the measures amounted to "low-hanging fruit" and much bigger savings could be identified through a root-and-branch review of the courts and prosecution systems.


More on This Story

Related Stories


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 179.

    There's not driver in the land that hasn't broken the speed limit. I know I have. The limits are there for good reasons, even if they are not apparent at the time, so if your caught, don't whinge just pay up, look big and be more careful in the future. But there is a huge difference to 100mph at 5am on an empty motorway and 35mph in an urban or village setting and penalties should reflect this.

  • rate this

    Comment number 178.

    169. Shaunie Babes
    There has never been a single case of a speed camera photographing an accident. Which is odd considering "speed kills".

    Probably because people slow down when they see them, or there filled with expanding foam.

  • rate this

    Comment number 177.

    156. mrcynict4
    What is the poor motorist supposed to do, if a clown of a pedestrian steps out in front of him ?
    Emergency stop? You might remember it from your driving test.

    A good driver keeps an eye on the pavement as well as the road and anticipates this sort of thing. I find white iphone headphones are a good hint of potentially stupid behaviour.

  • rate this

    Comment number 176.

    Speed does not Kill otherwise everyone travelling at 120 MPH on a train would be dead. It is the inappropriate use of speed and peoples inability to control their vehicle that can kill.

  • rate this

    Comment number 175.

    I can see that this will be overseen by the usual anti speed Zealots and BRAKE supporters, the intolerance of such people knows no bounds, you'll be getting bigger fines, more points until one day there will be no one left in the country with a driving license.

    90% of speeding offences are minor and offer no real threat to the general public. It's downright dangerous drivers that need stopped.

  • rate this

    Comment number 174.

    More discretion and common sense regarding speed limits.
    Set them sensibly, enforce them sensibly.

    And teach society to respect pushbikes more, it's the way to go.

  • rate this

    Comment number 173.

    It cuts both ways - we need to have better Courts to deal with drivers who wish to plea their case. Experience is that the whole system assumes you are guilty on the evidence of the police - however contrived it is.

  • rate this

    Comment number 172.

    How on earth are they going to pay for this?
    To deal with the "idiots" who will need to be dealt with, then they are going to have to sit 24 hours a day, 7 days a week 365 days a year and STILL there would be a backlog.
    Time to change the system and allow people to be drivers of vehicles they are qualified and COMPETANT to drive.

  • rate this

    Comment number 171.

    The motorist has always been a "cash cow" and it is much nicer to sit in a warm police car catching someone doing 35mph in a 30mph limit rather than running down the street after yobbos on a dark, wet and cold night. Just being a motorist is criminal these days. Very sad I think but just a reflection of the UK in the 21st. century. There you go.

  • rate this

    Comment number 170.

  • rate this

    Comment number 169.

    There has never been a single case of a speed camera photographing an accident. Which is odd considering "speed kills".

  • rate this

    Comment number 168.

    @158 this is a very good idea. I currently have 2 tickets that need paying but due to an address change im now waiting on courts to resubmit info back to the council and its taking forever and wasting time. Happy to pay up if someone would let me pay the correct amount!

  • rate this

    Comment number 167.

    Maybe if they didn't arbitrarily reduce speed limits on perfectly safe roads and then stick mobile speed cameras to deliberately trap locals travelling above the new speed limit and below the old one there would be no need for all these prosecutions.

  • rate this

    Comment number 166.

    Reading some of the posts you'd think fines, speed restrictions and stupid drivers is a new concept. The idea of dealing quickly with minor, admitted guilt cases, just seems good sense; what's wrong with improving efficiencies - the system paying for itself?! I can still choose to go to court and contest if I want, my democratic rights remain intact.

  • rate this

    Comment number 165.

    @154 "it would be better if people could judge appropriate speed properly themselves". I agree, but in general it appears that they can't.

    @146 "Just look at the number of idiots who stay in the middle lane, at 50 mph turning a three lane road into a single lane" - I see people doing this at 70, but not at 50. I assume your speedo is set 20 mph low, so you think that you are doing 70, not 90!

  • rate this

    Comment number 164.

    So, using a mobile phone whilst driving is a minor offence? Tell that to the relatives of those who have been killed, crushed by large vehicles on our roads. It's as bad as drink driving. It's not unusual to see mobile in one hand, fag in the other, on the school run, "child on board" sign.

  • rate this

    Comment number 163.

    "I personally support safe diving as I am sure we all do
    Sadly at about 7-30 to 9 and 3-30 to 5 mummies in her unnecessary large 4 wheel drive tank takes the chosen ones to their very very posh schools
    She normally takes too long to put on the necessary make up leaves late and then drives at silly speeds and with total disregard for other road users"
    While on her mobile phone

  • rate this

    Comment number 162.

    147 Martin

    'Unless, of course, you are quite happy to sleep at night having knocked down a child whilst "only" doing 30mph+.'

    Come now. You know that all accidents occur at SPEED LIMIT - 2MPH. So people in 30MPH limits are hit at 28MPH, people in 40MPH are hit at 38MPH etc etc.

  • rate this

    Comment number 161.

    148. Dan_Dover
    Speed does not kill! If you know about physics, then you would know that even if something is travelling at 400 mph, it won't kill, or even damage anything! It is the impact that kills.Trains and planes reach high speeds, nobody killed, unless they hit something, so don't be facetious until you get the facts right! You may not like it, but it is a fact! Idiocy kills, if you like!

  • rate this

    Comment number 160.

    What is the poor motorist supposed to do, if a clown of a pedestrian steps out in front of him ?"
    An emergency stop? Just because you can drive that shouldn't give you the right to kill anyone who gets in you way. Anyone else would get a life sentence for doing that.


Page 15 of 23


More UK stories



Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.