One million pleas online helping courts resolve cases quickly

One million pleas have now been made online in the criminal courts since 2014, helping to speed up the processing of minor crimes

  • pleas made online for low-level crimes help speed up legal cases
  • months of court time saved since outdated postal practice went online

Most defendants facing non-imprisonable motoring offences such as speeding or having no insurance have been able to enter their plea online instead of by post since the widespread roll-out of the digital service was completed 6 years ago.

The former postal system meant those accused of offences were required to fill in a paper form indicating a guilty or not guilty plea, before posting it back to the courts to be processed.

The new system means cases are now dealt with more efficiently, freeing up court staff time to deal with both more serious offences and immigration cases, speeding up asylum decisions and stopping the boats.

Justice Secretary, Alex Chalk KC, said:

"This is a great example of the changes we are making to modernise the justice system.

"Making our justice system more straight forward for users drives efficiency, cuts down on red tape for staff and ultimately strengthens the rule of law."

The service means that only those wishing to contest a charge need to go to the court and guilty pleas entered online are dealt with by a single magistrate sitting with a legal adviser under the Single Justice Procedure. Anyone can still choose to attend court for a full court hearing if they wish to do so.

The ability to make online pleas is just one of the measures introduced as part of the HMCTS Reform Programme which is making more services available online and improving access to justice.

Ministry of Justice
HM Courts & Tribunals Service
Alex Chalk KC MP