What to do if...
Grace Wiles - Food Regulatory team

Challenging a summons from the Magistrates Court

 “I have received a summons from the Magistrates Court, and I want to challenge it. What do I do?”

5 key steps to take when dealing with a summons from the Magistrates Court:

  1. Don’t panic.  Receiving a Court summons is worrying and stressful. 
  2. Read the Court Documents.  Take the time to read the Summons and Advance Disclosure Bundle carefully.  It is important that you understand what the regulator is alleging.  Note down any upcoming hearing dates.
  3. Free Half Hour.  Use your free half hour and call our specialist team.  We are happy to discuss any potential new case. If we can resolve the case for you within 30 minutes, we will not charge any fees. If we consider that a formal instruction is required we will provide you with clear information on our fixed fee costs. 
  4. Available Defences.  We will advise upon whether there are any defences available and crucially whether there are any legal arguments which can be run which if successful will bring the proceedings to an end. 
  5. Mitigation.  If there is no factual defence and no available legal arguments then we will assist you in putting forward the best mitigation with a view to keeping any penalty imposed to a minimum.

Important Note

In our experience there are frequently defences available to prosecutions in respect of food hygiene, food safety and animal welfare.The penalty in the event of conviction is an unlimited fine.It is therefore very important to secure the best legal advice.This will ensure that all available defences are identified from the outset.In addition, in the unfortunate event of a conviction your specialist solicitors will put forward mitigation on your behalf so as to keep any financial penalty to a minimum.

 

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