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What is a Statutory Declaration?

Sometimes people are convicted of road traffic offences and they are completely unaware of the proceedings. This can be because the Summons has been sent to the wrong address (normally because the registered address of the vehicle has not been kept up to date).  It can also be because you have moved home and the Summons has been sent to your old address. Another explanation put forward is that there have been problems with the post being delivered to the house.

In any event it is obviously not fair if you are convicted of a road traffic offence with no knowledge that there are proceedings ongoing.

A Statutory Declaration is a means of voiding (setting aside) the original proceedings. If you make one within 21 days of becoming aware of the fact that there are either ongoing proceedings, or you have been convicted of an offence without your knowledge, then the original proceedings or a stage in the proceedings is deemed void.

The Court can either void the proceedings altogether or can void the conviction and allow you the opportunity to plead not guilty and contest the matter.

You should consider seriously whether or not it is your best interests to make one if you accept that you were actually guilty of the offence alleged. If you set aside the conviction there is a good chance that the Crown Prosecution Service will maintain the prosecution against you and you could end up being convicted again or having to plead guilty because you do not have a defence to the allegation.

If, however, you genuinely want to plead not guilty to the allegation that is being made you need to make the declaration within 21 days of becoming aware of the fact that the proceedings were ongoing, or becoming aware that you have missed a stage in those proceedings.

In order to do so you need to liaise with the Court that convicted you and arrange to go in so you can appear before the Justice of the Peace.

The Magistrates Court are used to this procedure and will often help you with the procedure.

Before you make the declaration, you will be warned that if anything you say later turns out to be untrue you could be prosecuted for perjury, which carries an almost inevitable prison sentence.

How do I make the declaration?

In order to make a Statutory Declaration you need to complete and take the following Court form to Court with you. As stated above you have to make sure that the information contained within the form is 100% accurate. You then need to read out the form in the presence of a Justice of the Peace, you then need to sign it and it needs to be countersigned by the Justice of the Peace who witnessed your statement.

Once this has been done, the Court will void either the stage in the proceedings that you have missed or the whole proceedings and will notify the Crown Prosecution Service of the same. Most importantly, it will allow you to defend the matter if the Prosecution indicate that they are minded to continue with the Prosecution.

If a fine, penalty points or a ban was imposed as a result of the original conviction then these will be rendered void also. Any orders of the Court that flowed from the original conviction will be void.

The form that you complete and take with you to Court (take at least two copies) should read as follows:

Statutory Declarations Act 1835

(name) of (address) do solemnly and sincerely declare that:

(Specify the matter to be declared)

(e.g. "I did not know about the proceedings against me at Timbuktu Magistrates Court in relation to an allegation of speeding which resulted in me convicted in my absence on the 23rd September 2006 until the 15th November 2006 when I received a call from the court bailiffs telling me that there was a fine outstanding in my


And I make this solemn declaration conscientiously believing the same to be true, and by virtue of the provisions of the Statutory Declarations Act 1835.

Dated the (date)   (Signature of the person making the declaration)

Declared before me  (Signature of the Justice of the Peace)

Justice of the Peace for the County of  (Specify)

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