What is a Postal Requisition (Postal Charge) in UK law?

29th April 2021 | Lawtons News|
Nick Titchener headshot

Nick Titchener

Managing Partner

What is a postal requisition?

A postal requisition or postal charge is the name for a magistrates’ court summons. It tells you when you need to attend court for a criminal case and what the offences are that you are being accused of.

Postal requisitions can cover serious criminal charges or routine traffic matters. The postal requisition won’t, however, tell you what the evidence is why the decision has now been made to now take you to court and to prosecute you.

As the police look to save money, a number of cases are dealt with outside of the formal arrest/charge procedure. If a voluntary police interview or Caution plus 3 interview is conducted, an individual is usually told they will be reported for a charging decision whereby the decision may not be made for many months.

After a formal interview, you may be told that you are being reported for consideration of a prosecution. Often you may have then be ‘released under investigation’ while the police look into the case and while the police/prosecution decide what to do next and whether to charge you with a criminal offence.

However, you may not even remember this happening given how anxious and worried you were likely to have been at the time when this originally happened. Even if you had a duty solicitor at the time, unfortunately, it’s not uncommon that this process isn’t explained properly or at all.

If a decision is made to charge, the postal requisition process is used if some or most of the following criteria are normally met:

  • The alleged offender is over 18 years of age
  • The alleged offender was assessed as being able to read and write during the initial arrest/interview stage
  • The alleged offender must have committed a summary or either way offence
  • There are no requirements for bail conditions to be imposed
  • The alleged offender is not considered to be a Prolific Priority Offender
  • The alleged offender has provided a suitable address for service of a postal requisition

What is in a Postal Requisition?

If you receive a postal requisition, it will tell you that you are required to attend court. You will either need to attend the magistrates’ court, or if your case is escalated, the crown court.

Where your case is dealt and the outcome of the case will depend on what you are accused of, the evidence and what your plea is going to be.

The postal requisition will tell you the nature of what is alleged and the precise offence that you are alleged to have committed, but it will not give you any reason or evidence as to why the decision has been made to prosecute you. It is important to realise that these charges are not set in stone and can be changed when you attend court.

If you receive a postal requisition, it is essential that you contact a specialist criminal defence solicitor for legal advice. When you attend court, you will be expected to make a decision as to whether you are pleading guilty or not guilty.

Taking early legal advice and discussing your options so you know what to expect is vital. There may be things you can do to improve your case, for example you may have witnesses that can speak on your behalf or in your defence. There may be things that can and should be done before you attend court.

Early preparation can make all the difference. Don’t delay in taking expert advice as a court case is looming – it won’t go away.

The team at Lawtons can request the paperwork and evidence before your court date so you know what to expect. It’s vital that you now take the time to consider your case. Contact us today so we can discuss your options and help you to protect your future.

About the author

Nick Titchener, director and solicitor advocate of Lawtons, is a dedicated criminal solicitor with considerable experience in legal cases including sexual offences, violence and assault. Nick’s measured and methodical approach means he thrives on even the most complex case.

Nick also oversees the overall management of Lawtons Solicitors, a specialist firm of criminal law defence solicitors with branches across London, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Essex.

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