Government introduces “digital plea” system

The government is launching a new digital service to allow those charged with minor motoring offences to make their plea online, rather than in person, at a time and place of the defendants choosing.

The “Make a Plea” service is to be introduced initially across England and Wales from March of this year, after a pilot scheme in Manchester.

The system has been designed to allow those charged with offences such as speeding or driving without insurance to be able to use a website to respond to the charges against them.

Shailesh Vara, Courts Minister said, “digital technology gives us an opportunity to make the justice system simpler, clearer and faster – and part of this means reducing or removing the unnecessary movement of paper, and people, around the system.

The website should ensure that police and the courts can focus their resources on more serious or complex cases.

Vara added that “wider modernisation of the courts has included investing £160 million in digital technology for courtrooms including video links, wifi and improved IT systems to end the system’s reliance on paper.”

During the pilot in Manchester nearly a third of people used the digital service to make a plea and the website allows defendants to make a plea at any time in the day from any compatible devices.

The government is now considering whether to extend the service for other low level offences.

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