The Magistrates’ Court Act 1980 - An Important Case


H v DPP  [2021] EWHC 147 (Admin); [2021] 1 W.L.R. 2721; [2021] 1 WLUK 352; [2021] 1 Cr. App. R. 23; [2021] Crim. L.R. 400; [2021] A.C.D. 41   

This was an important case which consolidated and explained the two lines of authority concerning s.142 of the Magistrates’ Court Act 1980. 


Ben appeared for the DPP.


In this case, the Lord Chief Justice and Mr Justice Bryan agreed with Ben’s argument that it was not permissible to use the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980 s.142 to reopen a case where a defendant had pleaded guilty in the magistrates' court and been sentenced in the Crown Court but later discovered that a defence could have been advanced.


The remedy available to him was an application to the Criminal Cases Review Commission. Section 142 was designed to correct mistakes made in the magistrates' court which only affected its own determinations, and not to set aside sentences imposed in higher courts.