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Guys, a general question.

I understand that evidence for a statutory offence must be laid at court within 6 months.

But what does this 'laid at court' actually mean, and how does it affect timeframes?

If I were to get a NIP, which I return, then am informed that I will be prosecuted in court, then don't hear anything for six months since the date of the alleged offence, I always thought that the statutory time limit had passed and I could not be prosecuted.

But apparently not? The CPS must lay the evidence within six months. So at what point do I know that I could not be prosecuted? How long can the court sit on the offence before notifying me with a summons?

If I understand it right, I could be prosecuted YEARS later for a statutory offence, as long as the evidence was laid before court within six months!
In England and Wales, for summary offences (such as speeding) which are not exempt from the 6 month rule (such as driving without a licence).

6 months to lay an information (application for a summons), not evidence.
The summons does not have to be issued within the 6 months but will usually be issued within a few days at most.

The summons is usually sent to the police (who laid the information) to serve. It will usually take them 2-3 weeks to collate the evidence that they serve with the summons.

Any excessive delay in service, without good reason, is likely to be an abuse of process, but there is no meaningful statutory time limit on service of the summons (other than 2-3 years which would be way beyond excessive delay).
Thank you Andy for the clarification.

So, and this is just theoretical - currently wink.gif - if i were to receive a summons after six months, how would i be able to check if the information had been laid at court within the time limit for a summary offence?
The summons should have an issue date and usually an information laid date.
If both dates are before the 6 month timeout, then it's in time (unless you can prove otherwise).
If the information laid date was before the timeout, but the issue date was after the timeout, you'd want to read Atkinson (the search function should be able to find it for you) - where there are 2 dates, the information laid on the first date might not have been complete.
If the information laid date is after the 6 months, you can prove it was not laid in time
If there is only an issue date, and that is outside the 6 months, you might have to rely on Atkinson.
Andy, that clears it up nicely for me, thank you.

FYI, I got done by a Talivan on a nice clear stretch of motorway, been told by SCP I'm above the limit for a COFP and will proceed to court. Waiting on a summons but no word yet, been four months already. Starting to hope against hope...maybe it always takes this long...
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