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Stuart J
Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 22401
Experience:  PGD Law. 20 years legal profession, 6 as partner in High Street Practice
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Hello, Situation: Im a german national, Studying in the

Customer Question

Hello,

Situation:
Im a german national,
Studying in the uk for about 3 years now. For the same amount of time im renting a place, sharing it with my girlfriend. We recently brought one of our cars into the UK because we bought a dog and its more convenient to travel with a pet using the car. The car itself is not in the uk for long periods, only like 2-3 months max. The Car has a German registration plate and is insured in germany, if a car is insured in germany, everyone who drives it is insured - which is not the case in the uk, but the insurance is an international one and works in the uk aswell but you know that i hope.

So after a month of driving without incidents, in the past week i have been stopped by the police 4 times asking me about the insurance. I wasnt able to produce an official paper from the insurance company (am about to get it) but after a short talk and investigation by the officers they got word from their "bosses" that german insurance actually works in the uk contrary to their belief. The second time i got stopped was just a random traffic control and they asked the same questions but this time it only took about 2 minutes because they replied with "we are fully briefed on that matter".

Now, today i was stopped again, and the officer started to ask me questions before even telling me why he has stopped me in the first place. He asked where i would live, and for me it was just another general check up on the vehicle like the numerous times before that where everything turned out to be fine and fully legal. After he asked me where i live i was under the impression that he wanted obviously wanted my UK adress after i stated that im a student for about 3 years now, which i did. From the information he has gathered, im a UK Resident and therefore im not allowed to drive a vehicle with foreign number plates, but at the same time im telling him, that my main adress is in germany and im just here for the periods of my studies etc. but he wouldnt accept it because he was led to believe that the information im giving him AFTER he has accused me of what he accused me of, is a straight up lie. They towed the vehicle and gave me a fine of 200 GBP + 6 Points. Whilst he was talking to me i was checking google and the government website of the uk actually stated that there is an exemption for students and foreign number plates.

Im quoting gov.uk now:

"You may be able to use a vehicle with non-UK number plates for longer than a 6-month period, without taxing or registering it, if all the following apply:

you’re a student or worker
you normally live outside the UK
you’re in the UK for a set study or work period
the vehicle is registered in its home country"

after showing that to him he still said that this is not my case because i have an uk adress where i pay utility bills. But how does the above actually "work" then, because when im a student i need accomodation, whether it is student accomodation or a place i rent on my own but im only in the country for the set time of my studies?

My question is, was the officer right or should i try to challenge his decision? What would be the best way of avoiding that in the future? e.g. a document i can show the police everytime they stop me and ask me questions. SHould i try to get a document from a lawyer or from where? Im clueless right now.

The vehicle in question is a white porsche, so thats probably also a reason why they stopped me all the time, but at the same time i have friends with cars even more valuable and of different colours that catch even more attention, and they seemingly have 0 problems with that matter.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Traffic Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your question. My name is Jo and I will try to help with this.

Would it be possible to summarise your question? I'm afraid the above exceeds the word length and I can't open it all on my ipad.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hello, yes ill try.


 


German national, studying in the uk, foreign licence plate car which is fully insured in germany and the insurance work over here as well.


 


Car has been seized / towed today because the officer told me im an uk resident, which im not because there is an exemption for students. I recieved a fine of 200 gbp and 6 points. Should i appeal their decision in court? Is there a general paper i can try to get that i can show police officers whenever they stop me ?


 


 

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
How long have you been in the UK?

Are they saying you were driving without a licence or without insurance or both?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I have been renting a place for about 3 years now, but im not longer in the uk than about 2-4 months. The car is here for about a month now, this is the first time we brought a car over here.


Well, that one officer accused me of driving without insurance and without having the vehicle registered in the uk - even though all the other officers that have stopped me before have checked everything and led me to believe that everything was alright, which it is. The insurance in germany works different than in the uk, and applies to its citizens differently. Thats what they have no grasp of i suppose, even though he heavily pointed out that his colleagues had no idea what they were talking about (about 20 officers have been standing together, plus the head of the department once, and have said its alright for me to drive it here) and that one guy said he knows the law better than them apparently

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
I think he is probably saying that you have been resident in the UK for longer than three years.

If so, you should have exchange your German licence for a UK one. Failing to do so would invalidate your insurance.

He is probably using the fact of a three year rental to support that.

If that is not the case then there is a defence arising from the fact that you have not been resident here for three years or more.

if you mean you've been given a fixed penalty fine then you can challenge that by just refusing to pay and inviting them to summons you to court.

The best way to stop that happening in the future though is just to exchange your licence. You are entitled to a Uk licence with no further tests. In fact, in january uniformity across the EU came into force in the UK so its literally just an administrative application.

Unfortunately though, sometimes police officers do not know the law and the only way to challenge them is to contest it at court.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The thing here is, i use the car in germany the majority of the time, where it is registered and insured, and in the uk during my studies (the car has only been here for 1 month).


 


If i register and insure the car over here in the UK, i need to re register it in germany again when im going back, and thats not how its supposed to work is it? (btw. the car is a company car and is fully insured - also here in the uk)


 


When he approached me at the car window, he didnt first state why he stopped me, but straight up asked me questions - and i was under the impression (from the last times i was stopped and questioned and everything turned out fine) that its just another regular control. But when i said that i have had that place for about 3 years now, i was automatically a uk resident. (even though the government website states that theres an exemption when im a student) I told him, just after that that when a UK Police officer asks me where i live he wants to know my uk adress, not my actual german one. I stated afterwards that im a german citizen and my primary adress is in germany, but i reside at the prior given adress during my studies in the uk. He wouldnt take it and said "you are telling me that AFTER i have asked you where you live and AFTER i have told you what im accusing you of, so i have to assume this is a straight up lie. I then continued to try explaining to him why i didnt say it in the first place, e.g. If im in another country, and a police officer stops me, and asks me where i LIVE (important to notice he didnt ask where i was FROM, that wouldve been more clarifying but then again, my licence plate gave that away) im going to tell him the adress i use in "his" country obviously, because thats something he can work with better than a foreign adress, and if requested or required, i would give away my adress in my home country to clarifiy that i live there.


 


And yes, i have recieved a fixed penalty fine, and when i find enough reasons to challenge that, i will. What costs are involved there?



He explicitly said that its not about the licence though, i have an EU licence and it doesnt matter which one i have. He said when someone is visiting the country, its okay to drive the car, but im an UK resident (which im 100% sure im not since im a student etc) so for me to drive the car i have to register it here. I have many friends with more exotic cars than mine, they get stopped almost every 3 days or so, show them insurance papers and its good, even though they "give away" their uk adress where they already reside for longer than a couple of years.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
It could be to do with registration of the car although that doesn't explain the driving not in accordance charge.

If you are travelling back to Germany regularly then you are not a resident

A trial would cost about £600. But you would only have to pay if you lose.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Is there any evidence stating that when i travel back regularly whilst renting a p flat in the uk, that im not a resident?
Would that be something that i could use in court?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Relist: Inaccurate answer.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
I will opt out as you have relisted this as an inaccurate answer.

Its open to others.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Why is this closed?
My Question hasn't been answered.

Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 3 years ago.
Hello,

It seems the professional has left this conversation. This happens occasionally, and it's usually because the professional thinks that someone else might be a better match for your question. I've been working hard to find a new professional to assist you with your question, but sometimes finding the right professional can take a little longer than expected.

I wonder whether you're OK with continuing to wait for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will continue my search. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you.

Thank you!
Nicola
Expert:  Stuart J replied 3 years ago.
I have read through the exchange above and I agree with the answer you have had. I can think of nothing to add.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

So even though i rent a place in the uk for almost 3 years now but im regulary traveling back to germany, im not a resident?
So i would have proper causes to challenge the officers decision in court?
As i have all the supporting insurance papers.
The car is registered to a company, and i have a letter from the company head entitling me to drive the car + i have the insurance papers.

I would like to have an answer to that and not only "it could do with this and that..."
Sorry, being a bit desperate here.

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