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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 70188
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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Hello, Last november I received an email from my former

Customer Question

Hello,

Last november I received an email from my former landlord with a notice of transfer of fine that was sent out to an address I hadn't lived at in more than a year. I called the enforcement agency (lccc) who gave me the details of the originating court. They told me it was about a railway bye law that I didn't know about.
I am not a UK citizen (EU passport), and couldn't manage to get any legal advice as for both personal and professional reasons I travel extensively outside of the UK.
I completely forgot about this up until early last week where I received a notice of distress warrant from a bailiff company to my current address.
I called straightaway the enforcement agency again (lccc) who told me they could give again 21 days to sort it out.
I paid the court fine first, but not the bailiff fees. I then received to my current address an acknowledgment of my payment by the enforcement agency, who told me I had to pay the fees to the bailiffs.
After a bit of digging, I found out that I could do a stat dec, as I didn't receive anything else but those 3 correspondences: email from former landlord, distress warrant by bailiff, fine payment acknowledgment by enforcement agency.
Should I file an in-time stat dec or out of time? If oot, how should I file this? I plan on going to a magistrates court tomorrow to do so.
What are my chances to have this approved?
Is it the best course of action?

Thank you for your help
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Traffic Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

On what basis do you intend to file a statutory declaration please?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Not having received any summons, nor fixed penalty notice from the court. I am not sure saying that I have never received any correspondence from the rail company would help either
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
yes but did you receive the initial fine? You would have been stopped in person?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Are you talking about the railway fine or the court fine? If the first I do not remember having received anything on the day of my travel. I know I was travelling as I had plane tickets (checked it) but do not recall having been handed any fine.
If the court fine or any summons for that matter, not in the slightest
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
the court fine arises from the railway fine.

Were you approached on that day by any railway staff?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Yes. My exact railway byelaw is not having a valid ticket in a non-designated compulsory ticket area.I do not remember the exact episode as it was 3 years ago, although I do know for a fact that I gave my name and address so that they could forward me any correspondence. I do not believe I was handed any paper from the railway staff
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Thank you.

That will be the issue here. This will be regulation 18 of the railway bylaws of not having a ticket in a compulsory area.

He was stopped by railway staff and your details were taken. They do not usually hand out fixed penalties immediately because they give people an opportunity to make representations first.

What will have happens is that they will have written to the address that you gave them, received no reply and so summonsed you to court.

The distinctions between out of time and in time statutory declarations fall away when you are actually standing in a magistrates court. You can truthfully make a statutory declaration to the effect that you did not get the court summons and probably the court would accept that.

You could also just ask them to reopen the case. I don't think that would be a difficulty of itself.

The question would be whether you have a defence if they choose to pursue this again.

You are not describing a defence on the face about. However, even if you plead guilty to the court summons it will be much cheaper than the sums in question because you are paying court costs bailiff fees.

You do not have a right now to the fixed penalty issued by the railway company though. Nobody has a right to a fixed penalty. They are no more than an offer to deal with the matter administratively to reduce the pressure upon the courts.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.

Jo
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


So the fact that I never received any correspondence from the railway company is irrelevant?


 


Also, to clarify things, are you saying that I can make a stat dec at a magistrate court under oath saying that I never received any court summons, and that the fact that I am out of time or in time is also irrelevant, although I received an email from my former landlord in November, but a distress warrant only last week? How should I phrase it once at the magistrate court?


 


How should I take the fact that the enforcement agency gave me another 21 days last week?


 


I am sorry if I am being redundant, but I just want to make sure I get your point.


 


Thanks

Customer: replied 3 years ago.


any thought on this?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
1 Yes, thats right. The issue is the court summons.

2 Its not irrelvant but you don't use separate forms. You have to account for why you are out of time.

3 I'm not sure what you mean by this?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.


question 2 and 3 are linked:


 


am i out of now or not? am i out of time because my former landlord emailed me a scan in november, and i reached out to the enforcement court (lccc) and the originating court straightaway, but never followed up till i received the notice of distress warrant at my current address last week. or am i on time because i only received the notice of distress warrant last week, and after calling the enforcement court they gave a further 21 days to sort out this matter?


 


if i am oot, would you think an acceptable account would be the fact that as not a uk citizen i wasnt aware of the uk legislation, and as travelling in and out of the country for personal and professional reasons, i couldnt get legal advice until i received the notice of distress warrant, and i hadnt received the summons anyway, and that the enforcement court (lccc) upon hearing this gave me a further 21 days last week.


 


i understand you cannot give legal advice, but accordign to your experience and knowledge, do you think if im oot it would be a sufficient excuse, and woudl it hold in court?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
you are out of time but that will not be a problem as long as you can convince the court there is a good reason for being out of time.

There is caselaw that says that people who are abroad should keep tabs on their post in the UK but it's often not enforced.

I think they probably would set aside the finding
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


when you mean setting aside the finding, would it mean disregarding the finding, and not granting me the benefit of a stat dec?

 

woudl you advise or suggest anything else beofre i go to court to file it tomorrow?

 

 

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
No, set aside the finding of guilt.

You can only tell the truth with a stat dec. I suppose it wouldnt do any harm to have prove that you were living elsewhere but they will probably accept it from you.

I'm happy to continue with this but please remember to leave feedback for my answer.
Jo C. and other Traffic Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


thanks


i will come back with additional info

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
No problem.

All the best.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


thanks,


 


and actually how should i handle the fact that i already paid the court fine (not the bailiff fees)? can i say that as we are going to square one with the matter, i should be refunded what i already paid?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Well, that is a bit strange.

How did you come to pay the court fee if you didn\t know anything this?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


I paid the fine last week the same day I received the notice of distress warrant. I assumed paying straightaway the court fine itself would be the first step to resovle the matter. As i didnt have a clue what it was about, i assumed payign frist, and then going to defend my case, was the right thing to do.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Not really to be wholly honest but it won't make much difference here.

If you had a defence then the fact of payment would have been a real problem.

However, if you get this set aside and then you are summonsed again, you plead guilty the sums you have paid will be reduced from the penalty.

If they fail to summons then will have a real struggle to recover the money though.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I am actually intending on pleading not guilty. How would that be an issue?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Only that it will be very difficult to recover the money in practice even if you succeed.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I would like to discuss more private details. Would it be possible to contract your services in "real life"?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
We can only have contact online under the rules of this site I'm afraid.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
How could we make the rest of this private then?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
We cannot do that I'm afraid. This is a public site.

I can ask the mods to make this private but only after we finish. Otherwise it will close the question.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
If I were to arrange an alternative arrangement with TOC out of court (my stat dec was successfully filed), and they were to agree to it, would I get the money back from my initial fine?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
In principle you would but it very difficult to recover money in these circumstances.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I just sent the stat dec to the court who in turn said they were going to send it to the toc. Do you think I should wait for the toc to contact me, or shall I contact them ASAP to arrange an alternative agreement?
To be fair I have no details on how to contact them
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
I was expecting you to attend at the court that found against you and make an oral declaration?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

i filed my stat dec at my local court, sent it to the initiating court. i am now waiting for any correspondence from the initiating court. my understanding is they will advise the toc that i filed successfully a stat dec, and thererore the toc will decide whether to go at it again or not.


i am not sure i want to go through it, as i don't have any witness to corroborate my claims. i'd like to offer an alternative arrangement to the toc, so as not to go through court. my reputation is very important to me, therefore thinking i could maybe suggest an alternative arrangement to toc.


 


do you think i should wait for a correspondence from teh court before reaching out to the toc, or can i reach out to them asap?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
When you file a statutory declaration at court, you go into the witness box and swear it orally before the Magistrates. It is done in one day.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


i already swore it in front of my local magistrates' court, and it was approved by the district judge. I sent it to the originating court, and they told me they would get in touch with the toc, and the toc would ecide whether to go at it again or not.


 


i am now wondering if i shoudl reach out eprsonnally to the toc to try and make an alternative arrangement, or wait for the court to contact me, and then contact the toc.


 


i hope this is clearer

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
I see what you mean.

There isn't all that much point in writing to the TOC if you are just hoping to influence their decision upon whether or not to proceed again at this stage.

if they do then make an offer to settle out of court.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


i have now received a notice of new date of hearing from the court.


would it now be a good time to contact the prosecution to arrange an alternative agreement?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Yes, it wouldn't do any harm at this stage.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
At this stage if my own plea to reach an alternative settlement with toc fails, can I still hire a solicitor, or would the toc close the door on them because I tried to handle it myself unsuccessfully?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
No, you could renew your application with a solicitor.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
In your experience, would it be taken favourably or unfavourably saying to the toc in my plea for an alternative arrangement that I already paid the initial fine to the court, even though I filed a stat dec afterwards, but I am still happy to pay for any damage?
Also my understanding is that the stat dec has set aside any conviction, and therefore if settled out of court in the next days it would be not mentioned in any record. Is that correct?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
1 It won't make much difference really.

2 Yes, if they accept an out of court settlement.

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