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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71130
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Hello I have today received notice to appear at Peterborough

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I have today received notice to appear at Peterborough Magistrates court on the 2nd May. Overpayment of Pension credit not knowing I had to tell them on the 2008 application form that I had money in a bank account in Australia as the form had no checkbox for this. Some of which I later moved to the UK to invest, also without informing them. After interview I'm satisfied it seems to be my error, I paid back the claimed overpayment of £18,252.60 by cheque (cleared from my account on the 7/4/14) I sent a short letter with the cheque explaining what it was for and also wrote "I seek to settle this overpayment dispute without prejudice with the attached cheque for £18,252.60 If this is acceptable you may present this cheque for payment and advise me in writing that this matter is now settled". I thought this would put an end to the matter so I was surprised to receive this summon to court to answer a charge of dishonesty or misrepresentation, have I misunderstood the words 'without Prejudice? Hope you can help many thanks
David c [email protected]
01354 659305

Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

Are you asking if they can prosecute?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Is it right that they should decide to go to court over this overpayment when it has been repaid, they excepted the repayment cheque which was offered without prejudice. However the Crown prosecution may not have been made aware of this payment by the DWP.


In short, yes they are free to do that.

A without prejudice offer is a civil offer. It doesn't prevent a criminal prosecution.

All a without prejudice offer means is that the offer cannot be referred to in court. In fact, it does not mean that hte offer is made in full and final settlement and even if it were, that would not mean that you could not be prosecuted in the criminal courts.

The fact that you have paid on a without prejudice basis will not prevent them using that fact against you in evidence as, indeed, you would want to be able to refer to it in mitigation.

I'm very sorry but without prejudice and final and full settlement offers have no application to the criminal courts.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you Jo, you have answered my question, I've never been to court before and I'm 65, I guess I can only admit to the error and take the punishment offered out on the day, probably no point employing a lawyer I can't see it affecting the outcome, I had better take the train to court in case they decide to imprison me.



David c

It probably would affect the outcome but you can use the duty solicitor at court to resolve this matter.

Whether or not you plead really depends on their evidence.

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