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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
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I "gave" my car to a person to find a buyer on the understanding

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I "gave" my car to a person to find a buyer on the understanding that I continued to own it, and accordingly the V5C was unsigned, and contained my name and address. The person then dissappeared. The Police took up the case, and the person has been convicted of fraudulently obtaining the car. However, it transpires that he has sold the car on to a third party. I can prove that the third party submitted a V5C to DVLA without my signature on it, and with my name and address on it. DVLA will not identify the third person. The Police say recovery of the car is a civil matter.
Is the V5C situation enough to prove my continued ownership?
And if so, how can I get the current holder's name and address?
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Has the DVLA registered the vehicle to the new owner please?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes, they have. They have sent me the V5C but blocked out the holder/applicants name, address and signature. They said in a letter with it that they do not give information in ownership disputes. However, the document does evidence that I had not signed it, and that it contains my name and address, and not the person that they obtained it from.

I am aware and capable of making a claim at small claims court (if I can get the holders name somehow), but the issue is really one of whether the holder's likely claim that they bought/obtained in good faith would take precedent over the information shown on the V5C that they obtained it from someone who was not the owner.

Thank you. It doesn't matter that the owner bought it in good faith. The "seller" did not have title to it and was therefore not able to sell it. The car belongs to you.
I am surprised that the police have not got more involved because clearly, this is fraud.
When you sent off the form V888, did you give a crime number? If so then DVLA should have given you the details. If they can give the details for a parking dispute or a slight scratch in a car park, they can certainly give it for a crime issue. This is not an ownership dispute, this is a criminal offence.
If the police will not let you have the current owners name and address (it is unlikely that the police will) then you have to make an application to court for a court order for DVLA to let you have it.
If you haven't already done so, it would be worthwhile trying DVLA again with the crime number.
What is probably happening with this is that the police are not treating it as theft because the person with the vehicle who was going to sell it for you did not dishonestly appropriate it because you actually passed it over to them. However they have sold it fraudulently so you should really press the police for this. I would make a formal complaint if necessary to the Chief Constable
If they resist however you are stuck with making a court application to compel DVLA to give you the details.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Jo C. and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Update. The Police say (in writing) their case was fraud and not theft, so the judge could not rule on ownership, which is a civil matter. However, they provided the name and address of the car holder, and notified him that ownership is in dispute and that he is likely to hear from the "owner"...Now we know who has the car. For the small claims court, the claim for return of the car is fairly straight forward, but could we also claim for loss of use of the car for 18 months. And for a fee would you be able to cast an eye over a claim draft, and advise/fine tune, etc?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Letter from Police:

My recent email confirms that on 14 August 2014 Paul Moyse was sentenced to 5 years and 4 months for fraud in relation to your vehicle. With other matters similarly charged in regards ***** ***** fraudulent trading he has been sentenced overall to 10 years in custody.

As previously advised the criminal judge was not in a position to deal with the ownership of the vehicles relating to the Autovia criminal case. I have previously advised you to seek independent legal advice as to your position with the vehicle and I am aware that some of my victims have done that.

Each vehicle has more than one person claiming an entitlement. The police are not in a position to determine the ownership of the vehicles. Notice’s have been served on the basis that the police are aware of the dispute but it is not ordinarily for the police at the expense of the public purse to become involved in disputes of a civil nature. This ought to be resolved between the parties.

I appreciate you will not have the details of the other party claiming ownership of the vehicle and therefore to facilitate resolution, I provide details of the other party claiming ownership of the vehicle.

Current owner Mr Michael UNDERHILL




PE31 6QN

A letter has also been sent to Mr Underhill advising him of your claim to ownership and your contact details have been provided. I will not give any further contact details without your express consent.

For the avoidance of any doubt, I am not in a position to advise you as to the merits of any claim over the vehicle you may have.

No, the criminal courts would not deal with ownership. This is a civil matter. The current owner was not involved in any fraudulent activity that did take place.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for your reply. The current owner was most likely not involved in any fraudulent activity, but did obtain the car with a V5C in the name of the owner, with the owners address on it, and the V5C was not signed by the owner. So do you think we have a civil case with a reasonable chance to get the car back, in that the holder probably bought with good intent from the fraudster but could see the fraudster did not own the property being sold to him, or does the car holder keep the car? Which of the fraudsters victims gets to keep the car!

Is there any evidence that the current owner was involved?
when you say which of the fraudsters what do you mean?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

There are three parties here. The "owner" whose name and address were on the V5C and who did not sign the V5C for a transfer of ownership, the proven "fraudster" who obtained the car from the owner and sells or passes it on, and the "holder" who has the car as a result of a transaction of some kind between himself and the fraudster.

Your earlier advice was that the fraudster did not own the property, and thus it could not be sold; in other words the owner is still the owner.But if so, how do we get it back?

Should the answer to this be by a civil court action, then the holder can be expected to argue that he bought the car in good faith with the fraudster, and thus the car is his. He may even have a receipt or invoice from the fraudster, but we don't know this at present.

BUT we can prove the holder saw the V5C, and a have the copy of it sent from the holder to DVLA. Is it not reasonable to expect the holder to read and react to the V5C showing the owner was someone else and not the fraudster. In other words he bought/obtained a car which was shown by the V5C not to be owned by the person he bought it/obtained it from.

Which takes us back to: ***** ***** the car?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

We have had a few twists and turns on route, but it all comes back to the original question. On the one hand, the owner of the car can evidence that the registration document for the car contained his name and address and was not signed with an authority to be transferred to another person, and that the holder cannot have avoided seeing this as it was provided to him by the fraudster. On the other hand, the holder will be expected to say he purchased or obtained the car in good faith from a fraudster, and as he paid for the car, it is his. The defining issue is giving this circumstance, who is owner of the car? There must surely some principles and precedent to help determine the answer.

The purchasing in good faith only applies if the car is on finance in respect of the purchaser who bought a car from someone who owned the car but already had it financed and then sold it. The buyer is protected.
Someone who buys a stolen car has no protection whatsoever. It still belongs to the original owner.
If the police think that the person who "bought it" did not really buy it but was complicit in this because as you said, the V5 was in the real owners name and address, the police can actually threaten the new "owner" with being prosecuted for receiving goods obtained by deception. The police are correct that the person who got the car and sold it did not steal it because it was not a dishonest appropriation as you gave it to them to sell for you. Theft prosecution fails on that point.
It doesn't matter what caselaw you come up with, if DVLA steadfastly refused to let you have the details, you are faced with a court application to compel them to release the details to you.
It is ironic that if you had alleged to this car had scratched your car in the car park, they would have simply given you the new details.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
The Police have now provided the name and address of the holder. Earlier in these exchanges I copied to you the entire letter from the Police which makes clear their position.
In taking the case to small claims court, I can establish as fact that there was sufficient information available to the holder to be able to determine he was buying or obtaining a car from a person who did not own it.
How do you view the prospect of success or otherwise at Court, with the following alternatives:
1) proving him to be complicit, which is of low probability
2) proving him to be wilfully negligent, which is about 50% probable
3) proving him to be stupid, which is of high probability (fraudster offers him car for low price, he doesn't care when it comes from, he may or may not have noticed the fraudster wasn't the owner , and just assumes it will all work out, so he buys it)

I am offline most of the day but I can look at this later if thats OK?

If not, you can always relist.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Yes, no problem.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
The Police have provided the name and address of the holder. Earlier in these exchanges I copied to you the entire letter from the Police which makes clear their position.

In taking the case to small claims court, I can establish as fact that there was sufficient information available to the holder to be able to determine he was buying or obtaining a car from a person who did not own it.

How do you view the prospect of success or otherwise at Court, with the following alternatives:
1) proving him to be complicit, which is of low probability
2) proving him to be wilfully negligent, which is about 50% probable
3) proving him to be stupid, which is of high probability (fraudster offers him car for low price, he doesn't care when it comes from, he may or may not have noticed the fraudster wasn't the owner , and just assumes it will all work out, so he buys it)

I think you have a good chance of winning but not for the reasons that you mention. The fact remains that the car is yours and was sold fraudulently.

We have no way of knowing whether he was complicit in this or just stupid.

This is not decided beyond all reasonable doubts as a criminal matter would be but is decided on the balance of probabilities which means that if the judge prefers your version of events by only 1%, then your claim is successful

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Do you think this expresses it correctly?

I am informed by the Police that Mr Underhill is currently in possession of my property. I believe this has occurred because he obtained the car from a Mr Paul Moyes, together with a V5C registration document showing the car to be owned by me and registered to my home address. The DVLA have provided proof that Mr. Underhill was in possession of this V5C certificate, and that it also clearly shows that I had not authorised or otherwise agreed to a transfer of ownership of the car at any time.

Mr Paul Moyes has been shown to be and convicted as a fraudster, and it has also been shown that he defrauded me of possession of the car, but not of its ownership. The circumstance by which the car and V5C certificate arrived to Mr Underhill is unclear, but the Police notified him that he did not have clear title to the car, and have indicated that they had instructed him not to sell or otherwise dispose of the car.

I am seeking return of my car because I am its owner, and have been throughout the time it has been in the possession of others, and ask the Court to make an order for its return to me.

You are issuing proceedings for the return of the car. What you have written would need to go in a separate witness statement.

You need to write to the telling them before issuing court papers that if they don’t return the car by a particular date, you will have no alternative but to issue court proceedings against them to compel them to return it. Tell them that if they have any issue with that, they should take it up with the person that sold them the car. Send them a copy of the V5 showing it’s in your name if you have one or send some other proof

If the car is not returned by that date then issue court proceedings against them to make them return it.

The letter might be better from a solicitor.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your observations. Is there a fee based way of using this site, or other recommended way of generating the solicitors letter as a development on from the advice given here, to achieve the next step you suggest. I ask because 1) the actual sorting it out of what to do has occurred from the exchanges here and doesn't need to be started over again? 2) it would be good to keep the momentum going, and a new approach to someone else rather goes against the dynamic and rasion d'être of the site?
With matters like this you are probably better instructing the local solicitor to you because the logistics of this which is, in legal terms, relatively straightforward mean that a local firm likely to be less expensive.
You don't really need to start again with another solicitor because you have all the advice that you need, all you are
doing is giving the basic facts and asking for the initial letter before action to be sent out.
You may want to get the solicitor to draft the court application for you but there is no reason why you should not be able to deal with the hearing yourself.
A lot of court time is spent waiting and travelling and there is no reason to spend almost £200 per hour in solicitors costs for that.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi. I am finding that local solicitors do not share the view given by yourself, but I am convinced your advice is correct. I have thus concluded that we should proceed by writing to the car holder along the following lines. Is there anything you suggest I might add or subtract to make this letter reflect the position:



I have been given your name and address by the Police, who have informed me that they have written to you in this matter.

In addition, documentation recently provided by the DVLA has shown that when you received the car and a V5C car ownership registration document from Mr Paul Moyes, the V5C showed that neither he nor his company were owners of the car, and that whilst Paul Moyes has been prosecuted and convicted of fraud by the Police, you were in possession of information to be able to determine that the car was not owned by Paul Moyes.

Should you have paid Paul Moyes for provision of the car, the V5C carries a warning as follows: “Thinking of buying this vehicle, buyer beware…do you know how to avoid being tricked into buying a stolen vehicle?” which reminds buyers to “make sure the details in the log book match the details you’ve been given”.

I have attached a copy of the V5C which clearly shows my name and address, and that a transfer of ownership to either Paul Moyes or to yourself had not been given by myself as the owner. The DVLA will warrant that you sent the original of this document to them.

I am now asking you to arrange to return the car to me in the condition in which you obtained it. If I do not hear from you within the next five working days, then I will be proceeding with a court action for the recovery of my property from you, and notifying the Police of further evidence in this matter.

Be assured that my only aim is to secure the return of my car, and that upon its return I have no interest in pursuing the matter beyond this.

That looks as though it covers the situation.
Best of luck.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi. I have sent the letter asking for my car back, and have evidence that the defendant has received it. Much as expected I have not heard back.

The small claims court procedure seems to require the claimant to make a claim of monetary value, and £10k would seem appropriate . However, is there an alternative UK court procedure by which I can seek an order for return of the car?

thanks.I will look over this now.
Title to goods passes on delivery and you would have to prove therefore that you retained the title and that the person that you "gave" the car to did not own it was simply holding the car on trust for you.
If the person still has the car then make a court application for "delivery up" to make him give the car back to you.
If however he has sold it on, then you cannot get it back from a legitimate buyer.
If however a legitimate buyer bought the car and then sold it on again you can take court action against the 2nd buyer. That appears not to be the case here however.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I have evidence that I own the car, which is a copy of the registration certificate in my name and address and which has not been signed for transfer of ownership. The current holder acquired the car with full knowledge of this on the certificate, because he sent it off to the DVLA when he asked them to register it to him (the DVLA are not required to check how the car comes to be with an applicant). The middle man who provided the car to the current holder was convicted of fraudulently obtaining it.

What I am trying to work out is how I get this before a UK court. Is giving the car a value and then processing through the small claims court as a money claim an option? This cost around £500, so just want to be sure that this is the correct process.

The V5 is in the name of the registered keeper and is not proof of ownership.
You sue the person that you entrusted with the car for the value of it. You have no claim against the person that bought it as they acquire good title.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

This advice would seem to be the opposite of the advice that you gave on 8th Sept at 08:10 and at 09.29.

Please explain why you have changed your mind about this?

I am sorry, you're absolutely correct, I was thinking that the car was on finance which it is not.
My original answer is correct.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

That's a relief!

Sorry to keep on with this, but I now need to know how to get this into Court.

I have written to the defendant with a last warning/notice of intention.

Is the process, convert the value of the car into a money value, and put it through the small claims court money claims service which I can easily do in about 1/2 an hour online.

Or is there some other procedure I should use that asks the court to declare in some way he must return the car (subject to providing evidence, etc), and if so, what is this called?

You would be applying to court for an order for "delivery up" which is a specific order compelling the person to return the car to you. You have to warn them that unless they let you have the car back, you will take them to court.
They in turn of course have to sue the seller
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I have sent the letter I put on here at 19th Sept 06;35, and have evidence of the defendant taking delivery of the letter. It says I will go to court unless he returns the car within 5 working days.

Is this "delivering up" an injunction?

I have looked through the County Court web site, and can't really identify how you ask the Court to make an order of this kind...I need some more specific terminology to be able to ask for this?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hey, I think I may have go there - it seems to be a N1 which needs to be served at the County Court covering where the goods are located.

It is an injunction but you apply on court form N244 and you have to draft the wording of the order yourself because there is no specific format for this.
If you look at the court form you will see that most of it is blank. You also need to attach a witness statement with a statement of truth.