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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 71053
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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Hi I have received a fine from dvla for not declaring a vehicle

Customer Question

I have received a fine from dvla for not declaring a vehicle sorn or buying a tax disc for it. However I sold the vehicle some 6 months prior to the dvla sending me communication in regards XXXXX XXXXX vehicle. I gave the documents to the new owner as he assured me he would send everything away but it appears he never did so. The first I knew of the matter was when I received a last chance letter from dvla. I contacted them by telephone to advise that I was no longer the owner. They told me that I would require to complete a form (v5 I think) with the new owners details. As I did not now the new owner this proved very difficult and quite costly but I did manage to track the person down. I then completed the form and sent it off to dvla only to receive a letter telling me that I was liable for the vehicle amd that I had an 80 pounds.
A few days later I received a threatening letter from a debt collection agency statimg that they were acting on behalf of dvla and that if I did not pay the fine then my vehicle would be clamped or impounded (I live in scotland where this has been ruled extortion and is thus highly illegal) and also court proceedings.
I contacted dvla reiterating that I was not the owner at the time and I also contacted the debt collector to advise them I was in communication with dvla in regard to the matter. I have received a further letter from dvla whereby they are insistant that I pay the fine
I have not committed any offence that I am aware of. I possibly didnt follownthe correct procedure. But I have not been tried amd found guilty of any offence by , y peers. As a matter of principle I am most averse to paying this fine. Is there anything I can do to get the, off my back and stop them harrassing me?


Dave bradley
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Traffic Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

Can I just confirm that you didn't tell the DVLA of the changeover?

I'm just about to travel home but I'll be back in about an hour if thats ok?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi thanks for getting back to me. I can confirm that I didnt tell dvla about the chamgeover. I discussed with the buyer and he assured he would send registration documents away but he clearly failed to do so. I have provided dvla with his name amd address however. I have bought and sold vehicles in this manner in the past and I have never had any issue. I was not aware that dvla had procedures which required me to do so.




David Bradley

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.

Just to confirm they have not already clamped or summonsed you?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

They have not taken either of those course of action yet but have threatened both to my considerable annoyance as wheel clamping is illehal in scotland. So they have made threats to extort me basically. But have not yet taken the action they threatened.


Basically I dont think I have actally committed any offence Nd so I dont see why I should pay a cine cor not taxing a vehicle I xont own and I just want them to stop harassing me.


David Bradley

David Bradley

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.

Wheel clamping is not illegal in Scotland if performed by the DVLA.


I just need about 10 mins to type out an answer if thats OK but I'm afraid its bad news.




Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news but you seem to have relied upon the buyer to tell the DVLA of the change over and, in fact, the onus is upon you to do so.

If you have not done so then they could enforce the liability of the vehicle against you. Unfortunately you misunderstand the law. Private land clamping is illegal in Scotland. The DVLA are an emanation of the state and they are free to clamp. This is nothing like an unlawful threat. This is a real risk.

You will find your duties here

If you negotiate with them then it is possible they would pursue the new owner. The DVLA are not always unreasonable.

However, I'm afraid the law is on their side unfortunately.

I'm very sorry but thats your position.

Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

i now understand that that is the DVLA procedure, but is it bound by law?

if it is not a legal requirement then i have committed no offence, and even if it is a legal requirement, then they have no legal authority to find me guilty of it and empose punishment surely?

i understand that this is not an unusual occurence from various forums i have read. i find it hard to believe that the public just gladly copitulate to such nonsense. i am not the legal owner of the vehicle nor was i at the time that the DVLA were seeking to have the vehicle taxed. that is a fact beyond any argument that the DVLA could ever suggest. consequently, how can i maintain any legal responsibility for a vehicle that i am no longer the legal owner of. i understand i may be the registered keeper, but, that does not make me the legal owner, as ownership is surely based on a contract between the seller and buyer?


i am very much inclined to not pay this fine and need to know how to argue my case.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
Yes, it is a legal requirement.

I am sorry but there is no challenge.

I wish there was something more positive I could say
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

So i am not entitled to being tried for the offence first?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
You can wait to be summonsed but there's no sense in that because you would be convicted and have to pay costs.

I suppose you could always refuse to pay in the hope they fail to summons but the DVLA won't do that. They will just clamp the vehicle.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

but i no longer own the vehicle, i sold it 6 months before any of this issue arose.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
If they accept that they may just summons.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Further to that, i understood that Legal advice was being obtained at the moment in order to ascertain if the wording on the Registration document – 'received please contact DVLA on 0870 240 0010' – is a legal requirement?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
I'm not sure what you mean?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I understand from press media, that the wording on the vehicle registration document advising the owner to contact DVLA on the phone number in the event that acknowledgement is not received received from DVLA regarding the updating of the registered keeper information, may not be legally binding? if the wording on the document outlines their procedure, then i understand that they may be frustrated that i did not follow it, but does that constitute my committing an offence? I understand that i did not follow procedure, but have i actually broken the law. Personally i feel like i am being victimized here. i sold the vehicle in good intension to an individual who assured me that he would update the registration documents and clearly never. now i am being fined for it. i dont even own the vehicle - how can i possibly have committed any offence?


and yet the character is sold it to, is for all i know still driving it around potentially acruing further fines for me in it - why is the DVLA not pursuing him - i provided them with his name and address.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
The DVLA are jobs worths sometimes.

I'm afraid though that the problem here is that the onus was upon you to tell them that you were selling and since you did not you remain liable for the car.

The argument that you raise is that there is no specific offence in failing to notify but the problem here is that they won't summons you for that but for the consequent offences such as no SORN, no insurance etc arising from the car for which you do remain liable.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

ok, i can live with being summonsed for that.

if i can prove that i was not the owner of the vehicle at the time it should have been SORN or tax'd would i be successful in fighting this?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
I'm really sorry and I wish I could give you a more positive answer but I'm afraid you would be in difficulty.

The Road Vehicles (Registration and Licensing) Regulations 2002 is clear and it sets down

“Change of keeper: registration document issued in Great Britain on or after 24th March 1997 and the new keeper not a vehicle trader
22. (2) The registered keeper of the vehicle -
(a) if the registration document issued in respect of the vehicle is in his possession, shall deliver to the new keeper that part of the document marked as the part which is to be given to the new keeper; and

(b) shall forthwith deliver the remainder of the registration document to the Secretary of State, duly completed to include the following -
(i) the name and address of the new keeper;

(ii) the date on which the vehicle was sold or transferred to the new keeper;

(iii) a declaration signed by the registered keeper that the details given in accordance with paragraph (i) are correct to the best of his knowledge and that the details given in accordance with paragraph (ii) are correct; and

(iv) a declaration signed by the new keeper that the details given in accordance with paragraphs (i) and (ii) are correct.”
Interpretation Act 1978

and you did not.

It is always possible they would drop it on public interest grounds. That does sometimes happen.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

but i did do as you have stated.

when i got the last chance letter from DVLA, i contacted them and advised them i was no longer the owner, they told me i needed to complete a form and send it to them with the name and address of the new owner.


as i did not know the owner, this took a little time, but i did it and i did it before i ever got a fine from them. it was only after i sent this to them that they advised me that they were going to fine me.


Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
You are supposed to do it as soon as you sell.