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cornflakes
I have received a court summons for driving without insurance. I'll start with the charges and then move on to the background. First charge is using a motor vehicle without valid insurance, the second charge is using a motor vehicle without a valid licence authorising me to drive that vehicle and the third is being a person driving a motor vehicle, namely who was suspected of committing an offence in relation to the use of N*****, on a road namely *****, on being required to do so by a constable, failed to produce for examination your licence and it's counterpart.

Regarding the no insurance I wasn't aware I had none, I had been paying the company and not missed any direct debits. My wife had sent off my NCB proof to them but they cancelled the insurance claiming they had not received the NCB proof. I didn't receive any letters advising me it was cancelled and the direct debit came out of the bank as normal on the 18th November they allegedly cancelled the insurance on the 23rd November I was stopped for no insurance on the 14th December. My car was impounded and after arguing with the insurance company I got nowhere so I got cover that evening with another insurer.

I am not sure why they are saying I failed to produce and I don't have a licence because on the 15th December I had to take my licence, MOT and new insurance document to the police station in order to get my car out of the impound. They then gave me a piece of paper to take to the impound to confirm I had done this.

Any advice anyone can give me on dealing with this would be greatly appreciated. I have never had to deal with a summons before and I don't have a clue what I am doing with it.
The Rookie
The only way you'll beat the no insurance is to get onto the insurer and ask for proof they sent a letter, insist on a copy, ask them to justify taking the money out 5 days before the cancellation as they would normally give you at least 7 days notice of cancellation, you will have top fight tough on this, you may need to involve the ombudsmen as well, it doesn't strictly matter if you didn't know you were uninsured, what matters is that you had no insurance, but if the insurer messed up, then you WERE insured as they cannot arbitrarily cancel your policy without taking steps to make you aware.

As for failing to produce, where you given a 'producer' (aka 7 day wonder or HO/RT1) at all? If not that would be your defence, although of course you must have failed to produce valid insurance as you had none at the time of the alleged offence as it stands (pending above!)

Simon
cornflakes
All I recieved was a FPN it has on there documents to produce next to record details there are the numbers 1 to 5 and there is a cross next to number 1 (I am not sure what this means because I don't have the original notice with me I am working on the photocopy with the court papers.

The CPS have also got a witness statement from the insurance company saying they sent sent a letter dated the 04/10/2010 requesting the NCB proof and it stated the policy would be cancelled in 10 days if they didn't receive it. They did send a letter but it gave no specific date the policy would be cancelled and it stated it could be cancelled. The NCD proof was mailed to them again after receipt of this letter and we heard nothing else. They also state in the statement on the 17/11/2010 they attempted to reduce the ncb to 0 as evidence was still outstanding (one day before the direct debit was took out). They state they needed a minimum number of years no claims to provide cover on the vehicle and a letter was sent out. This we never received and when my wife called them the day I was stopped they stated they had sent an email not a letter (we didn't receive an email either).

They then state on the 24th/11/2010 the cancellation was processed and the vehicle ceased to be insured at 23:59pm on the 23/11/2010. An automated cancellation email would have been sent to the email they had registered.

I will give the ombudsmen a call because I can' get anywhere with the insurer.
The Rookie
Get onto the insurer (the ombudsmen will probably take too long unless you can get the case suspended pending), tell them you will take it to the ombudsmen, ask for proof of all the things they claim they sent, try to be firm but not aggresive as it would be much easier to do with them onside, ask why they took out 1 months payment whilst they were already planning to cancel the policy.

Simon
cornflakes
Ok I will do as soon as I have done the school run thank you.
southpaw82
QUOTE (The Rookie @ Tue, 24 May 2011 - 10:42) *
As for failing to produce, where you given a 'producer' (aka 7 day wonder or HO/RT1) at all? If not that would be your defence


The requirement to produce can be made verbally - a HO/RT1 need not be used.
cornflakes
Just to update you all I went to court today and I had to plead guilty (on the advice of 3 different solicitors) because it still isn't resolved with Swift and the financial ombudsman therefore in the eyes of the law i was uninsured.

Anyway the magistrates were really good, they listened to my side and found themselves in a difficult position where they didn't want to punish me so to speak but they had no choice as the clerk quickly pointed out to them. They were advised by the clerk the lowest punishment I could get was a short ban. So I have a 24 hour ban and a 6 month conditional discharge.They didn't award CPS the £85 costs and I was given no fine.

Oh I should have also said the other 2 charges were dropped by the cps.
Durzel
Bizarre result all things considered. Unfortunately that ban and the IN10 against your driving record is going to hammer you on insurance.
Aretnap
He won't be hammered for as long as usual. With no fine the conviction becomes spent after a year (for the conditional discharge) rather than the usual five and does not have to be declared after that.
cornflakes
It was a 6 months conditional discharge so does that mean after 6 months I don't have to declare it? I have googled and still don't understand how the conditional discharge works or even what it really means.

I know if I break the law again in the next 6 months I can be re tried for this offence but I wasn't aware it would make the conviction spent faster.
Logician
The conditional discharge means that you have not been punished but if you are convicted of another offence in a 6 month period, then you can be punished for this offence as well as for the new offence. In this case the conviction will become spent after 12 months, and then you will not have to declare it.
cornflakes
Thank you Logician I have grasped it now. For 6 months I can be retried and in a year I no longer have to declare the ban to insurers.
unluckychap
What will the OP say when their insurer asks them at renewal time (as they are almost certain to do), "Have you had any accidents, claims or convictions within the last five years or are any motoring prosecutions pending"? If they do not mention the "spent" conviction are they not in danger of having problems with any future insurance claim should the "spent" conviction come to light?
johnjo42
You have had an exceptional outcome but you should follow up your complaint with the Insurance Ombudsman as too many insurance companies are simply cancelling policies without giving proper notice. This practice needs stamping on
Aretnap
QUOTE (unluckychap @ Thu, 9 Jun 2011 - 11:10) *
What will the OP say when their insurer asks them at renewal time (as they are almost certain to do), "Have you had any accidents, claims or convictions within the last five years or are any motoring prosecutions pending"? If they do not mention the "spent" conviction are they not in danger of having problems with any future insurance claim should the "spent" conviction come to light?


No. Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 Section 4 (2)

QUOTE
Subject to the provisions of any order made under subsection (4) below, where a question seeking information with respect to a person’s previous convictions, offences, conduct or circumstances is put to him or to any other person otherwise than in proceedings before a judicial authority—
(a)the question shall be treated as not relating to spent convictions or to any circumstances ancillary to spent convictions, and the answer thereto may be framed accordingly; and
(b)the person questioned shall not be subjected to any liability or otherwise prejudiced in law by reason of any failure to acknowledge or disclose a spent conviction or any circumstances ancillary to a spent conviction in his answer to the question.


The Financial Ombudsman agrees.

http://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/publ...convictions.htm

QUOTE
By way of analogy, there seems no reason why a rehabilitated drink-driver, if he had evidence, would not have an equally strong case if he was refused insurance or was given less favourable terms and conditions than other policyholders, simply because of his spent conviction. If firms insist on asking questions about spent convictions, then they must effectively ignore the answers they receive. Otherwise, we are likely to consider they have breached their statutory duty.

Similarly, if a firm cancels the policy of a customer who has a spent conviction (but whose licence is still endorsed), simply because the customer did not disclose the endorsement, then we will uphold the customer’s complaint.

Logician
QUOTE (cornflakes @ Thu, 9 Jun 2011 - 10:05) *
Thank you Logician I have grasped it now. For 6 months I can be retried and in a year I no longer have to declare the ban to insurers.


Nearly, not actually retried in the sense of re-opening the whole case but just re-sentenced, ie you might be fined for this offence plus whatever sentence was imposed for the new offence, and the new offence could be anything, but it is much more likely to happen if it is a similar offence. For murder they are unlikely to bother!
Durzel
QUOTE (Aretnap @ Thu, 9 Jun 2011 - 11:38) *
QUOTE (unluckychap @ Thu, 9 Jun 2011 - 11:10) *
What will the OP say when their insurer asks them at renewal time (as they are almost certain to do), "Have you had any accidents, claims or convictions within the last five years or are any motoring prosecutions pending"? If they do not mention the "spent" conviction are they not in danger of having problems with any future insurance claim should the "spent" conviction come to light?


No. Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 Section 4 (2)

QUOTE
Subject to the provisions of any order made under subsection (4) below, where a question seeking information with respect to a person’s previous convictions, offences, conduct or circumstances is put to him or to any other person otherwise than in proceedings before a judicial authority—
(a)the question shall be treated as not relating to spent convictions or to any circumstances ancillary to spent convictions, and the answer thereto may be framed accordingly; and
(b)the person questioned shall not be subjected to any liability or otherwise prejudiced in law by reason of any failure to acknowledge or disclose a spent conviction or any circumstances ancillary to a spent conviction in his answer to the question.


The Financial Ombudsman agrees.

http://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/publ...convictions.htm

QUOTE
By way of analogy, there seems no reason why a rehabilitated drink-driver, if he had evidence, would not have an equally strong case if he was refused insurance or was given less favourable terms and conditions than other policyholders, simply because of his spent conviction. If firms insist on asking questions about spent convictions, then they must effectively ignore the answers they receive. Otherwise, we are likely to consider they have breached their statutory duty.

Similarly, if a firm cancels the policy of a customer who has a spent conviction (but whose licence is still endorsed), simply because the customer did not disclose the endorsement, then we will uphold the customer’s complaint.


That's all well and good but it seems all insurers ask for "convictions in the last 5 years", and as insurance operates under the rule of uberrima fides (utmost good faith), and if you fail to disclose something they ask of you aren't you breaking this bond?

(I'm purely speculating really, but it strikes me that if asking this question on an car insurance application immutably breaks statutory rights then how do they all get away with doing it?)
cornflakes
QUOTE (johnjo42 @ Thu, 9 Jun 2011 - 11:17) *
You have had an exceptional outcome but you should follow up your complaint with the Insurance Ombudsman as too many insurance companies are simply cancelling policies without giving proper notice. This practice needs stamping on



I shall be following it as far as I possibly can. I couldn't agree more about it been stamped out, this could have quite easily have ended a lot worse and resulted in me not been able to earn a living but I had no choice other than to let it go to court and plead my case.

Just to add for anybody reading this in a similar situation, I did get a solicitor in December to argue a case of it not been in the public interest to prosecute me. The police thought it was (based on he witness statement Sift Cover provided them) but the mags got to read this letter and see the evidence the solicitor provided to the police (I had took it all to court just in case) and I think that along with my wife's statement of events and proof we have previously requested recordings of phone calls made to the insurers that prove their witness statement to the police was on the main a skeleton of events with some made up events added into the mix went very much in our favour.

As for the other posts above me I think I shall ask the financial ombudsman when I next correspond with them on where I stand regarding declaring a spent conviction to insurers.
Aretnap
QUOTE (Durzel @ Thu, 9 Jun 2011 - 12:55) *
That's all well and good but it seems all insurers ask for "convictions in the last 5 years", and as insurance operates under the rule of uberrima fides (utmost good faith), and if you fail to disclose something they ask of you aren't you breaking this bond?

(I'm purely speculating really, but it strikes me that if asking this question on an car insurance application immutably breaks statutory rights then how do they all get away with doing it?)

99.9% of motoring convictions involve a fine and therefore become spent after 5 years; AIUI this is why the standard question on insurance applications refers to 5 years. The fact that a very small number of convictions become spent sooner than that doesn't seem to have crossed the minds of the people who write them.

There's also the practical point that the average person has no idea of what a spent conviction actually is, so if the insurers added an explicit caveat about not having to declare spent convictions, people would assume it applied where the fine had been paid, the ban had expired or the points had come off their licence or whatever, and many people would end up failing to declare unspent convictions.

Whether the principle of utmost good faith overrides the 1974 act is a question that crossed my mind as well, but having read a number of articles ond opinions on the web, I've yet to find a reliable-looking source that thinks it does. Utmost good faith requires all material facts to be declared whether asked for or not: applied to spent convictions this would require you to disclose any conviction, even one 30 years old, to insurers. Obviously it doesn't require this.

QUOTE (cornflakes @ Thu, 9 Jun 2011 - 13:18) *
As for the other posts above me I think I shall ask the financial ombudsman when I next correspond with them on where I stand regarding declaring a spent conviction to insurers.

Sounds like a good idea.
Logician
The ROA provides:
...................... where a question seeking information with respect to a person’s previous convictions, offences, conduct or circumstances is put to him or to any other person otherwise than in proceedings before a judicial authority—.
(a)the question shall be treated as not relating to spent convictions or to any circumstances ancillary to spent convictions, and the answer thereto may be framed accordingly; and.
(b)the person questioned shall not be subjected to any liability or otherwise prejudiced in law by reason of any failure to acknowledge or disclose a spent conviction or any circumstances ancillary to a spent conviction in his answer to the question.

No exception is made for questions put by an insurance company, so it applies equally to those.
southpaw82
The common law is over-ridden by statute.
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