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chrisbarnes1
I received a letter yesterday from a bailiff/debt collection company stating that i owe £705 to client HMTCS Kent. I had no idea as to why i owed that money and to that client. After doing some further research, it turns out the fee is because i failed to turn up to court for a case against the DVLA for failing to notify them that i sold my car back in December 2011.

I actually sent the required slip to them in the post the day after selling the car. So was surprised that this was the issue.

The full back story is this:

I was at university in Kent, and had bought my first car whilst living in Rochester. I graduated from the university, and it was my intention to get a job in London and move to London, and therefore no longer needing the car. I tried to sell my car whilst living in Rochester but with no luck. My tenancy was expiring so i sought a temporary accommodation half way between London and Maidstone - my then current place of work. As i was trying to sell my car, i did not think to change the address it was registered at, as it was to be sold ASAP. I eventually managed to sell the car by placing it on Auto Trader, and subsequently sent the required slip to the DVLA.

I then got a job in London and moved to London in April 2012, and as was no longer driving, had no need to hear from the DVLA.

Move forward a year (17 months since selling my car however), and i receive a letter through my door.

From what i have learnt, the DVLA did not receive my form, and sent a letter in the post to my Rochester address asking me to pay a fine. As i was not living there, i did not receive this letter, and therefore could not contest the fine (or even pay it). Because i failed to pay, they took me to court which again i had no idea about, and therefore did not show up at court. The court i presume had since been chasing me for court fees etc.

Therefore the debt collection company are charging for the original fee, along with court fees etc.

I don't understand how the Courts were unable to track me down yet the Debt Collection company could...

I appreciate it was a bit of a shambles with the addresses, but surely because i sent the slip in the first place, i should not be charged? I still have a copy of the remainder of the log book with the small slip torn out!

Am i within my rights to contest this? I had no idea the DVLA had fined me, let alone i had a court appearance...

I spoke to the Court yesterday and they informed me to send a letter to them explaining what happened, and that i want the case to be re-opened. Ideally i don't even want it to be dealt with via the court - i would much rather deal with the DVLA.

Any help/advice is highly appreciated.

Chris
mrh3369
You fulfilled your legal obligation when you sent back the slip, inform them that this is the case. Make a statutory declaration to get the conviction returned to summons stage.
StuartBu
What was this "fine" for ..was it incurred AFTER you sold the car or before ? Do you have any evidence of the sale ...who is the RK of the car now ..has the new owner put it in his name ?
Jlc
QUOTE (mrh3369 @ Thu, 25 Apr 2013 - 16:46) *
You fulfilled your legal obligation when you sent back the slip, inform them that this is the case. Make a statutory declaration to get the conviction returned to summons stage.

+1

You have 21 days to perform the Statutory Declaration - this is the priority at the moment. After this, trying to get the DVLA to drop the prosecution is the aim but they are likely to continue with the court option.
Concrete Jungle
Stat Dec. Then section 7 of the interpretations act 1978.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1978/30/section/7

QUOTE
7 References to service by post.Where an Act authorises or requires any document to be served by post (whether the expression “serve” or the expression “give” or “send” or any other expression is used) then, unless the contrary intention appears, the service is deemed to be effected by properly addressing, pre-paying and posting a letter containing the document and, unless the contrary is proved, to have been effected at the time at which the letter would be delivered in the ordinary course of post.


Good luck!
chrisbarnes1
Because the DVLA has passed it to the court, and since passed it to the Debt Collection agency, i am struggling to get much information. The fine was because i failed to inform the DVLA that i sold my car (which led me to believe they did not receive the slip in the first place).

Apparently the court case was back in October last year so it was a good 8 months ago!

Thanks for your fast responses!
Gan
The only way to get the conviction overturned is to make the statutory declaration
It's out of the hands of DVLA now.

What exactly did you send the DVLA ?
It should have been the whole V5 form minus the green slip that you give to buyer, unless you sold it to a trader
Jlc
QUOTE (chrisbarnes1 @ Thu, 25 Apr 2013 - 17:00) *
Apparently the court case was back in October last year so it was a good 8 months ago!

The SD is from when you first become aware.
desktop_demon
go to the court office. Ask about making a "Statutory Declaration" as you did not receive the fine notice or the summons to court.That will reset the case back to the summons stage and the OP can then challenge the fact no notification was sent to the DVLA.

However do not dawdle in making the "stat dec". Go to the relevant court building, find the office and find out what needs to be done. Sometimes this investigative work can be done by phone. Usually the OP will need to make an declaration under oath before a JP or similar court official. Then they will do the paperwork. The new summons should be issued (and sent to the correct address!) in due course. Then the OP can defend the charge.

Good luck.
Concrete Jungle
You had 21 days from the time you found out, that was yesterday when you opened the letter. Today is almost over from an office / court point of view, tomorrow puts you on 19 days. So make the Stat Dec ASAP.
sgtdixie
Notwithstanding what has been said about the presumption of service, magistrates courts are strange places and some will expect some form of corroborative evidence before they believe you. How you present your evidence will probably be the deciding factor.
chrisbarnes1
Can i write a Statutory Declaration myself or do i have to go to a solicitor to do so?
southpaw82
You can write it yourself but you must swear to it before a commissioner for oaths or a magistrate.
uk_mike
Your local court will have standard form that can be completed and signed, the clerk will be happy to help especially if you call first so they know you are coming, no need for a solicitor,
chrisbarnes1
Ok great. Does it have to be the court where the hearing was due to be heard? I live in central London and the hearing was supposed to be back in Kent .
uk_mike
Your local court can do it.
bama
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1980/43/section/14

is what lets you make the Stat Dec.
free to do the stat dec in county court and you can just walk in (last I checked) Mags charge a fee and need an appointment !
chrisbarnes1
QUOTE (bama @ Thu, 25 Apr 2013 - 20:24) *
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1980/43/section/14

is what lets you make the Stat Dec.
free to do the stat dec in county court and you can just walk in (last I checked) Mags charge a fee and need an appointment !


My local county court claimed that i cant actually do a statutory declaration through them, and that i need to go to a Commissioner of Oath. Any idea how i do that? I live in London.
AFCNEAL
QUOTE (chrisbarnes1 @ Mon, 29 Apr 2013 - 15:00) *
QUOTE (bama @ Thu, 25 Apr 2013 - 20:24) *
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1980/43/section/14

is what lets you make the Stat Dec.
free to do the stat dec in county court and you can just walk in (last I checked) Mags charge a fee and need an appointment !


My local county court claimed that i cant actually do a statutory declaration through them, and that i need to go to a Commissioner of Oath. Any idea how i do that? I live in London.


At the risk of being rude - go to one! There's everywhere - many solicitors are CfOs in most High Streets. Although I've never done one 100% of cases on here have IIRC being done at the Court?
chrisbarnes1
QUOTE (AFCNEAL @ Mon, 29 Apr 2013 - 15:07) *
QUOTE (chrisbarnes1 @ Mon, 29 Apr 2013 - 15:00) *
QUOTE (bama @ Thu, 25 Apr 2013 - 20:24) *
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1980/43/section/14

is what lets you make the Stat Dec.
free to do the stat dec in county court and you can just walk in (last I checked) Mags charge a fee and need an appointment !


My local county court claimed that i cant actually do a statutory declaration through them, and that i need to go to a Commissioner of Oath. Any idea how i do that? I live in London.


At the risk of being rude - go to one! There's everywhere - many solicitors are CfOs in most High Streets. Although I've never done one 100% of cases on here have IIRC being done at the Court?


No, your not being rude... i just have no idea about law/courts etc and am struggling to keep up! Who exactly is a commissioner of Oath?
AFCNEAL
QUOTE (chrisbarnes1 @ Mon, 29 Apr 2013 - 15:21) *
QUOTE (AFCNEAL @ Mon, 29 Apr 2013 - 15:07) *
QUOTE (chrisbarnes1 @ Mon, 29 Apr 2013 - 15:00) *
QUOTE (bama @ Thu, 25 Apr 2013 - 20:24) *
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1980/43/section/14

is what lets you make the Stat Dec.
free to do the stat dec in county court and you can just walk in (last I checked) Mags charge a fee and need an appointment !


My local county court claimed that i cant actually do a statutory declaration through them, and that i need to go to a Commissioner of Oath. Any idea how i do that? I live in London.


At the risk of being rude - go to one! There's everywhere - many solicitors are CfOs in most High Streets. Although I've never done one 100% of cases on here have IIRC being done at the Court?


No, your not being rude... i just have no idea about law/courts etc and am struggling to keep up! Who exactly is a commissioner of Oath?


Someone appointed to administer oaths! http://www.commissionerofoaths.co.uk/
RDA
AFAIK, County Courts do not handle Statutory Declarations.

I would advise you to go to your nearest Magistrates Court and ask to see the Fines Support Officer. They will help you to complete the form and arrange for the declaration to be sworn before a bench.

There are no charges for swearing a Statutory Declaration at a Magistrates Court, however there may be one for producing a photocopy.
southpaw82
All practising solicitors, barristers, licensed conveyancers, notary publics and chartered fellows of the Institute of Legal Executives are commissioners for oaths. Going in front of one of them should cost no more than £10.
Logician
A magistrates' court will be in the best position to get a previous conviction set aside after doing a stat dec.
chrisbarnes1
Thanks all for your help. I spoke to the Magistrates Court again this afternoon and they advised me to send a letter to them in the post (i will send recorded delivery this time!!) stating what happened and asking for the case to be reopened. If they agree to re-open to case, the fees/charges will be cancelled and we will start from scratch. They said i don't need to do a statutory declaration - a letter is fine.

I will send a letter tomorrow to them - basically stating what i said in the statutory declaration... Unless you think it's better to do a statutory declaration?
mrh3369
The statutory declaration is official and that is the route you should take IMHO.
chrisbarnes1
Hi all,

Thanks for all of your help with the dispute.
I received a letter from the courts, and they have agreed to hear my case on August 30th - where i need to state if i plead guilty or not guilty to the DVLA fine - of course i will plead not guilty.

To save the hassle of having to go to court on what i would assume will be 2 separate dates (1st date to state not guilty, and 2nd date for the actual court hearing) do you think it is possible to settle this out of court with the DVLA?

I have tried to get advice from Citizens advice bureau but i can never get through to anyone as their lines are always busy. I also called the DVLA and the lady was really rude and told me once it has gone to the courts, they will refuse to speak with me until the court date.

What do you suggest? Should i try and settle this beforehand or do i just have to go to court and plead my case?

Thanks!
Logician
I am sure the CAB will just tell you to contact the DVLA, and I think the time has passed when the DVLA would do an out of court settlement. I think you will have to reconcile yourself to going to court. You may be able to avoid going to court on the first occasion, just to plead NG and settle the date for a full hearing. See what the paperwork says.
Gan
From what I understand of your story there's nothing to settle with DVLA
I can understand why you might want to settle out of convenience but you owe them nothing

You sent the slip.
It didn't arrive or they lost it

Either way, Not Guilty for reason of the Interpretation Act
tommyjj
Hi Chris,

I have a very similar situation, and will follow your case with interest.

From what I have read and heard, many cases like this go to court and the DVLA often lose.

Have you read about this pepipoo SORN case and watched this watchdog episode

chrisbarnes1
Hi Tommy - thanks for your message. What is your situation?

I've done quite a bite of research and have had a lot of help from everyone on this forum, so am feeling quite confident that I will be OK.

I am sending a letter to the complaints department at the DVLA as they have been nothing but rude and unhelpful to me this whole time. I'm hoping they drop the case, but i'm not expecting them to. I would understand if i hadn't sent the form back, and managed to get some form of financial gain or any gain whatsoever by having the car still in my name... But the fact i 100% sent the form back and havent gained anything by them not receiving the form, i don't understand why they cant have common sense and drop the case. It will cost them more in court fees - and by using the Interpretations Act - they will have to PROVE that i purposely did not send the form back to them.

The watchdog episode helped as they had to admit some post does get lost internally, and reading other peoples stories across the web, it seems like it happens to a lot of people.

I'll keep everyone updated with any developments.
Gan
Can't see that anyone's asked this question yet

Have you gone to the DVLA website to check if the car is being taxed ?
They must be sending the reminders to somebody

Are you able to contact the buyer to ask if he received his V5C OK or if he had to apply to DVLA for it ?
If he received it without prompting, it's self-evident that DVLA received the form from you and it's their own records that are in error
ukracer
QUOTE (Concrete Jungle @ Thu, 25 Apr 2013 - 16:56) *
Stat Dec. Then section 7 of the interpretations act 1978.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1978/30/section/7

QUOTE
7 References to service by post.Where an Act authorises or requires any document to be served by post (whether the expression “serve” or the expression “give” or “send” or any other expression is used) then, unless the contrary intention appears, the service is deemed to be effected by properly addressing, pre-paying and posting a letter containing the document and, unless the contrary is proved, to have been effected at the time at which the letter would be delivered in the ordinary course of post.


Good luck!


This is APPARENTLY no longer a legal defence.

Unless any one can prove otherwise.

It was being used by the guy in front of me in court and after an hour he came out with a £120 fine and the DVLA prosecuter big smile on his face as he now believes case law has changed.
ukracer
QUOTE (chrisbarnes1 @ Fri, 5 Jul 2013 - 12:24) *
Hi Tommy - thanks for your message. What is your situation?

I've done quite a bite of research and have had a lot of help from everyone on this forum, so am feeling quite confident that I will be OK.

I am sending a letter to the complaints department at the DVLA as they have been nothing but rude and unhelpful to me this whole time. I'm hoping they drop the case, but i'm not expecting them to. I would understand if i hadn't sent the form back, and managed to get some form of financial gain or any gain whatsoever by having the car still in my name... But the fact i 100% sent the form back and havent gained anything by them not receiving the form, i don't understand why they cant have common sense and drop the case. It will cost them more in court fees - and by using the Interpretations Act - they will have to PROVE that i purposely did not send the form back to them.

The watchdog episode helped as they had to admit some post does get lost internally, and reading other peoples stories across the web, it seems like it happens to a lot of people.

I'll keep everyone updated with any developments.


My son ended up with a £35 fine but if it had been down to me I would have contested it in court. Sadly the cars are in his name and they wont le me speak in court. BUT I am stubborn and hate the DVLA and scum who do the enforcement with a passion as they have NO common sense and morals.

Simple thing is how old is that watch dog program. As in JUNE it transpires the interpreations act no longer gets you off a charge of none receipt and indeed NOR does a recorded delivery letter. They state that you could have sent an empty envelope....so it shows what they want is MONEY and dont care about fairness and facts.

SO be careful. WE have just had another letter to appear on the 10th august for another car so will let you know how it goes .
StuartBu
QUOTE (ukracer @ Sun, 21 Jul 2013 - 00:17) *
This is APPARENTLY no longer a legal defence.

Unless any one can prove otherwise.

It was being used by the guy in front of me in court and after an hour he came out with a £120 fine and the DVLA prosecuter big smile on his face as he now believes case law has changed.



I'd imagine it will take more than that to change case law!!
sgtdixie
QUOTE (ukracer @ Sun, 21 Jul 2013 - 00:17) *
QUOTE (Concrete Jungle @ Thu, 25 Apr 2013 - 16:56) *
Stat Dec. Then section 7 of the interpretations act 1978.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1978/30/section/7

QUOTE
7 References to service by post.Where an Act authorises or requires any document to be served by post (whether the expression “serve” or the expression “give” or “send” or any other expression is used) then, unless the contrary intention appears, the service is deemed to be effected by properly addressing, pre-paying and posting a letter containing the document and, unless the contrary is proved, to have been effected at the time at which the letter would be delivered in the ordinary course of post.


Good luck!


This is APPARENTLY no longer a legal defence.

Unless any one can prove otherwise.

It was being used by the guy in front of me in court and after an hour he came out with a £120 fine and the DVLA prosecuter big smile on his face as he now believes case law has changed.


It has always been the case that the Interpretations Act provided a possible defence but the non receipt had to be proved. A recent case was lost when a Judge decided that the Act did not apply to DVLA documents. That judgement can be referenced by DVLA and may be persuasive in other cases up to the point that someone goes to the higher courts. At that point the administrative courts may uphold the judgement or reverse it. Even when a case is stated it does not mean it is irreversible. A lot of stated cases get overturned in later years.
chrisbarnes1
Just to keep everyone update about this.
I went to court on the 20th August with loads of documents and notes etc. They sat me down in this small room, and the judge (i assume that's what he was...) asked me if i had been charged by the DVLA for failing to notify them that i sold my car. I said yes. He then asked them how i notified the DVLA. I told him that i sent the form off in the post. He asked if i received a letter from the DVLA within 4 weeks of sending the letter. I said no. He then said that i should have chased the DVLA if i hadn't received anything - but that the courts will re-open the case so that i can contest the charges with the DVLA in court. I was in the room for a maximum of 2 minutes... I was so surprised that i even asked "so that's it?!?". I spent £30 in train fares to get there, and lost a days pay all for 2 minutes!

I was told i would receive a letter from the Courts with a future court date... and it had been close to a month as i hadnt received anything. I called the Courts today to find out what is going on, and they told me the DVLA has withdrawn the case. So i no longer have to go to court, or pay any fines.

If you have a case, don't cave in and pay the fine - fight it as much as you can. There's no better feeling knowing you've stood up for yourself and won, than allowed to be walked over by the DVLA.

Thank you to everyone on this forum that has helped me out - without your advice and guidance i would have been £700 out of pocket!!!
StuartBu
Good result!!
madbasshunter
That is a Good Result
anon45
May I add my congratulations to the OP?

There is a 'specialist' sub-forum on the CAG forums dealing with DVLA cases; there are many prosecutions for "failure to notify" where the defendant claims the letter was sent, the Interpretation Act is argued, and it appears that the DVLA typically argue either:
a) that the Interpretation Act does not apply to letters sent to the DVLA (what possible justification is there for this statement in law?), or;
b) that the Interpretation Act requires that the notification be personally handed to the Secretary of State for Transport himself! (even more absurd), or:
c) that the RK "was required by law" to 'chase up' the DVLA following non-receipt of the standard acknowledgement letter, and somehow committed an offence (what offence?) by failing to do so, or;
d) that the DVLA have given credible evidence that they didn't receive it; therefore the presumption of service is successfully rebutted (the Watchdog episode referred to by chris barnes1 suggests that it is very plausible that the letter arrived and was lost by the DVLA).

I'd estimate from the CAG forum that around 70% of fully pursued prosecutions involving claimed sending and the Interpretation Act result in acquittals, and around 30% result in convictions. Two convictions were appealed to Crown, one successfully and one unsuccessfully (in the latter case: http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum...other-case!, the Crown Court accepted the prosecution's (extremely weak, IMO) argument that the Interpretation Act does not apply to letters sent to the DVLA, but in one other appeal, this argument was comprehensively demolished and the conviction quashed).

Furthermore, many putative cases, perhaps the majority, including not only this very thread and this one: http://forums.pepipoo.com/index.php?showtopic=48973
result in the DVLA withdrawing their prosecution once it is clear that the defendant will not be intimidated into paying up.

The problem is, every time the DVLA win, even if they lose or withdraw far more often than they win, it creates persuasive "precedent" which prosecutors can quote at future benches, whilst conveniently ignoring the many cases when they lose. In some respects, it's similar to Northern Rail prosecutions of RKs for allegedly breaching byelaw 14- both are seemingly relying on prosecuting a few (and on defendants paying up before court, or on the silver-tongued prosecutor being able to persuade the magistrates to convict regardless) in order to scare the many into paying their respective 'fixed penalties' for the alleged breach.

NeilNeil
QUOTE (RDA @ Mon, 29 Apr 2013 - 15:48) *
..There are no charges for swearing a Statutory Declaration at a Magistrates Court


It should be noted, though, that for swearing at magistrates in a court there are likely to be charges!
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