HMCTS Historic Debt Team
The government set up the HMCTS Historic Debt Team in September 2016 as a pilot scheme to recover outstanding court fines that have remained unpaid for a period of up to 10 years. In many cases, the reason for the fines not being recovered had been due to individuals moving address etc.
In March 2017, the government announced that since its launch, the HMCTS National Compliance and Enforcement Service had recovered ‘significant sums’ and as a consequence, the Historic Debt Team had expanded their tracing activities to recover outstanding court fines over 10 years old.
The court fine is over 6 years old…is it statute barred?
No. As Magistrate Court fines are criminal matters they are not subject to the Limitations Act and neither can they be included in either a bankruptcy, an IVA or a Debt Relief Order (DRO).
I don’t know anything about this court fine.
At Bailiff Advice we receive a significant number of enquiries from the public regarding a court fine from the HMCTS Historic Debt Team and in many cases, subsequent enquiries reveal that the correct procedure should be to consider applying to the Magistrates Court for an appointment to make a Section 14 Statutory Declaration. This procedure is outlined in detail on the following page. Please note that an application for a Section 14 Statutory Declaration must be made within 21 days of you becoming aware of the court fine.
Should I pay or make a Section 14 Statutory Declaration?
With the majority of these court fines going back many years, many people have little or no supporting documentation available and are naturally worried about the prospect of applying for a Section 14 Statutory Declaration and instead, decide to pay the amount requested in order to conclude the matter. This is perfectly understandable.
Contacting the HMCTS Historic Debt Team
If you have received a letter from the HMCTS Historic Debt Team, contact details should be available on the letter. Alternatively, enquiries can be made with the National Enforcement Service on 0300 1239252
Note from Bailiff Advice
If you have received a letter from the HMCTS Historic Debt Team in relation to a court fine that you had not known about, please do not hesitate to contact us by either using our very popular Question page or by phone. Details are on our Contact page.