I do not know about this court fine
This is by far one of the most common enquiries that we receive at Bailiff Advice and even more so, with court fines managed by the HMCTS Historic Debt Team. Given the number of enquiries that we receive regarding these ‘historic debts, we have recently introduced the following page to our website.
Is there a reason why a court fine had been imposed without my knowledge?
There are a number of reasons. With motoring offences ( such as speeding etc) the police are reliant upon the information held by DVLA on the day of the alleged offence. In many cases, this information is found to have an outdated address etc.
If an outdated address is recorded on your driving licence or V5C (Log Book) then this would mean that the court summons, (or Single Justice Procedure notice), the Notice of Fine and Collection Order and the Further Steps Notice would also have have the incorrect address and accordingly, none of these statutory notices would have been served on you.
The letter from the bailiff has come to my present address.
The reason for this is because the four bailiff/enforcement companies contracted by HMCTS to enforce warrants of control for unpaid court fines (Marston Holdings, Collectica Ltd, Swift and Excel Enforcement) have “tracing” facilities enabling them to find a new address. The Magistrate Court take the view that if a person has an unpaid court fine and moves address that they are supposed to advise the court of their new contact details.
Are Magistrate Court fines covered by the Limitations Act?
No. As a Magistrate Court fine is for a criminal offence, it is not subject to the Limitations Act and neither can it be included in either a bankruptcy, an IVA or a Debt Relief Order (DRO).
How can I make enquiries about the court fine?
If you had not received a summons and had no knowledge of a court fine until you were contacted by either the Court or enforcement company (Marston Holdings, Collectica Ltd, Excel Enforcement or Swift), then it is a simple matter of completing a Section 14 Statutory Declaration. All bailiff enforcement will cease and if accepted, the conviction will be overturned. However, before being able to make a Statutory Declaration you will need to first establish what the fine relates to….when it was imposed….and which Magistrate Court are dealing with the matter. This is not an easy task (and in particular; with court fines administered by the London Collection & Compliance Centre (LCCC).
Note from Bailiff Advice.
If you do not know anything about the court fine, and you need help with identifying which court imposed the fine or how to apply for a Section 14 Statutory Declaration, you can email a question to us using our popular Question page. Alternatively, you can contact us by phone. Details are on our Contact page.
A simple overview of the new Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013 including details of bailiff fees, notices that must be given by the bailiff and items that are ‘exempt’ from being taken into control by a bailiff can be read here.