I do not know anything about this court fine.
This is by far one of the most common enquiry that we receive and in particular with court fines imposed in London and the South East. As an example, it is common to see on the Notice of Enforcement that the debt relates to a Magistrate court fine issued in HMCS London NE or NW, HMCS London SE or SW or even HMCS Kent etc or more commonly, London LCCC.
Is there a reason why a court fine had been imposed without my knowledge?
There are a number of reasons. Firstly, 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 In many cases, this information may be incorrect or outdated as the defendant may have moved address or even sold the vehicle shortly before the offence. With evasion of a train ticket, we have come across endless cases where the person caught evading the train fare had given the wrong name and address to the inspector !!
Of serious concern is that it is estimated that as many as 30% of all distress warrants/warrants of control have incorrect addresses. Most importantly, this would mean that the court summons, the notice of fine and collection order and the further steps notice would also have had the incorrect address and accordingly, none of these statutory notices would have been served on the defendant.
The letter from the bailiff has come to my present address.
The reason for this is because the four bailiff/enforcement companies contracted by HMCS to enforce distress warrants/warrants of control for unpaid court fines (Marston Group, Collectica Ltd, Swift and Excel Enforcement) have “tracing” facilities enabling them to find a new address. The Magistrate Court take the view that debtors with unpaid court fines are supposed to advise the court if they change address.
Are Magistrate Court fines covered by the Limitations Act?
No. As Magistrate Court fine 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).
How can I make enquiries about the court fine?
Firstly, if you had not received a summons and had no knowledge of a court fine, then it is a simple matter of completing a 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 related 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 London CCC (LCCC) (i.e.: Lavender Hill).
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 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.
It is important to seek assistance as soon as you receive the Notice of Enforcement from the bailiff company as this could avoid a personal visit being made which will incur bailiff fees of £235.
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.