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A (small) victory against the DVLA


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Hi all,

 

Now, this kind of story will have some resonance with other users of this forum.

And my contribution is my 4+ month fight with the DVLA for allegedly not notifying them of a change of keeper..

 

It started back in October when my partner (named driver) received a letter from the DVLA that stated someone was trying to register the car in their name.

My partner rang the DVLA to let them know that the car had been sold on eBay back on the 22nd of June (not May as I had mistakenly stated in another thread) and that the V5C was posted to them on the same day as the sale was completed.

I can't remember what the reply was but the agent from the DVLA on the phone was taking notes from my partner with regards dates, times etc.

A couple of weeks later she got a letter from the DVLA stating that she had failed to notify them of a change of keeper and that a £35 penalty was due, which would increase to £55 if it wasn't paid within 14? Days.

 

At this point, as I was the actual owner of the vehicle and my partner was merely the named keeper for insurance purposes, I took over all the correspondence going back to the DVLA.

I notified them that the documents had been sent back to them and that it was unfair for them to hold us responsible for something totally out of our control.

There were a few letters sent back and fourth between us but the third letter from them was almost laughable.

after telling them that we had done all we reasonably could do with regards to notifying them, they stated that our statement was noted but did not constitute a defence.

They had not received any documents so therefore we were liable.

So, as to make my position clear, I duly notified them of chapter 30, section 7 of the Interpretations Act 1978.

 

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.

After a couple of weeks we received another letter form them stating that the Interpretations Act is clear in that it refers to documents or letters being delivered rather than merely being sent.

I wrote back telling them that they are clearly deluded, and talking nonsense as no where in that section if the act does state anything like they were suggesting.

I also included the act again and asked them to carefully read it just so they can be clear.

 

Eventually after another letter from them, I wrote back telling them that I was tired of these wasteful exchanges and that their only option was to take the matter to court as I was refusing to enter in further discourse on this matter.

I even added that any more correspondence sent by myself to them would result in an hourly charge 0f £6.50 per hour which would include printing and postage costs.

After a couple of weeks i received another letter from them stating that this issue was going to court and that i should receive a summons shortly.

Low and behold, roughly 2 weeks later a court summons dropped through the door.

 

So with my partners date in court set, which was yesterday, I began to get some nice little facts together about the DVLA.

I first started with a freedom of information request that I placed back in December.

 

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/number_of_missed_acknowledgement

 

I asked the DVLA how many V5C documents were received by them between 2010 - 2012 and how many acknowledgement letters were sent out on response within those same years.

The reply I received was quite shocking really.

The DVLA had no specific records of the amount of V5C's that they received but took a sample (85%) and gave figures out.

Now, these figures still don't add up by their own account yet people are prosecuted for not following up on these acknowledgement letters with the DVLA after 14 days.

Better still, there is no legal requirement for the DVLA to issue one and this leaves a wide open door for all sorts of abuses to go on.

 

Another freedom of information request was printed which is a little different in how the case came about, but the process in how the summons was made by the DVLA is the same.

In this case, the SORN declaration was made but acknowledgement was received. This led to the summons being issued against the person named in the FOI request and i believe the person was acquitted as a result of his research.

 

So, armed with the letters received from the DVLA and the letters sent by me, and also the FOI information, i went to court.

The first thing that struck me was the amount of people waiting to have their day in court for issues the same as i was having or for SORN issues.

The clerk of the court was who amazed me though.

 

She was going around asking people their names and how they wanted to plead.

One gentleman was there for a different case that was being dealt with in the same court room.

She asked him why he was there and he said that it was because he had his car clamped by VOSA, because it had no tax, even though it was parked on a private road.

She, and i was stunned by this, said to him "well it is an offence so you are guilty and will be fined today".

I sh*t you not, that was a clerk of the court telling someone that she had never met before, and whom had no idea of the case, telling someone they are guilty.

Whatever happened to innocent until PROVEN guilty?

 

Anyway, i approached the clerk and told her my partners name.

She asked why i was there and i told her that i am the partner of the defendant and that i was there to represent her in court.

The clerk said that they (the magistrates) may not hear my defence as the summons was in my partners name.

I stated that everyone was entitled to representation, i am the partner of the defendant and that i was the owner of the car which relates to this case.

The clerk said that she would ask and would get back to me.

 

After around 15 minutes, the clerk emerged from the court and called my name out.

I approached her and as i did so she stated that the case had been dropped.

I asked why it had been dropped and she said that she didn't know.

I asked what i should do and she advised me that i could leave and a letter from the court detailing the case and the verdict would be sent to me after a few days.

 

RESULT!

 

I didn't stop there though.

After speaking to the clerk i sat down with other people who were going through similar situations and gave them the FOI requests, and some notes about the human right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, and the interpretation act.

I asked them to read it, understand it and pass it on to the next DVLA victim.

 

 

My advice to anyone dealing with the DVLA is to always refute their claims if you have done everything by the book.

Always record any conversation you have with them regardless of how trivial it may seem and always, always attend court if you are summonsed.

After what i saw yesterday, i can definitely say without any sort of undue bias that the DVLA rely on you not knowing your rights, your ignorance of the law, and not knowing your responsibilities within law.

This is how they get away with their unscrupulous behaviour and command huge fines.

 

Always, always use the Interpretations Act 1978 Chapter 30 Section 7 as your defence when important documents such as V5C's/V60's and SORN notifications are sent by post and lost by either Royal Mail or the DVLA.

Hopefully, you will succeed like i did.

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Unfortunately it is little more than a hollow victory, at least until you get the full reasoning on why the case was dropped, despite both parties attending court on the day (which I incorrectly assumed means a pre-booked hearing must go ahead, at least as far as the magistrate spending a limited amount of time hearing both sides prior to dismissal).

 

Would you be willing to go to the papers over this once you do have the detail ?

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Unfortunately it is little more than a hollow victory, at least until you get the full reasoning on why the case was dropped, despite both parties attending court on the day (which I incorrectly assumed means a pre-booked hearing must go ahead, at least as far as the magistrate spending a limited amount of time hearing both sides prior to dismissal).

 

Would you be willing to go to the papers over this once you do have the detail ?

 

Hi,

 

I'm not even sure if its worth the attention from the news papers to be honest.

The behaviour of the DVLA in how it conducts cases doesn't seem to be an issue in the mainstream media and I have only read a couple of stories similar to those in these sub- forums on online based news sites or small independent papers which have little popularity outside of their individual towns or cities.

 

It amazes me that the financial waste of taking these cases to court in the first place hasn't got the attention it deserves when you consider that the DVLA have lost, or backed out of, more cases than they have won. And by quite some margin.

 

In my opinion, there are only two ways the DVLA process can be forcibly changed.

 

1) An online petition via the PM's website was created and we had 200,000 or more signatures. Or,

 

2) If a collective of like minded people that have won their cases, or had them dropped or dismissed, got together and took the case to the high court.

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Good on the OP.

 

I know of one 'major' media ongoing investigation into exactly this. I am sure they will see this thread.

 

However what is needed is a Magistrates conviction which is followed by an appeal in a higher Court that would become a precedent binding on ALL lower Courts.

The difficulty here is that the DVLA know the danger of this and withdraw any cases at the slightest sign it is going to be articulately, informedly and intelligently argued, sooner than risk obtain a conviction that can be appealed.

They always try to 'interview' Defendants outside the Courtroon doors to gauge this.

 

Without doubting the OP's reporting, I wonder if he was misled into thinking the person whom he spoke to was in fact the Prosecution and not the Clerk of the Court.

 

The sooner this is finally taken to a higher Court and ruled upon, the better. But DVLA seek to avoid this 'Justice' decision at all costs, prefering their continuing their 'nice little earner'.

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This case was subject of an appeal to Crown Court, and lost on the grounds that s22, The Road Vehicles (Registration & Licensing) Regulationsion Act 1978 2002 makes no mention of 'service by post' and so s.7, Interpretation Act 1978, did not apply.

 

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?345228-Failure-to-notify.-Another-case!

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Good on the OP.

 

I know of one 'major' media ongoing investigation into exactly this. I am sure they will see this thread.

 

However what is needed is a Magistrates conviction which is followed by an appeal in a higher Court that would become a precedent binding on ALL lower Courts.

The difficulty here is that the DVLA know the danger of this and withdraw any cases at the slightest sign it is going to be articulately, informedly and intelligently argued, sooner than risk obtain a conviction that can be appealed.

They always try to 'interview' Defendants outside the Courtroon doors to gauge this.

 

Without doubting the OP's reporting, I wonder if he was misled into thinking the person whom he spoke to was in fact the Prosecution and not the Clerk of the Court.

 

The sooner this is finally taken to a higher Court and ruled upon, the better. But DVLA seek to avoid this 'Justice' decision at all costs, prefering their continuing their 'nice little earner'.

 

The woman in question was definitely the court clerk as she had her clip board with a list of names case numbers.

Though she overstepped her boundary when telling the gentleman that he would be fined, she was clearly a clerk.

 

There were a number of cases being held that day and the prosecutor could be seen with her case load on the desk.

I believe this prosecutor to be quite overburdened and may have 'recruited' the clerk to apply some scare tactics to those of us out in the waiting area.

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Clerk of the Courts (Magistrates) do advise the magistrate of the relevant law and penalty's it has been reported, as in a lot of cases it seems magistrates are led by rule? others may comment, but that is what was relayed to peeps in the past? but as you state they should not pre-empt a case blatantly. the judicial system in this country needs investigating, the DVLA well another area for public inquiry.

:mad2::-x:jaw::sad:
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I have been looking into the case of number 6 and the court of appeal decision.

 

As i see it, no case law was set, DVLA cannot use that crown case for reference for future appeals

 

All that was decided was that the orignal magistrates court verdict be up held as no new evidence had been submitted to the court of appeal judges to justify the original magistrates verdict being repealed.

 

There is nothing stopping another indavidual appealing a magistrates court decision in favour of DVLA to the court of appeal and presenting a new case as no case law has been set

 

please advise if i am barking up the wrong tree

 

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?345228-Failure-to-notify.-Another-case

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Ahhh! David Evans.

A man that can't admit that the DVLA is failing in its simple duties and is effectively using fraud as a means to get money.

 

Clearly some things have to change.

Some may ask why the government hasn't stepped in to deal with this issue.

I can name a couple of reasons but primarily, they turn a blind eye to it because the DVLA does make a lot money through the fear and ignorance of peoples' rights as per my original post.

 

I agree with MIKE770 with regards to how the judicial process is run/led within the magistrates courts.

There does seem to be a measure of collusion with the prosecution depending on what/who the prosecution is representing.

 

My biggest bugbear is with victim surcharges applied to ALL fines. Regardless of what the fine is for.

It could be the DVLA, ONS, TV Licensing, practically any person or incorporated business.

 

The application of victim surcharges on fines for businesses and incorporated businesses shouldn't happen yet any magistrate or judge that finds in their favour will always add it regardless as they have no discretion in deciding when, or if, it should be applied.

And this happens even though it is clear on the CPS's website that states, in part, ....... Large retailers or corporations do not come within the definition of victim.

 

There are so many things wrong with the government, governmental departments and agencies, the judicial system, just about every aspect of British infrastructure is basically f**ked.

It all needs bottom up reform so that this so-called "democracy" works as it is labelled.

In the meantime, WE have to start helping people fight back against agency's like the DVLA otherwise it'll just get worse.

I mean, how many people have been screwed over the insurance SORN declarations since that was brought into force?

 

The whole system is a joke.

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