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Court Fees Were Never Deducted - Possible Warrent For Arrest?


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Hi,

 

 

Back in January 2011 I was convicted of a minor offense and was given a bill of £500 by the courts. At the time I was unemployed and was receiving Job Seekers Allowance.

 

I remember speaking with somebody over the telephone who was employed at the court payment office who agreed to deduct £100 every month from the JSA payments to cover the costs to which I agreed and thought no more of it.

 

5 months later (in May) I was offered a fairly decent paying job abroad for which I accepted.

 

I proceeded to sign out of the tenancy with my landlord, however some complications arised and I had to stay for a few more months. During these months I moved temporarily into a shared accommodation (as I had already finalised my then tenancy) for which I have records of as I transferred my JSA to this new address during that period.

 

Fast forward to today I was speaking with an old friend, I asked him if he could pop around to my old house just for the sake of it and see if I have any letters that I am still receiving. I had no new letters due to the fact that the new tenants returned any mail that was sent to me however they had stacked up the first few months of letters just in case I came to pick them up.

 

Anyway, to my surprise one of those letters they kept was from a Bailiff company telling me that I apparently owe them a few thousand pounds on top of the £500 that I apparently failed to pay the court. At first I didn't care much for it, even though I was angry, but then I realised that this debt owed is technically to the government which I definitely do not want to mess around with.

 

He then opened up a few more letters and one of them was from the court in July (I moved out in May, paperwork to prove this) that claims they just recently attempted to take out money but couldn't.

 

What shocks me is that they waited 6 months to attempt to take money off my JSA even though they said it would be immediate and every month. I was not on JSA during that very specific time frame they attempted to take out money as I was right in the middle of moving which meant my JSA was frozen until I transferred to the new JC office which I never had much time to get around to doing.

 

Again, I never received this letter as by then I had moved to my new temp accommodation and then shortly after, abroad.

 

What annoys me the most is that we agreed that £100 a month was to be taken out every month, why they waited 7 months for that is beyond me? Also, what gave them the silly impression that I would have still been on JSA in 7 months? (I know I was but that’s not the point.)

 

They simply never sent me any letters during the period up until May and I had completely forgotten about it. If you’re wondering why I never spotted the missing deductions, this was due to the fact that I would never check the total of credited money into my account as I had my own money in there too and never really kept track if £100 was missing from the total or not as I was making purchases and paying bills at the same time. I know it sounds silly but that is the case.

 

Anyway, the fact of the matter is, I still owe the £500 which is not a problem, and I am willing to pay upon my return, however, what grounds do I have to get them to waive this silly bailiff fees they have dumped on me due to their own incompetence?

 

Also, can I pay the £500 straight to the courts separately, that way I know I do not owe any money to the courts, and deal with the bailiffs separately? Or is the debt all rolled up into one now? I would much prefer to pay the debt to the court from over here before I even return to save any grief at passport control as there could possibly be a warrant out for me now? There's no way of me knowing as all later letters where returned by the new tenants.

 

 

All the advice I can get is appreciated.

 

 

With regards,

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Interesting.

 

In fact your problem COULD be quite easy to resolve if the court show willingness.

 

You had a court fine that was nearly paid in full but the deductions stopped as you found permanent employment ABROAD. Before issuing a distress warrant the court MUST send to you a Further Steps Notice. As you were overseas you would not have received this and accordingly, you would not have been able to respond to pay the arrears when the debt stood at just £100.

 

The court MAY be willing to allow you to file a Statutory Declaration (or more likely to recall the warrant) as you had been abroad. Do you know which court issued the warrant?

 

As you are still overseas you can email the court.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Interesting.

 

In fact your problem COULD be quite easy to resolve if the court show willingness.

 

You had a court fine that was nearly paid in full but the deductions stopped as you found permanent employment ABROAD. Before issuing a distress warrant the court MUST send to you a Further Steps Notice. As you were overseas you would not have received this and accordingly, you would not have been able to respond to pay the arrears when the debt stood at just £100.

 

The court MAY be willing to allow you to file a Statutory Declaration (or more likely to recall the warrant) as you had been abroad. Do you know which court issued the warrant?

 

As you are still overseas you can email the court.

 

Hi, sorry for the really late reply but I couldn't remember my password and for some odd reason password reset was not working.

 

I seem to have confused you a little, to clear up the misunderstanding: No money was ever deducted from my JSA. This is where the problem obviously begins.

 

The agreement was that £100 a month was to be deducted from my JSA for 6 months effective immediately, I agreed and thought no more of it and considered it the end of the matter.

 

However they attempted to deduct the first payment 7 months after they said they would. This is the period where I was no longer on JSA and was right before I moved abroad.

 

Any letters they would have sent between the time I moved out of my main residence into the temporary accommodation, I would not have received.

 

I'd rather not tell anyone I am abroad for the time being, I simply would not want them knowing at this stage. I've heard of people being chased up for simple credit card payments half way across the world, if there is a warrant for my arrest for non payment of Crown Court fees then I'd rather keep my current residence to myself. I know it sounds paranoid but I'm just thinking worst case scenario for now.

 

Simply put, can I have this bailiff issue go away by telling the courts (with paperwork to prove) that I was no longer residing at the address they would have sent any correspondence to, as I had moved from that address to a temporary accommodation, before moving abroad?

 

Many Thanks!

 

PS: as mentioned before I am willing to pay the £600 directly to the courts if they accept it.

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If I were in your shoes I would write to the court from your foreign address stating that you have had to move abroad for work. Explain what happened with the court fine not being deducted from JSA as you were advised until 7 months later and by then you were no longer on JSA, having left the country. If you can make a payment to the court, you should do so, showing that you are willing to pay the fine. You may be able to pay using the courts online payment system.

 

It is important to do this, as if you were ever to come back to the UK, you don't want to face arrest on the basis of deliberately not paying a fine. I cannot see the court taking any action in regard to enforcement where you live abroad.

 

Once the court know the situation they will take this back and the bailiff won't be involved. Bailiffs will only chase to a UK address (but not Scotland)

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On the face of it, this appears to be a case of the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing where the court is concerned. I am at a loss at to why the court waited seven months before starting to collect a fine and then involved a civil enforcement company when it could not get money. IMHO if the court does not recall the warrant promptly, the case could end up causing embarrassment for HMCTS.

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