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Notice of Fine and Collection Order


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I've just received one of these through the post.

 

 

Here's the background:

 

June - locked my wallet, containing my keys, in my flat.

 

 

My spares are with someone in the next town over,

so I got on the train, and couldn't pay the £3.80 fare.

 

 

Totally my fault, but there wasn't much I could do.

 

 

No point dwelling on that now.

 

 

I got stopped by a guy at the other station who took my details.

I got my keys, borrowed money for the return fare, and went home.

 

July - got a letter through from the train company saying they were considering legal action,

and to fill in some details and explain the situation.

Did so, sent it off the next day.

 

Today - got a Notice of Fine and Collection Order for £568.80.

 

Shouldn't there have been several letters between those last two?

 

 

I read online there should be a court summons, and asking if I'm pleading guilty etc.

 

 

I received none of that.

 

 

If so, is that any defence, or will they just say "pull the other one" and demand the money?

 

 

Are there payment schemes I can use if I do have to pay?

 

 

I certainly don't have that much money...

 

Thanks for any advice!

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Hi Thedonkeyman

 

Welcome to CAG

 

If you genuinely didn't know about the court summons and hearing then you could contact the magistrates court and ask to make a statutory declaration, this will effectively reset the clock back to the summons which will be reissued. But in making a statutory declaration you have to be truthful in that you did not receive the court summons. Making a false one is a very serious offence and has serious consequences.

 

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Geo5/1-2/6

 

You could then see if the rail company would allow an out of court settlement. But there are no guarantees. If you believe you have a good case in that you didn't ignore the first letter, but responded immediately, proof of previous travel purchases etc. Then it might be worth considering.

 

I'm sure the industry experts will advise further.

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But in making a statutory declaration you have to be truthful in that you did not receive the court summons. Making a false one is a very serious offence and has serious consequences. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Geo5/1-2/6

 

 

 

Yes, rebel is spot-on, if you genuinely didn't receive the original Summons and other documents, you should go to your local Magistrates Court and make a Statutory Declaration before the Court. Making a false declaration can result in a charge of perjury and not too many years ago a certain Lord of the Realm quickly found that can lead to a term of imprisonment. Of course that wasn't in relation to a rail fare, but the principle is the same.

 

Once you have made the Statutory Declaration and the Court has recorded it, the original conviction & fine etc. will be set-aside and the Rail Company will be free to re-issue the Summons without time constraints and to start the prosecution process again.

 

Whether or not you will be able to get the company to agree to an out of Court settlement before they proceed again will depend on the severity of the charge and the evidence recorded and which company it was. Some have a record of allowing settlements more often than others. Where were you travelling?

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Thanks very much for the replies!

 

The journey was Tunbridge Wells to Tonbridge, falling in the domain of South Eastern. I'm hoping they're going to be reasonable... but we'll see.

 

What's the normal procedure for making a Statutory Declaration?

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http://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/criminal/rulesmenu

 

(Part 37), fill in the Statutory Declaration, but check with the court, looks like the form has been replaced recently.

 

http://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/criminal/formspage

 

 

 

Yes rebel, the process has changed slightly in that, if the defendant makes a Statutory Declaration that they did not know of the prosecution, but intend to plead 'guilty', the Court may deal with the matter there and then, by imposing a fine, compensation & Costs Orders and a Victim Surcharge without the matter going back to re-issue of the Summons.

 

 

If the defendant pleads 'not guilty' then the matter starts again as in the past and will go back to a full Court hearing.

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