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    • hi   Thank you for your reply.   nice link . thank you very much.   I know I will get my refund. it has been offered. I have been told I am right about the situation. It does seem like this is in debate but this was clarified a long time ago.   Do you think I would be wasting my time to try and stop it happening to others?   I just would not want this happing to anyone else.   Thank you again                
    • Just ask for the refund you appear to be entitled to.  They'll either pay it or they'll explain to you why they won't.  Forget everything else.   Or you could try here:  https://www.railforums.co.uk/forums/disputes-prosecutions.152/
    • you stated :   "I would expect revenue officers are quite aware of the time of day they are manning barriers. i'd also go as far as to say they don't bother to do this in off peak times... as there would be little point, no loss of revenue to protect".     They were there when I should have had an off peak option, they did not give it me!! I asked for the lower fare. they refused!! And threatened a fine!! ( i did not know the jargon , that is true)  but "lower fare option "  should be o.k for them to understand.   When I say, to the effect, that there was a lower fare option listed on your computer before I left the station  Please can I have that as this higher fare seems far too much. Is there another option?   No.   I had full fare or a hefty fine options only.   you stated:   "your intended return was off-peak, but you didn't tell them.."   I asked for the lower fare, they refused. repeatedly. They had the option to charge the low fare but absolutely refused and threaten a fine.   I do not have to know any jargon.  I just said it was too much and there was a lower option before i departed and  why can't I have that? They said no and that I had to pay the high fare.   Which is untrue. They should have said that was o.k and gave any restrictions on the ticket!   you stated "this thread is getting boring and repetitive. "   You could help me and the many others  who may read this) who would like advice and offer suggestions of things to ask or mention with the complaint.   What would you say? How can I stop this from happening to others?   I have been told I was right by the staff at the station. So I know I am in the right.   Please can you be a bit more friendly and helpful?  Come on, lets try and do some good here.   I was hoping people might suggest some ideas.   Perhaps we can move onto the questions I should ask or things I should state regards my complaint. with time running out?  If not for me,  for other travellers, who will be going through this same ordeal if we do not help them.   kind regards.          
    • yes because 1000's of people believe a DCA is a bailiff and they are not and that penalty charges are lawful, they are not, so blindly cough up...   worth a few letters / free emails to try it on pays for the staff drinks down the pub that night with free money.   dx  
    • they have already 'outsourced' it ..........to a dca [crs - well that's harlands anyway] watchout for Zinc next.. but don't look at the bottom of the letter as you'll see its the same address again...}   forget about it go enjoy your life.    
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Hi

 

apologies if there has already been a thread like this, I'm just new to this site and do not know how to navigate it very well.

 

Last year I was stopped by a ticket inspector on a southern rail train,

i did have a valid ticket, however I didn't have a relevant discount card on me.

 

I offered to pay was told I would receive a letter within a few weeks with the details of the fine and how to pay it

 

. A month passed and I received nothing, at the time I was in the process of moving house

 

. I have now moved address and had forgotten about the letter if I'm honest

 

today I received a letter from MARSTON HIGH COURT asking for £650?! I have not seen any prior letters, this is the first one.

 

It also says that if I don'tpay within 14 days tthey are going to send bayliffs over.

 

I definitely cannot afford £650 all at once, and even if I could somehow manage to pay it in instalments it says the amount must be paid in full.

 

I really dont know what to do?!

 

Any advice would be really appreciated!

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Hi

 

apologies if there has already been a thread like this, I'm just new to this site and do not know how to navigate it very well.

 

Last year I was stopped by a ticket inspector on a southern rail train, i did have a valid ticket, however I didn't have a relevant discount card on me. I offered to pay was told I would receive a letter within a few weeks with the details of the fine and how to pay it. A month passed and I received nothing, at the time I was in the process of moving house. Anyway I have now moved address and had forgotten about the letter if I'm honest and today I received a letter from MARSTON HIGH COURT asking for £650?! I have not seen any prior letters, this is the first one. It also says that if I don'tpay within 14 days tthey are going to send bayliffs over. I definitely cannot afford £650 all at once, and even if I could somehow manage to pay it in instalments it says the amount must be paid in full. I really dont know what to do?! Any advice would be really appreciated!

 

First thing to do is to contact the Court (as it sounds like a Court fine, rather than a civil penalty from the TOC [Train Operating Company]). Others can advise better than me on what stage you might be able to get things "re-wound" to, and the ramifications of the bailiffs / HCEO's having paperwork valid for your original address ....

 

However, it is likely more complex than a fine alone.

If this is a Court fine, then it seems likely the TOC wrote to you, you didn't reply, and they took it to court with the case then heard in your absence, due to you moving. Did you get your mail forwarded?? or is this a possible sequence of events?

If this is the case, then you likely have a criminal record, and it would show on a enhanced DBS (the replacement for CRB) and possibly (depending on what you were prosecuted for) a basic / standard disclosure too (the more severe offence is 'recordable' whereas if they prosecuted only under Railway Bylaw it would be a 'non-recordable' offence).

This could have employment ramifications for you.

 

If you had the relevant discount card at the time, just not with you : you MIGHT try and persuade the court you didn't get the court papers, and the case should be reheard - then you MIGHT try and persuade the TOC that as it was an honest mistake and your ticket would have been valid if you had had your discount card with you, that they might accept an administrative settlement in place of again taking you to court given this is what you would have replied had you not moved addresses :, but there are a lot of mights and maybe's there!.

Additionally they could be influenced by:

a) it was your responsibility to carry the relevant discount card, and without it your ticket was invalid,

b) it was your responsibility to ensure your mail was forwarded, and even if it wasnt,

c) it was then your responsibility to contact the TOC.

 

When you contact the Court, it would be useful to find out if you were prosecuted under Railway Bylaw 17 or 18, or Section 5 of the RRA 1889 : that will allow you to find out if it is a recordable or non-recordable conviction, and influence your best way forward if the case might be re-heard.

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I didn't get my mail forwarded no, as I said I had forgotten about the letter altogether.

 

 

I did however return to my previous address a few times to collect mail but there were no relevant letters.

 

 

At the time it I lived in a shared house, and it was not unheard of for some of the house mates to sometimes dispose of the letters if they were accumulating,

also since I no longer lived there it is possible that they just threw them away.

 

 

I will get in contact with them, but having read some of these other threads,

I can't see them being very helpful or sympathetic.

 

 

Thank you for your reply!

 

Regarding finding out what Bylaw I was prosecuted under,

is that information they are required to give me?

 

 

I have just read that sometimes they are not very helpful when asked for certain information.

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Find out which Magistrates dealt with it and contact them to find out what you can do.

 

 

You may be able to make a declaration to say that you have never received any paperwork from Southern Rail or the courts to know about this. They may be able to look at it again.

 

There must be a way to get this back to the start where Southern Rail charge you a penalty fare and you can pay it.

 

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/travel-leisure-and-food/transport/public-transport/if-you-are-taken-to-court-for-avoiding-paying-a-fare/if-you-re-taken-to-court-for-avoiding-paying-a-fare/

 

It would appear that you can appeal to the Magistrates that dealt with it.


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Thanks for your reply.

 

 

Sorry if this sounds really stupid, but how would I find out which Magistrates dealt with it?

 

Also I don't know if this makes a difference or not, but they spelt both my first name and surname wrong.

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Thanks for your reply. Sorry if this sounds really stupid, but how would I find out which Magistrates dealt with it?

 

From Marstons. Just don't let them in (at this stage!) even if they say "let us in & we can show you" or "we need to use your phone to call the office to find out"!

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Today I received a letter from MARSTON HIGH COURT asking for £650?! I have not seen any prior letters, this is the first one.

 

It also says that if I don't pay within 14 days they are going to send bayliffs over.

 

I am pleased to see your question as I was just drafting a new thread about the dreadful misleading advice that is being given on internet sites regarding the effects of a Statutory Declaration ( the thread will be going ahead later).

 

The letter that you have received from Marston Group is a standard Notice of Enforcement that provides you with a '14 day' window in which to outline a payment proposal. This period is referred to as the Compliance stage and bailiff fees of £75 can be charged.

 

You have grounds to file a Statutory Declaration. I will explain why it could be the right thing to do in your particular case later this afternoon.

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The letter is dated 26th of June. Any advice you could give me would be really helpful, please do get back to me regarding Statutory Declaration.

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Thanks for your reply. Sorry if this sounds really stupid, but how would I find out which Magistrates dealt with it?

 

On the Notice of Enforcement it should state something like HMCTS Colchester, HMCTS Manchester etc, etc.

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You have grounds to file a Statutory Declaration. I will explain why it could be the right thing to do in your particular case later this afternoon.

 

In order for the Magistrates to issue a summons, the relevant rail authority have a period of six months to 'lay information in court'. This period runs from the date of the alledged offence. In simple terms this means that the rail authority advise the court that they have evidence to charge the accused (called the defendant) with an offence.

 

After the 'information is laid' the court will issue a summons. Included with the summons will be the following:

 

Statement of Facts: This will be a short summary of the 'information' that the rail company 'laid' before the court

 

Plea Form: This important document is the one that requires the defendant to either plead guilty or not guilty.

 

Statement of Means: Another vitally important form that the defendant should complete outlining details of the income and outgoings. This information on this form will be considered when setting the level of fine and repayment terms.

 

If the above forms are not returned to the court before the hearing date, then the Magistrate must proceed with setting a fine in your absense and must assume that the defendant has a weekly income of £400 (as opposed to those in receipt of benefits where the weekly income is assumed to be £110).

 

Accordingly, if the forms are not returned to the court, the level of fine could very likely be set too high. Furthermore, if a 'guilty' plea is entered, , the court will give 'credit' (normally a reduction of one third) against the level of fine. This will not be given if the Plea Form is not returned.

 

If a Statutory Declaration is considered, this needs to be submitted to the court within 21 days of 'becoming aware' of the proceedings. In your case....that time period starts from when you received the Notice of Enforcement from Marston Group.

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In almost all cases the court prefer that applications for Statutory Declarations are made in person and there are important reasons for this:

 

Firstly, the effect of the Statutory Declaration is to treat the summons and all the subsequent proceedings as void. The proceedings will include the hearing to set the level of fine..... and the issuing of the warrant.

 

The Statutory Declaration will not affect the original 'information' laid in court by the rail company. That is not affected by the Statutory Declaration in any way.

 

Magistrate Courts are now addressing Statutory Declaration completely different from in the past. Firstly, the regulations now provide that if a Statutory Declaration has been agreed, a new trial must proceed as quickly as possible.

 

Secondly, (and this is a most important point)....if you are in court when the statutory declaration is heard, the applicable regulations provide that the Magistrates should hear the case again at the same hearing. Sometimes this may not be possible depending on whether the court file is available.

 

The court will ask you to complete a Means Enquiry Form. They will then give you a copy of the 'information' laid in court by the rail company. They may adjourn the case for an hour or so for you to consider the 'information'. The Magistrate will then ask you how you wish to plead. If you plead guilty, a new fine will be set taking your income into consideration.

 

The fine will also be reduced by one third (for a guilty plea). You are also given an opportunity to offer any mitigating points.

 

If you enter a plea of 'not guilty' then the court must proceed to set a date for a trial and this date should be as soon a possible (normally just a couple of weeks).

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Well since you had moved from your old address did you receive the further steps notice? This would have warned you that your fine was overdue... Then I would ask have you notified the Court that you had changed address since receiving the fine? If no to these questions then why have Marston enforced at a different address?

 

 

Have you seen or have any paperwork the EA has left you? This would contain your unique reference number for your fine! If so then ask or find out which Court dealt with your case and ask them for what address the warrant was issued to....

 

 

Further to advice earlier re: SD you will now need to phone the Court service to arrange a hearing for this, you cannot now simply turn up to have it heard...

 

 

If you can answer these questions above it may shed some more light on this..


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Further to advice earlier re: SD you will now need to phone the Court service to arrange a hearing for this, you cannot now simply turn up to have it heard...

 

 

The reason for this is because the new procedures provide that wherever possible, the case should be re-heard at the same time as the statutory declaration and by making an appointment, it provides the court with the necessary time in which to obtain the case records and original complaint etc.

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The reason for this is because the new procedures provide that wherever possible, the case should be re-heard at the same time as the statutory declaration and by making an appointment, it provides the court with the necessary time in which to obtain the case records and original complaint etc.

 

This makes it even more important for the OP to find out what legislation they were summonsed under.

 

If Bylaw 17 or 18 - this is a strict liability offence, and they have little prospect of a successful defence from the facts stated.

If the case is reheard immediately they would likely need to get the TOC to agree the case being withdrawn in advance (if their aim is to avoid a conviction rather than aiming for a conviction but with a reduced fine)

[The fine being reduced as a result of a guilty plea and submission of a means form].

 

If S5, RRA 1889 : there is more likelihood of a successful defence following a plea of "not guilty".

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The revised procedure - immediate retrial - is somewhat disconcerting to say the least.

A Litigant In Person (LIP) has no chance of seeking and obtaining advice in an hour. I would argue that the LIP does not understand the paperwork - and frankly they won't - and needs time. For the same reasons an informed plea is impossible. And where is the witness for the re-trial ?

Interestingly, to me at least, the British Transport Police (BTP) are paid for by the Train Operators. I know of cases being dropped after fifteen minutes or so of astute questioning of the BTP witness - the case suddenly being transformed to one of 'not being in the public interest' after the CPS request an adjournment and make a phone call.

Of course we do not know if the BTP are involved in this case. And neither will the OP until the declaration/ 're-trial'.

Which brings me back to my point about the LIP. Sufficient illustration I believe.

For the avoidance of doubt I am neither suggesting nor implying that a solicitor should be taken along on the day.

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The revised procedure - immediate retrial - is somewhat disconcerting to say the least.

A Litigant In Person (LIP) has no chance of seeking and obtaining advice in an hour. I would argue that the LIP does not understand the paperwork - and frankly they won't - and needs time. For the same reasons an informed plea is impossible. And where is the witness for the re-trial ?

 

 

The courts are aware that many people are being encouraged to file a Statutory Declaration for the wrong reasons and unfortunately, any changes that the court make are as a result of the nonsense that is being written on the internet.

 

For example, a statutory declaration may only be made in cases where the individual had not received the summons and had been unaware of the PROCEEDINGS (ie: the decision to impose a fine and issue a warrant). Unfortunately, internet sits (in particular those associated with Facebook) are routinely encouraging debtors to file Statutory Declarations on the basis that the debtor has supposedly not been 'means tested' (whatever that may mean) or where the debtor had claimed not to have received a Further Steps Notice. In neither of these examples can a statutory declaration be made.

 

Even more worrying is the dreadful advice given to debtors that a Statutory Declaration somehow wipes out the original complaint (from DVLA or TV Licensing for example).

 

The new procedures are actually working very well indeed and is seen t be saving court time and most importantly for the government...is ensuring that payments for criminal offences is being made instead of being delayed because of the need to re list the case.

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The revised procedure - immediate retrial - is somewhat disconcerting to say the least.

A Litigant In Person (LIP) has no chance of seeking and obtaining advice in an hour. I would argue that the LIP does not understand the paperwork - and frankly they won't - and needs time.

 

A point that I should have made is that with bailiff enforcement, the vast majority of statutory declarations concern either a fine for using a TV without a licence or for motoring convictions such as speeding or using a mobile while driving etc.

 

At the Statutory Declaration hearing the defendant will be given copies of the original complaint (from TV licensing etc) and will be given an opportunity to put their side of the events forward. The court will have in their papers a copy of the the TV Licence Prosecution Statement signed by the defendant confirming that they had been viewing a TV without the relevant licence and naturally the defendant would then enter a plea of guilty.

 

In motoring cases there may well be instances where a not guilty please should be entered and what happens is that the court will then list the case for trial. The new procedure expressly provides that the new hearing should be as soon as possible.

 

One very important point that should be made is that in the past few weeks, all magistrate courts have been making clear to defendants that if they enter a not guilty plea (at the statutory declaration hearing) and are then found guilty at a new trial.......that (depending on the date of the original conviction) they will also be liable for paying a Criminal Courts Charge of £520. This is in addition to the amount of the fine, prosecution costs and victims surcharge.

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The letter is dated 26th of June. Any advice you could give me would be really helpful, please do get back to me regarding Statutory Declaration.

 

In addition to the above, this may be useful for the layout:

 

http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=3&ved=0CC8QFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.justice.gov.uk%2Fcourts%2Fprocedure-rules%2Fcriminal%2Fdocs%2F2014%2Fcrim-pr-form-part37-statutory-declaration-revised-feb-2014.doc&ei=mdyXVcuANMn1Uo2LgdgD&usg=AFQjCNHStKcGRU60UZ7VYFPi1SDw1_esow&sig2=vmfqL6RQjNIzTxQAfxrKbA&bvm=bv.96952980,d.ZGU

 

Unfortunately, internet sits (in particular those associated with Facebook) are routinely encouraging debtors to file Statutory Declarations on the basis that the debtor has supposedly not been 'means tested' (whatever that may mean) or where the debtor had claimed not to have received a Further Steps Notice. In neither of these examples can a statutory declaration be made.

 

 

I trust you're saying not having been means tested is not a valid reason for completing a stat dec?

 

I think this needs further clarification. If a defendant has not completed a Statement of Means, it could mean they have not received the summons. In this case a stat dec is perfectly valid.

 

The Means Enquiry Form is often completed in court after a stat dec has been accepted. Thus, not having completed a Means Enquiry Form is irrelevant to making a stat dec. There is a little ambiguity in the phrase, "has not been means tested."

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You can tell that the CC Charge has been brought in against the wishes of a huge chunk, perhaps even a majority of the Judiciary, by the fact that unlike a Fine, Magistrates/Judges have absolutely no leeway to reduce or waive the Charge. They knew full well many would waive or hugely reduce it for vulnerable defendants who will struggle to pay a fine, never mind the CCC.

 

It is possibly the most unjust law enacted in decades, it has no function except to act as a massive hammer to frighten and intimidate people into pleading guilty, even if innocent, but evidence availability makes a not guilty finding less than certain. Combined with the huge reductions to legal aid, and a modern Police culture that sees Constables openly lying and perjuring the Court daily, it feels more like North Korea than the UK.

 

It really does seem that the best course of action if you know your likely to be getting a fine in court soon, is to sell your levyable goods to a friend and have them stat dec it, so at least if there are struggles with getting a Magistrate to agree an affordable payment structure, or a payment is missed, Enforcement Agents wont be able to harm you. People need to be advised that if doing that, to continue making payments to the Court, even if less than agreed to avoid the possibility of a Custodial Sentence for non payment - Bailiff Proofing your home and making no payments is a sure fire way to Prison I would imagine, but bailiff proofing and making payments, make it far less likely, Judges and Magistrates are under pressure to deal harshly with non/wont pays, and making payments should help.


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You are absolutely correct and in fact, this is a subject that I have a great deal of experience with and one that I was considered starting a new thread about.

 

The amount of queries that I receive daily where debtors open the conversation (or the email) with the phrase "I was not means tested". Clearly this 'terminology' has come from the interest. There is actually no mention at all of 'means testing' in the regulations. Given the huge of misunderstanding on this matter I will try to get a new thread started this weekend.

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I agree wholeheartedly that the Stat Dec should not be abused.

And in the instance of the case in this thread it seems that a Stat Dec is validly called for.

 

As for the new multi £100s "criminal charges" I dare not vent my spleen in public.

I will for now merely say that the name says it all - they ARE criminal charges.

But let us focus on this case.

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