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I had a visit today from an Enforcement Officer from Marston's about my son's unpaid court fines/debt (£820 inc costs for 2 motoring offences).

 

I told him my son has no income or any assets - but I know he's not going to take my word for that - and at first he said it would be easier just to let him into the house as he only needed to look in my son's bedroom to confirm that, otherwise he would have to come back with a locksmith and force entry.

 

For the record, I didn't believe he would be satisfied with ONLY going into that 1 bedroom.

 

He showed me a court document (well it looked more like a hand-filled form) that he claimed gave him his authority - I didn't take note of what the form was, ooops!

 

I told him I was going to video him on my phone and then asked him if the document he had gave him the legal right to enter as he had previously inferred.

 

At that stage he changed his tune and and apologised if that's how I'd understood things, he then told me he'd have to go back to court to get that authority - amazing what being recorded does to their attitude as well!

 

Anyway, later in the day I got my son to call him (on speakerphone) and after he told him the same thing regarding lack of assets and income, my son said to him "what do you want to do then" unfortunately he heard this as "do what you want then" which must have upset him a bit because he became extremely aggressive and very loud on the phone, saying he was going to "come into your house when you're not there and take your stuff".

 

The problem is my son genuinely doesn't have anything for him to take except for clothing. We do though, we have a whole houseful of stuff that he could 'claim' and a number of vehicles as well.

 

Because it's an unpaid court fine I understand that he can get authorisation to force an entry (if a judge agrees with him), and because he got so upset with what he thought my so had said to him, I get the feeling he will try his hardest to make it happen.

 

I also get the feeling he will try to make things as difficult as he can for me - I say me because it is me that will have to deal with him as my son is rarely here (also I wouldn't want my son here because he doesn't stay as calm as I do in heated situations - and I don't want him getting in anymore trouble).

 

This guy was seriously annoyed!

 

So I need some guidance if possible....

 

If he does get access to our home, can he 'target' the whole house to look for things to seize or does he have to stay within my son's bedroom? I suspect the former..

 

He 'warned' me to get together receipts for any item that he might suspect belong to my son or he will take them away. Like most people I don't have receipts for everything so how do I prove any goods are mine?

 

I have the log books for any vehicles but I don't believe they accept them as proof of ownership - is a receipt from a garage acceptable?

 

Also, my son's girlfriend parks her car in our driveway sometimes, can they seize her car until we prove it is hers?

 

One final thing - we have a motorbike that my son uses sometimes. It belongs to me but the V5 document is in his name because we were told it needed to be for him to insure it. I have an invoice for the bike from Honda (in my name), would this bike be in any danger of seizure?

 

Thank you in advance for any help/guidance you can provide.

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If you could respond to the following queries that would greatly assist.

 

How old is your son?

 

You say that he has no income. I assume that he is claiming benefits or some sort. Is this correct?

 

Did he receive the summons for these court fines? Did he respond to the summons?

 

Has he made any payments to the court?

 

Before getting to the late stage of a personal visit, your son should have received a Notice of Enforcement from Marston's. Did he contact the company on receipt of this notice to make a payment proposal?

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Many thanks for your reply, I'll answer the questions as best I can....

 

How old is your son? - He's 25

 

You say that he has no income. I assume that he is claiming benefits or some sort. Is this correct? - No he is not on benefits - he has just started his own business but isn't making enough money to take a wage yet.

 

Did he receive the summons for these court fines? Did he respond to the summons? - Not sure if I understand what summons you mean (apologies I'm not up with all the ins and outs of the court system). He did attending court for both these motoring offences and explained his situation to the magistrate but they told him they had to set a minimum weekly or monthly payment arrangement even though he has no income.

 

Has he made any payments to the court? - Not sure, but I don't think so

 

Before getting to the late stage of a personal visit, your son should have received a Notice of Enforcement from Marston's. Did he contact the company on receipt of this notice to make a payment proposal? - Don't know if he received the Notice of Enforcement, but I do know he didn't offer any payment proposal to Marston's.

 

Personally I believe if you do the crime you do the time so I don't condone non-payments like this. However, I've been put in the situation where Marston's are threatening my possessions which is why I asked my questions above.

 

It might sound a bit harsh, but right now I'm trying to find out more about how this effects me. I know that might sound a little selfish (it isn't meant to be), but he is old enough and ugly enough to deal with the fallout from the mess he has created.

 

My priority is to find out more about the potential problems (and any ways to mitigate them) this could cause the rest of my family through no fault of our own....

Edited by _Ray_

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This is your son's debt, NOT yours, so YOUR property shouldn't be touched.

 

Keeping them outside of YOUR home stops them from forcing entry in the future.

 

IMO, if YS can't afford what the court has ordered him to pay, then he needs to go back to court and say so, with an income & expenditure sheet to show the judge,


Who ever heard of someone getting a job at the Jobcentre? The unemployed are sent there as penance for their sins, not to help them find work!

 

 

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Thanks for your reply Bazooka Boo...

 

I did keep him outside today despite his original assertion that he had the right to force entry and would use a locksmith to facilitate entry. I appreciate what you're saying about it being my property, but one of my questions was how do I prove something is mine if the enforcement officer says he suspects I don't own it?

 

I don't have receipts for stuff I bought several years ago, hell I don't have receipts for stuff I bought several months ago - do most people? I'd suspect not!

 

With regards to my son providing the court with an income/expenditure form, he did this when he first went to court but they still insisted he pay the minimum amount they were allowed to set it at - despite him having no income.

 

I'm not trying to make excuses for him, I firmly believe he should pay what he owes, but the situation seems to have gone passed that now and the guy today made veiled threats about how difficult it would be for the rest of us when we had to prove that goods in the house don't belong to my son.

 

That's why I'm trying to clarify the following points I asked in my original post:

 

1. He 'warned' me to get together receipts for any item that he might suspect belong to my son or he will take them away. Like most people I don't have receipts for everything so how do I prove any goods are mine?

 

2. I have the log books for any vehicles but I don't believe they accept them as proof of ownership - is a receipt from a garage acceptable?

 

3. Also, my son's girlfriend parks her car in our driveway sometimes, can they seize her car until we prove it is hers?

 

4. One final thing - we have a motorbike that my son uses sometimes. It belongs to me but the V5 document is in his name because we were told it needed to in his name for him to insure it. I have an invoice for the bike from Honda (in my name), would this bike be in any danger of seizure?

 

Thanks again for your input...

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Go to your local magistrates Court, or Commissioner for Oaths/Solicitor, and swear a Statutory Declaration that all goods in and on your property are yours, and there is nothing belonging to the Named Debtor on the premises as he has been non resident for X years. have 3 or 4 Notarised copies made, and hand one to the EA, and send one to the court and Marstons office, and keep one back in case,


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Go to your local magistrates Court, or Commissioner for Oaths/Solicitor, and swear a Statutory Declaration that all goods in and on your property are yours, and there is nothing belonging to the Named Debtor on the premises as he has been non resident for X years. have 3 or 4 Notarised copies made, and hand one to the EA, and send one to the court and Marstons office, and keep one back in case,

 

I think the son does live at home though, he just does not have anything of value apart from the clothes in his bedroom.

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I think the son does live at home though, he just does not have anything of value apart from the clothes in his bedroom.

Oops thought son was non resident In which case the stat dec should state excepting personal possessions in the son's bedroom.


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Go to your local magistrates Court, or Commissioner for Oaths/Solicitor, and swear a Statutory Declaration that all goods in and on your property are yours, and there is nothing belonging to the Named Debtor on the premises as he has been non resident for X years. have 3 or 4 Notarised copies made, and hand one to the EA, and send one to the court and Marstons office, and keep one back in case,

 

Thank you for this, it's exactly the kind of news I was hoping to hear :-)

 

I've found a free Statutory Declaration form online that I'm hoping will do the trick, maybe someone would be kind enough to take a look at it and let me know if it would do?

 

STATUTORY DECLARATION

To: (the bailiffs) (their address)

 

I (your name)

 

of (your address)

Do solemnly and sincerely declare that:

 

the items listed (list them)

are not the property of (your friends name) and (reason why they were there) and have always been my sole property

And I make this solemn declaration conscientiously believing the same to be true and by virtue of the provisions of the Statutory Declarations Act 1835 and Section 5 of The Perjury Act 1911.

 

Signature:

Declared at

 

On the day of two thousand and

 

Before me

A Commissioner for Oaths, or Notary Public/Justice of the Peace/Solicitor having the powers conferred on a Commissioner for Oaths

Do I do this now, before they take any further action, or wait until after they seize any goods and then get the declaration notified? If it's afterwards, do I just send it to Marston's or would I still need to send it to the court?

 

I've just read somewhere that it wouldn't stop any further action unless I get it accepted by the court beforehand, but as this isn't my case, I was wondering if that would even be possible?

 

I've just realised I don't know which court is dealing with the case - if I'm going to submit this statement I assume it's the original court who handed out the original fines (I can find out from my son though).

 

Would it be a good idea to call the guy from Marston's and ask him which court it is and tell him why? That way it would alert him to what I'm doing and maybe it would put him off even bothering with the forced entry - just a thought, I won't do this until someone who knows tells me it's either a good or bad idea...

 

Anyway, you've really put my mind at ease so thank you again.

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Thank you for this, it's exactly the kind of news I was hoping to hear :-)

 

I've found a free Statutory Declaration form online that I'm hoping will do the trick, maybe someone would be kind enough to take a look at it and let me know if it would do?

 

Do I do this now, before they take any further action, or wait until after they seize any goods and then get the declaration notified? If it's afterwards, do I just send it to Marston's or would I still need to send it to the court?

 

I've just read somewhere that it wouldn't stop any further action unless I get it accepted by the court beforehand, but as this isn't my case, I was wondering if that would even be possible?

 

I've just realised I don't know which court is dealing with the case - if I'm going to submit this statement I assume it's the original court who handed out the original fines (I can find out from my son though).

 

Would it be a good idea to call the guy from Marston's and ask him which court it is and tell him why? That way it would alert him to what I'm doing and maybe it would put him off even bothering with the forced entry - just a thought, I won't do this until someone who knows tells me it's either a good or bad idea...

 

Anyway, you've really put my mind at ease so thank you again.

 

You should get it done now. Copy to Marstons and copy to the relevant courts enforcement manager quoting the name of your Son with any reference numbers provided by Marstons.

 

It might not stop Marstons wanting to visit, but it may work. If they attend, at least you can evidence having done this and Marstons cannot say they have not been told.

 

They should not force entry knowing what has been advised to them in a statutory declaration.

 

If they turn up, don't open the door and give them another copy of the declaration through the letterbox. You could call the Police, but they will take Marstons side, that they are enforcing a court warrant.


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Many thanks for your reply, I'll answer the questions as best I can....

 

How old is your son? - He's 25

 

You say that he has no income. I assume that he is claiming benefits or some sort. Is this correct? - No he is not on benefits - he has just started his own business but isn't making enough money to take a wage yet.

 

Did he receive the summons for these court fines? Did he respond to the summons? - Not sure if I understand what summons you mean (apologies I'm not up with all the ins and outs of the court system). He did attending court for both these motoring offences and explained his situation to the magistrate but they told him they had to set a minimum weekly or monthly payment arrangement even though he has no income.

 

Has he made any payments to the court? - Not sure, but I don't think so

 

Thank you for providing the above information.

 

Your son attended court and completed a Means Enquiry and since that time, he has not paid any money at all towards the fines.

 

If he had told the court at the time that he would not be making any payments...then the court would normally commit him to prison. It is as simple as that. By law the minimum amount that the court can accept is £5 per week (£20 per month). I appreciate what you have said about your son not having any money but on the other hand, he has a girlfriend and the use of a motorbike and must have some money to go out on dates or even to buy fuel etc for the bike. The court would view his actions as wilfully refusing to pay.

 

Given that he is 25 years old a bailiff may well consider that he owns a very expensive TV and music equipment and given his 'refusal' to pay even the minimum payment towards both fines, the bailiff would have little difficulty in getting permission to force entry. In fact, the warrant itself permits forced entry in any event.

 

A Statutory Declaration may well work but a word of caution. Regrettably, statutory declarations are being received at enforcement agency offices by the bucketload (in fact one company offer to draft these documents for precisely the same reason as yours for a fee of £125). They are becoming so common at the moment.

 

Personally, I do not consider that it is your responsibility to prove that all items in the house belong to you. Whilst that may well have been the case before April 2014 (when the Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013 was introduced), it is not the case now. The regulations are clear.......an enforcement agent may only take goods belonging to the debtor and common sense alone would tell him that a 25 year old would not be the rightful owner of all of the goods within the property.

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BA - in fairness an EA is not going to just take the word of the OP - a properly notorised Stat Dec is at least something an EA should take seriously, in the absence of receipts for everything, and in fairness, many receipts could be anyones as they normally dont have a name on them, then SD is a way for the OP to protect their goods. Surely the fact that they are receiving loads does not give the EA companies the right to simply disregard them? People are happy to lie or be a little creative with the truth to an EA at the door, but very few would be prepared to lie on an SD and risk a potential custodial sentence for Perjury or whatever.

 

Let's be realistic, if the EA forced entry, he indeed will know that not everything will belong to the son, but as you say, if the OP has some decent technology in the living room, the EA may well "assume" it belongs to the son. How else is the OP to prove ownership, and equally how would the EA prove non ownership by the OP, but that the Son is the owner? Going without an SD could well see the bailiffs taking all the technology in the house, and leaving the OP their clothes. There is no alternative to an SD.

 

And people are paying £125 for an SD when a local solicitor will do it for £10???? WTF!!!!


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BA - in fairness an EA is not going to just take the word of the OP - a properly notorised Stat Dec is at least something an EA should take seriously, in the absence of receipts for everything, and in fairness, many receipts could be anyones as they normally dont have a name on them, then SD is a way for the OP to protect their goods. Surely the fact that they are receiving loads does not give the EA companies the right to simply disregard them? People are happy to lie or be a little creative with the truth to an EA at the door, but very few would be prepared to lie on an SD and risk a potential custodial sentence for Perjury or whatever.

 

You have raised a very important point indeed. My personal opinion (which appears to be incorrect) is that a local authority, court, or enforcement company should have no right to disregard a Statutory Declaration. But they do..and in vast numbers. Take for instance an Out of Time statutory declaration in relation to a penalty charge notice. The vehicle owner swears a stat dec (most unusually to state that he had not received a Notice to Owner) and the vast majority of them are REFUSED by the local authorities.

 

The same is happening with Magistrates Courts:

 

On Sunday I received an enquiry through my website from a lady who had been in court last Friday. A few weeks back she had received a letter from Marston Group about a TV Licence fine. She had been advised (not by me) to file a stat dec on the basis that she had not received a summons. She contacted the court and they made an appointment for her to attend a hearing on Friday. She found the experience very distressing indeed. She was questioned for almost 45 minutes. Questions were raised about the visit from the TV Licence Enquiry Agent and then turned to the Notice of Fine/Collection Order (this is the Notice sent by the court when the fine has been handed down (in her absence). They asked her why she had not contacted the court on receipt of that notice. She said that she could not remember receiving a copy. The Magistrates concluded that it was too 'far fetched' to not receive either the summons or the Notice of Fine and they refused her request to file a Statutory Declaration.

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I have seen many SD sworn at Court. The cost was zero. The Clerk of the Court questions the defendant.

 

The Clerk then reads out the declaration and asks the defendant if it is true, then gives a warning about Perjury and it's either accepted or rejected. Simples as that.

 

Then either the case is listed for a new hearing or dealt with immediately. If the later a MC100 form will need to be filled out and handed in to the Usher to hand to the Clerk.

 

A property SD. You can download a template version. Or use the one listed on CAG somewhere get it signed off by a Solicitor cost about a tenner as stated.

 

An EA worth their salt would accept this. Failing that just give it to the Court dealing with the fine....

 

As already stated the regs provide information that an EA has to or should abide by the guidelines and not take goods belonging to a 3rd party, hence the SD....


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Are SD's where a 3rd party caught in the awkward situation of either cohabiting with someone who has received a fine, or once lived at the address but no longer, is stating that goods are theirs being turned down though?

 

I don't see how a Court could possibly overturn an Inventory of Goods owned by innocent 3rd party SD, unless they have security camera footage from the shop at the exact time of purchase, showing who actually bought X goods.

 

BA, sounds like your TVL Fine Lady had the misfortune of running into another of those evil old anachronistic ****** magistrates with absolutely no concept or idea what the real world is like. It is perfectly possible for multiple letters to go missing - for a start they might not have even been posted, I bet they don't keep a database where they sign or tick to say for every single recipient one at a time, that the letter has been physically transferred to the Post Office.

 

Still these days, the Courts appear to have little regard for awkward things like "the Law", "Civil Rights enshrined in Law" and so on. The places supposed to protect those things are doing the worst damage to them.


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The Third party is not a defendant, so couldn't appear at the Magistrates ex parte the debtor, but a properly sworn and notarised SD should be accepted, especially if non residence of debtor, or their status as child at home or lodger is obvious to the EA, meaning that all that is available to them to Take into Control is in the debtors own room. It is dangerous to assume the 55" Smart TV with home theatre in the lounge is the debtor's if they are a child or lodger. One day an EA will get a tolchock from a judge if such a case went to interpleader.

 

As it stands OP is better off swearing the SD with an inventory than without it, as it is a legal document and an EA ignores it at their peril.


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On a side note if the person has an address similar to another in their locality it is very plausible to have mail go missing.

 

Even I have had mail go to 3 different address due to the postman not reading the address correctly... so its easily done


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On a side note if the person has an address similar to another in their locality it is very plausible to have mail go missing.

 

Even I have had mail go to 3 different address due to the postman not reading the address correctly... so its easily done

Common occurence where I live MM, a few years ago I regularly came home from work to find a giro for same number different street, then having to go and take it to them so they could cash it before the Post Office closed.


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