High Court Enforcement

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superted81

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Hi,

I wonder if you guys could give me some advice. I've just had a High Court Enforcement agent at the door trying to get £822 for a writ from HM Courts. This seemingly relates to a case that was heard in November about non payment of a Manchester Metrolink fine.

I have told him I'm not paying because I didn't commit the offence and this is the first I've heard of it. - He has agreed to suspend it for 7 days while they get more information.

I have been caught once on Metrolink without a valid ticket (I had a season ticket, and being stupid o'clock in the morning I forgot it - but I did explain this to the guy, and I sent them a copy of my season ticket, and they said they would write off the fine.

To be fair the high court guy was alright, he phoned the office and they gave a previous address - which I have never lived at. I know where the address is, but never lived there, and don't know who does.

Whats going to happen, I don't want to pay the £822 and then have to fight to get it back to prove it isnt against me, but likewise - I don't want this bailiff back at the door taking my stuff.
 
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najaB

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Whats going to happen, I don't want to pay the £822 and then have to fight to get it back to prove it isnt against me, but likewise - I don't want this bailiff back at the door taking my stuff.
First things first, if you didn't commit the offence then you don't have to pay the outstanding fine and costs.

You need to get in contact with the court that passed judgement against you and file a statutory declaration to the effect that you had no knowledge of the proceedings - this will set aside the verdict and start the process again.

You also need to contact Metrolink and let them know that you aren't the person who committed the offence and engage with them to have the case dropped. You might benefit if you can provide evidence that shows that you weren't at the place and time that they say you were.
 

Puffing Devil

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Something here isn't quite right..... Normally a bailiff would be enforcing a Magistrates Court matter. It's quite something for it to end up in the High Court without you hearing anything about it, unless it was a bailiff claiming to be acting for the High Court, which is a bit naughty.

What documentation have you got from the bailiff/High Court Enforcement officer?

Can you post a redacted version here, or the salient details: Date of hearing, court, charges (offence), penalty imposed?

As najaB says, the priority now is to raise a Statutory Declaration with the convicting court, then try to unravel the problem from there.
 

ainsworth74

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I would broadly agree with the above but just wish to make sure you're fully aware that knowingly and willfully making a false statement in a Satutory Declaration would be considered perjury which can carry some fairly hefty penalties.
 

superted81

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First things first, if you didn't commit the offence then you don't have to pay the outstanding fine and costs.

You need to get in contact with the court that passed judgement against you and file a statutory declaration to the effect that you had no knowledge of the proceedings - this will set aside the verdict and start the process again.

You also need to contact Metrolink and let them know that you aren't the person who committed the offence and engage with them to have the case dropped. You might benefit if you can provide evidence that shows that you weren't at the place and time that they say you were.



Thanks - I've just tried to speak to the court, but they have told me its nothing to do with them now its with the bailiffs. The bailiffs were going to get details and get in touch with me in the next 7 days.

I suppose I just need to wait and see. But It wasn't me. I have proof I've never lived at that address.

How can people get away with giving fake details. Do they not check these things out before taking it to court,
 

Puffing Devil

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Thanks - I've just tried to speak to the court, but they have told me its nothing to do with them now its with the bailiffs. The bailiffs were going to get details and get in touch with me in the next 7 days.

I suppose I just need to wait and see. But It wasn't me. I have proof I've never lived at that address.

How can people get away with giving fake details. Do they not check these things out before taking it to court,

You need to press both the court and the bailiffs for court case details that lead to this debt. The court may not want to help, but they should give you the details of the hearing and the penalty imposed.
 

superted81

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Something here isn't quite right..... Normally a bailiff would be enforcing a Magistrates Court matter. It's quite something for it to end up in the High Court without you hearing anything about it, unless it was a bailiff claiming to be acting for the High Court, which is a bit naughty.

What documentation have you got from the bailiff/High Court Enforcement officer?

Can you post a redacted version here, or the salient details: Date of hearing, court, charges (offence), penalty imposed?

As najaB says, the priority now is to raise a Statutory Declaration with the convicting court, then try to unravel the problem from there.


I suppose the only proof I have is a letter from Marstons that they have given me, I'm at work, I'll post the wording of it later. But the header did say Martsons High Court Enforcement agents.

I have spoken to Greater Manchester Court just now, and they've informed me it isn't a high court matter. They tried to get payment and have just passed it to a bailiff, so it sounds like the court have sold the debt on.

I've also just spoke to Marstons High Court Enforcement Team, who have no record of this on their system, but their normal bailiffs do.

At least I know now its not as serious as I thought.
Marstons just appear to have High Court Enforcement agents written all over their documents
 

Tetchytyke

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Marstons enforce Magistrates Court fines in the north west, but one of their trading styles is through their High Court Enforcement Officer business. They are contracted by HM Courts and Tribunals to collect unpaid criminal fines; no "debt" has been "sold on" to anyone. And unpaid Magistrates Court fines can end up being quite messy. It is as serious as you initially thought.

if you are adamant you did not commit this offence then you would need to get the conviction set aside; ask the court how you would do this. The court should be able to confirm to you the nature of the conviction before you do this. If it turns out that it stems from when you forgot your season ticket, then getting the matter set aside might not be worth your while.
 

tony_mac

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If it turns out that it stems from when you forgot your season ticket, then getting the matter set aside might not be worth your while.

In these cases, it probably still would be - this would normally involve a new hearing, which would at least give a 33% discount on a guilty plea, and the exorbitant bailiff charges will be removed.

But, this needs sorting out asap. The bailiffs may well be back very soon if action doesn't get suspended.

(At this point, whether you are guilty or not is largely irrelevant. Ignore people who say you don't need to pay if you think that you are not guilty, that isn't how the system works.)

I would also recommend posting on the forums at pepipoo.com for this. They normally deal with parking / traffic offences, but the people there are far more familiar with dealing with courts & bailiffs etc. than most on here.
 
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Fare-Cop

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I would also recommend posting on the forums at pepipoo.com for this. They normally deal with parking / traffic offences, but the people there are far more familiar with dealing with courts & bailiffs etc. than most on here.

Whilst that may be broadly correct in respect of parking matters, there are a number of individuals posting on this forum who have considerable experience of Magistrates Courts, the processes and enforcement etc and in particular, offences leading to railways prosecutions and their penalties

The OP' first post indicated that he knows nothing of this prosecution.

Having now ascertained the Court register for the particular case and spoke to the Magistrates Court about it, the first thing to do is to follow NajaB's advice and go to the Court and make a Statutory Declaration.

Provided that this is truthful, and we have no reason to doubt that it isn't at this point, then the procedure is set back to the start of the prosecution and the OP has opportunity to refute the allegation on the basis of 'victim of impostor'

The TOC then have to decide whether they have a strong enough case for identity of the traveller before proceeding again.
 

Tetchytyke

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In these cases, it probably still would be - this would normally involve a new hearing, which would at least give a 33% discount on a guilty plea, and the exorbitant bailiff charges will be removed.

If it stems from the season ticket, he'd have a job explaining why he didn't receive court correspondence at the address he gave them.

However it sounds like it doesn't stem from then.

But, this needs sorting out asap. The bailiffs may well be back very soon if action doesn't get suspended.

Agreed.

And unpaid mags fines are far more messy than a civil debt.
 
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tony_mac

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there are a number of individuals posting on this forum who have considerable experience of Magistrates Courts, the processes and enforcement etc and in particular, offences leading to railways prosecutions and their penalties
I meant no offence, but I think that the ratio of knowledgeable replies to complete guesses tends to be somewhat higher over here. At this stage, the type of case isn't particularly relevant.

If it stems from the season ticket, he'd have a job explaining why he didn't receive court correspondence at the address he gave them.
He wouldn't need to explain it (if it is done within the time limit)

The TOC then have to decide whether they have a strong enough case for identity of the traveller before proceeding again.

It has become a common procedure in some courts to immediately re-open the case and ask for a plea after a Statutory Declaration.
It wouldn't really matter in this case, but it's probably better to know that might happen.
 

superted81

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If it stems from the season ticket, he'd have a job explaining why he didn't receive court correspondence at the address he gave them.

However it sounds like it doesn't stem from then.



Agreed.

And unpaid mags fines are far more messy than a civil debt.

I managed to speak to the court and they gave me the date of the offence. Its not the time I forgot my season ticket, this is from a date in August last year. If I was stopped by them I would always give my correct address. So I have no idea who has given an address in Altrincham, I've never lived there.

I'm going to the court this week and see if I can do the statutory declaration.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Just an update, Manchester Courts have said that they will only deal with Marstons about this case, and I must go through them.

The offence happened on 07 August at Dane Road Metrolink.

I've never had need to go out that far on the metrolink on that line. Furthest I go on the Alty line is Stretford.

They've asked me for proof I wasn't in the country (I'm getting my employer o send them a letter) and they've put it on hold for 7 days.
 

najaB

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Just an update, Manchester Courts have said that they will only deal with Marstons about this case, and I must go through them.
That's a bit odd, as Marstons can cancel the collection order but won't be able to get the guilty verdict set aside.
 

Puffing Devil

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I managed to speak to the court and they gave me the date of the offence. Its not the time I forgot my season ticket, this is from a date in August last year. If I was stopped by them I would always give my correct address. So I have no idea who has given an address in Altrincham, I've never lived there.

I'm going to the court this week and see if I can do the statutory declaration.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Just an update, Manchester Courts have said that they will only deal with Marstons about this case, and I must go through them.

The offence happened on 07 August at Dane Road Metrolink.

I've never had need to go out that far on the metrolink on that line. Furthest I go on the Alty line is Stretford.

They've asked me for proof I wasn't in the country (I'm getting my employer o send them a letter) and they've put it on hold for 7 days.

I suspect that you're speaking to the Fines Enforcement Officers and the message isn't getting through that you need to make a Statutory Declaration that you knew nothing about the matter until the bailiff visit.

This isn't something that Marstons can help you with.

Your either:

1) Need to visit the court and ask to swear the declaration there and then, or fix another time to go and swear the declaration

or

2) Find a local solicitor and make the declaration in their presence. This should cost less than £10, and has a couple of advantages: You can do this at a time more convenient to you and the court may wish to reopen your case immediately, perhaps something you would wish to avoid without some preparation as it will put you on the spot.

Once you have the sworn declaration you need to send it to the court. Do this by recorded delivery and keep a copy (the solicitor should give you a certified copy if you ask). Send another copy of the declaration to bailiffs and ask them to suspend execution of the warrant as you have made the declaration.

Edited to add:

You only have 21 days from the date you found out about the fine to make the declaration and get it to the court. This would when be the bailiff knocked on your door. Do not hang about - get it done next Monday.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
That's a bit odd, as Marstons can cancel the collection order but won't be able to get the guilty verdict set aside.

Only the court can cancel the order. The bailiffs can return it to the court if they are unable to collect.
 
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DaveNewcastle

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I suspect that you're speaking to the Fines Enforcement Officers and the message isn't getting through that you need to make a Statutory Declaration that you knew nothing about the matter until the bailiff visit. . . .
That was also my interpretation of the report you posted after visiting the Court today.

You should specifically state to the Clerk that you are there to make a Statutory Declaration, (or, as Puffing Devil suggests, instruct a solicitor to assist you).

It has become a common procedure in some courts to immediately re-open the case and ask for a plea after a Statutory Declaration.
It wouldn't really matter in this case, but it's probably better to know that might happen.
Yes. And in most cases, this accelerated procedure will have no adverse consequences, but to those who a) might want to 'play the system' and set aside a prior conviction before deciding how to proceed, or b) those who are up against a time limit and have little choice in making an SD in haste and then having to take some time to gather evidence and to instruct professionals later, and c) those who are not clear about the accusation and prior judgement against them, then it may feel intimidating to be asked to make a decision of guilt without fully apprehending the background, the prcedures, the outcomes and the probabilities.

From what you have posted so far superted81, specifically your failed attempt to make an SD in the Courts today, I'll guess that you would benefit from professional assistance right now
 
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WCMLaddict

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Solicitors usually take small fee for making statutory declaration on behalf. Around £20-£30 mark.
Doing it that way also forces the court to revert the case to prosecution rather than reopening the case (it was mentioned before that courts like to do that nowadays) as they can't request you to enter the plea at the same time as making the declaration
 

Puffing Devil

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Solicitors usually take small fee for making statutory declaration on behalf. Around £20-£30 mark.
Doing it that way also forces the court to revert the case to prosecution rather than reopening the case (it was mentioned before that courts like to do that nowadays) as they can't request you to enter the plea at the same time as making the declaration

The prescribed fee is £5. Certified copies may be charged as "additional exhibits" at £2 each, or may be given gratis.

The form to be completed and signed in the presence of the Solicitor is here: https://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/p...37-statutory-declaration-revised-feb-2014.pdf

Though, as DaveNewcastle says, unless the OP is confident with going it alone, it may be useful to get some professional advice.
 
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