Pay for Out of Court Settlement ?

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pkreli

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Hi Everyone,

I was caught for travelling with a ticket not for entire journey on SouthEastern. Although there were various factors for the cause on that particular day, the fact is I was not travelling with a valid ticket - so on questioning under caution, I accepted that I had no intention to pay for the entire journey.

I received a letter, asking to reply with personal details and for my side of the events. I replied well within 7 days, with my details and apologising for the lapse of judgement, first ever incident and will never happen again and pleading for out of court settlement. I posted the letter with recorded delivery and tracking shows it was delivered the following day.

But now I received court summons letter and I am stressed, specially due to the criminal conviction.

I called the Prosecution Department' number given on the summons letter to once again request for out of court settlement, but the line is not working.

So I called SouthEastern's regular customer service number and explained that I've received court summon letter and would like out of court settlement if possible.

Customer service checked their system and said they couldn't find my case in their system but they gave me the website for Revenue Protection Support Services and asked me to check my record there.

On the website, I clicked "Out of Court Settlement" and entered my prosecution number and surname and there is the option to pay a fixed amount, which I am more than happy to pay to settle this matter.

I called back SE customer service and asked for advice - I told him that I can see my case on the RPSS website inside "Out of Court Settlement" option and whether I should pay for out of court settlement, considering that I have already received a court summons letter.

After checking on his side, he said they don't have access to the RPSS' system but since I had the option to pay for out of court settlement on the RPSS site, I could pay the amount and write another letter to the Prosecution Department with evidence of payment for out of court settlement and to request to drop the case and that they may or may not agree to the out of court settlement but if it did went to court, the fact that I made the out of court settlement should work in my favour in the court hearing.

Do you think this is a good idea ? I am concerned whether I should make the payment as I didn't receive an offer for out of court settlement. But then, why is there an option to pay for out of settlement if they intend to take me to court ?

Many thanks for advice.
 
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Watershed

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Do you think this is a good idea ? I am concerned whether I should make the payment as I didn't receive an offer for out of court settlement.
If you aren't getting anywhere in manually requesting a settlement, it's probably worth a shot. Let's put it this way - in the worst case scenario, they write back to you and say "we don't agree to settle this out of court - we're refunding you what you paid".

It can't really make the court outcome any worse (obviously they cannot keep the money if they don't drop the case).

In the best case scenario it might cause them to stop their prosecution, either automatically or manually upon speaking to them.

But then, why is there an option to pay for out of settlement if they intend to take me to court ?
The fact they have begun the prosecution process doesn't mean that a settlement is out of the question. There are strict time limits for them to begin the process - by setting in motion a prosecution they ensure that they don't lose that right.

It's not unheard of for settlements to occur near the day of trial, even in the waiting room at court!
 
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Fawkes Cat

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1,408
Welcome to the forum.

I don’t remember seeing something quite like this before: it seems that the system has got into something of a mess, so we can’t say anything with certainty.

Given that you’ve accepted that you are in the wrong, you will probably have to pay something to get out of this situation. And generally we would advise agreeing to an out of court settlement: it’s quicker and less stressful than going to court, and doesn’t run into the ‘criminal record’ problems that being convicted at court would. It’s often cheaper as well.

But on the basis of what you’ve said, in this case there’s no guarantee that settling out of court will make the prosecution go away - although it might. So my suggestion would be for you to do two things:

1) Think about how much the out of court figure is: is it an amount you can afford to pay as well as anything that the court might charge? If so, pay it: as has already been suggested by some part or another of the railway, if the matter does go to court then that will show that you were doing your best to settle. On top of that, if the whole thing turns out to be a muddle, then you will have resolved it sooner rather than later. At the worst, you will have wasted your money (which is why it is important to think about whether you can afford it).

2) Try again to get in touch with the railway prosecutors. It would be best if their phones were working so you could talk to them, but email would be good too. If you can’t, then I think you have an address to write to them - there’s always the address that you wrote to giving your side of the story. Tell them that you want to settle out of court: explain about the online option that you have found: if you have (as in (1) above) already paid, tell them that: make it clear that you are sorry for not having the right ticket and you will get the right ticket in future.

As I say, this sounds like the railway have got a bit muddled. So while you shouldn’t have to, do everything you can to help them sort things out. Hopefully they will realise what’s gone wrong and work with you to finish this without it becoming too stressful.


P.S. - one more thought which has just occurred to me: I know this sounds a bit rude, but just in case, have another look at the ’court summons letter’. I’m pretty sure that you’re right that it explains that this could end up in court - but does it also say anything about being able to come to an out of court settlement?. When you’re under stress it’s really easy to misunderstand things (I did the same a few months back in dealing with my late mother’s will: someone had to point out that I wasn’t her executor so it wasn’t for me to have to worry about probate) so it might be worth reading it again. If you post a picture of the letter here (removing anything that might identify you) then we can have a look and see if we can spot anything.
 
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island

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The only thing I can usefully add to the above replies is that if you are still summonsed to court and bring proof that you paid an out of court settlement on the day, you have a decent chance of the prosecutor or the magistrates/judge being convinced to dismiss the case.
 

Fare-Cop

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Screenshot the option to pay an out of court settlement confirming your case ID,

Print it off and send, with a letter to the Prosecution Department by recorded delivery, inviting them to withdraw their Summons and accept your payment as agreed on the RPSS online information

Make the agreed payment in full and very promptly

Write to the Legal Advisor at the Court with a copy of that letter and the printed screenshot along with a copy of said Summons and advise the Legal Advisor that you have evidence of the matter being resolved

Job done
 

clagmonster

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Write to the Legal Advisor at the Court with a copy of that letter and the printed screenshot along with a copy of said Summons and advise the Legal Advisor that you have evidence of the matter being resolved
Presumably you would also suggest sending proof of payment to the Court along with the summons and screenshot?
 

jumble

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Screenshot the option to pay an out of court settlement confirming your case ID,

Print it off and send, with a letter to the Prosecution Department by recorded delivery, inviting them to withdraw their Summons and accept your payment as agreed on the RPSS online information

Make the agreed payment in full and very promptly

Write to the Legal Advisor at the Court with a copy of that letter and the printed screenshot along with a copy of said Summons and advise the Legal Advisor that you have evidence of the matter being resolved

Job done

I would have thought that doing this might well encourage them to withdraw the offer saying it was a mistake and then the OP is stuffed
Can you advise why you think simply paying it has any downside.
I am with Island and believe there would be an abuse of process for a company to accept money as an out of court settlement and then not withdraw the summons, and I cannot believe any competent magistrate would convict and risk an appeal on the basis that the matter was previously settled
 

pkreli

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Location
London
Thank you all for your advice, much appreciated.

I have made the payment online on RPSS website and screenshot taken at each stage. The payment completed successfully with a confirmation message saying "the penalty fare has been has been fully paid and you can consider this matter closed".

I am now preparing the follow-up letter to send to the Prosecutions Department, along with the proof of payment.

Thanks Fawkes Cat for your suggestions, I re-read the court summons letter several times - nowhere does it say anything about being able to come to an out of court settlement.

However I have noticed that my date of birth is wrong on the summon even though I had given the correct DOB on my initial reply form and the Revenue Protection Officer who interviewed me had also checked my driving license to verify my identity.
 

Haywain

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I re-read the court summons letter several times - nowhere does it say anything about being able to come to an out of court settlement.
A court summons would not be expected to mention out-of-court settlements as they are not part of the legal process.
 

pkreli

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I have now made the OoC payment on the RPSS site.

I have sent a letter to the Prosecution Department with the request again to settle the case out of court and also included proof of payment of OoC settlement amount on RPSS website.

Should I send a letter to Revenue Protection Support Services as well ? (The addresses for Prosecution Department and for RPSS are different.)

I will perhaps wait a a few days to see if they respond to my payment and letter, before considering whether or not to send a letter to court as well.
 

pkreli

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So I did not receive any reply to my letter from the Prosecution Department but, over the phone, they told me their system shows the case settled and that I did not need to go to the court. I requested a letter confirming that the case has been settled out of court but they insisted it was not necessary.

As the court summon letter is staring at me and the hearing date is nearing, I couldn't assume the matter settled without any written confirmation. So I called the Court Clerk who said she couldn't find my case on the system but I should email the letters I received for confirmation.

So I emailed the summons letters (and all documents that came with it, witness statement etc) as exactly as I had received it and also mentioned on the email that I have already paid out of court settlement and attached evidence of it.

Now I have received a very confusing reply from the Court :

"Your case has now been entered onto the court system. Your email and attachments have been attached to the file for the hearing on dd.mm.yyyy as you have paid out of court you need not attend."

It looks like I might have unnecessarily "triggered" the system !

I intend to attend the court on the day.
 

Tazi Hupefi

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So I did not receive any reply to my letter from the Prosecution Department but, over the phone, they told me their system shows the case settled and that I did not need to go to the court. I requested a letter confirming that the case has been settled out of court but they insisted it was not necessary.

As the court summon letter is staring at me and the hearing date is nearing, I couldn't assume the matter settled without any written confirmation. So I called the Court Clerk who said she couldn't find my case on the system but I should email the letters I received for confirmation.

So I emailed the summons letters (and all documents that came with it, witness statement etc) as exactly as I had received it and also mentioned on the email that I have already paid out of court settlement and attached evidence of it.

Now I have received a very confusing reply from the Court :

"Your case has now been entered onto the court system. Your email and attachments have been attached to the file for the hearing on dd.mm.yyyy as you have paid out of court you need not attend."

It looks like I might have unnecessarily "triggered" the system !

I intend to attend the court on the day.
The case will still have to be listed and proceed in your absence, even if you've paid a settlement.

However, what will happen is the prosecutor will offer no evidence on the day, and the case will fall away. The court seems to be aware that this should happen given they've presumably placed your correspondence on the file.

You don't need to go to court unless you fancy a day out, as even if the case somehow does proceed, based on what you've said, it could be easily reopened and sorted out in the future without too much controversy.
 

pkreli

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The case will still have to be listed and proceed in your absence, even if you've paid a settlement.

However, what will happen is the prosecutor will offer no evidence on the day, and the case will fall away. The court seems to be aware that this should happen given they've presumably placed your correspondence on the file.

You don't need to go to court unless you fancy a day out, as even if the case somehow does proceed, based on what you've said, it could be easily reopened and sorted out in the future without too much controversy.
Many thanks for the info, I really hope the case will close as settled out of court. Perhaps I should have emailed the payment proof only rather than everything I received with the court summon letter. I hope it doesn't work against me.
 

Kiandg

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Many thanks for the info, I really hope the case will close as settled out of court. Perhaps I should have emailed the payment proof only rather than everything I received with the court summon letter. I hope it doesn't work against me.
Any update?
 

Jackofspades

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20 Jan 2020
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Hi Everyone,

I was caught for travelling with a ticket not for entire journey on SouthEastern. Although there were various factors for the cause on that particular day, the fact is I was not travelling with a valid ticket - so on questioning under caution, I accepted that I had no intention to pay for the entire journey.

I received a letter, asking to reply with personal details and for my side of the events. I replied well within 7 days, with my details and apologising for the lapse of judgement, first ever incident and will never happen again and pleading for out of court settlement. I posted the letter with recorded delivery and tracking shows it was delivered the following day.

But now I received court summons letter and I am stressed, specially due to the criminal conviction.

I called the Prosecution Department' number given on the summons letter to once again request for out of court settlement, but the line is not working.

So I called SouthEastern's regular customer service number and explained that I've received court summon letter and would like out of court settlement if possible.

Customer service checked their system and said they couldn't find my case in their system but they gave me the website for Revenue Protection Support Services and asked me to check my record there.

On the website, I clicked "Out of Court Settlement" and entered my prosecution number and surname and there is the option to pay a fixed amount, which I am more than happy to pay to settle this matter.

I called back SE customer service and asked for advice - I told him that I can see my case on the RPSS website inside "Out of Court Settlement" option and whether I should pay for out of court settlement, considering that I have already received a court summons letter.

After checking on his side, he said they don't have access to the RPSS' system but since I had the option to pay for out of court settlement on the RPSS site, I could pay the amount and write another letter to the Prosecution Department with evidence of payment for out of court settlement and to request to drop the case and that they may or may not agree to the out of court settlement but if it did went to court, the fact that I made the out of court settlement should work in my favour in the court hearing.

Do you think this is a good idea ? I am concerned whether I should make the payment as I didn't receive an offer for out of court settlement. But then, why is there an option to pay for out of settlement if they intend to take me to court ?

Many thanks for advice.
May I ask when and what it was you got stopped for? eg what ticket you did or didn’t have and the journey you made?
 

30907

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May I ask when and what it was you got stopped for? eg what ticket you did or didn’t have and the journey you made?
The OP would probably be best advised to keep that the information private.

If you are facing a similar situation, you are welcome to start a new thread.
 

Jackofspades

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The OP would probably be best advised to keep that the information private.

If you are facing a similar situation, you are welcome to start a new thread.
Wouldn’t imagine it’s compromising in any way seeing as it’s settled and no personal info is exchanged. Just doing some research.
 

skyhigh

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Wouldn’t imagine it’s compromising in any way seeing as it’s settled and no personal info is exchanged. Just doing some research.
"Just doing some research" for what? You'd be better off starting your own thread in the appropriate area if you're looking for information.
 

pkreli

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Messages
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Location
London
Apologies for the delay in update; after the court email, I also received court letter confirming date/time of hearing and said I needn't attend but may do so if desired. So I decided to attend just to be sure. I reached court an hour earlier and met the prosecutor who confirmed that my case has been settled and I needn't have come and needn't stay.
 
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