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Challenging Civil Penalties for Carrying Stowaways

Challenging Civil Penalties: How we can help you

With the possibility of a penalty of up to £2,000 for each individual discovered, the amounts imposed for the discovery of clandestine entrants can be financially significant for both the owners of commercial vehicles and the drivers. Where penalties go unpaid, or are unlikely to be paid within 60 days, the UK Border Force may impound vehicles, only releasing them once all outstanding monies are paid, along with the additional costs of detention.

If clandestines are discovered, it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible so that we can make early representations to UK Border Force. Otherwise, they will issue a Notice of Liability to a Penalty. At this stage, our specialist lawyers in the road transport law team can help make written representations to resist the penalty entirely and advise whether a defence to incurring the civil penalty is available. To defend , you must be able to demonstrate:

– that you did not know, nor had reasonable grounds to suspect, that clandestine entrants were concealed in the vehicle
– that an effective system was in place for the prevention of carrying clandestine entrants
– that the system was being properly operated at the relevant time

Where a defence can be relied upon and a Notice of Penalty (IS11 Form) has been issued, a Notice of Objection can be filed to challenge the penalty in the first instance. The Notice of Objection is your opportunity to challenge the penalty directly and state your case with the UK Border Force. We regularly prepare objections and put forward the most convincing cases and successfully have penalties reduced or rescinded for our clients.

There is a statutory right to appeal civil penalties issued by the UK Border Force, regardless of whether a Notice of Objection has been filed. Appeals must be made to the County Court within 28 days of the date of the issue of the penalty or, if objections have been raised, within 28 days of the Determination of Objection. A judge will consider whether the penalty has been wrongly imposed or determine if a reduction to the amount of the penalty should be made. Our specialist team can appeal to the County Court on your behalf. Should the matter proceed to a hearing, we can provide representation at the hearing.

For further advice and assistance on challenging civil penalties, contact the road transport law team on 0800 046 3066, learn more from our transport law blog or continuing reading through our road traffic law website.