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Order for recovery

An order for recovery will be issued if you do not pay a Charge Certificate that you receive.

You will receive a Charge Certificate if you do not appeal or pay:

1.   You do not appeal or pay within the statutory time limit a Notice to Owner.

2.   You do not appeal or pay within the statutory time limit a Penalty Charge Notice issued by CCTV (note this does not apply to Bus Lane or Yellow box contraventions)

3.   You do not pay within the statutory time limit a Penalty Charge Notice where a Parking Adjudicator has refused your appeal.

Before doing anything I recommend you prepare a time line of events and documents received prior to receiving the Order for Recovery.  Click on Order for recovery time line.

A Charge Certificate increases the original penalty charge by 50% and allows 21 days for payment, beginning with the date of posting?

If payment of Charge Certificate has not been received by the local authority within 21 days of xxxx ,after 21 days, the council may (in all likelihood they will) register the charge with the Traffic Enforcement Centre ("TEC") at Northampton County Court to recover the unpaid charge.

The TEC is based at Northampton and is the part of the County Court that deals with the registration of debts from England and Wales for all unpaid Penalty Charge Notices. There is more information on Her Majesty's Courts Service website.

After the TEC has sent confirmation to the council that they have the right to proceed to recover the charge, the council has 15 days to prepare and serve the following two forms on you:

  • An Order for the Recovery of Unpaid Penalty Charge
  • A Witness Statement 

What should you do now?

Once you have received an Order for Recovery you can either:

  • pay the outstanding amount which will consist of the full penalty charge and a court registration fee of £7 to the council within 21 days, or
  • complete the Witness Statement and return it to the TEC.

The 'Witness Statement' form.

The Witness Statement is an important legal statement which states that you did not receive either

1.   a Notice to Owner, or

2.   a Notice of Rejection from the council, or

3.   a Notice of Refusal from the Traffic Penalty Tribunal, or

4.   that you paid the penalty charge within 28 days of receiving it. 

On the form you will see ONE of 4 boxes to tick each of which relates to one of the headings above.

ONLY TICK ONE BOX.  IF YOU TICK MORE THAN ONE BOX THE WITNESS STATEMENT WILL BE REJECTED!!!!!!

You must then send the completed Witness Statement to the Traffic Enforcement Centre (do not send it to the council) within xxx days of xxxx.

Completion of a Witness Statement and sending it to TEC will automatically cancel the Penalty Charge Notice!

However the council may choose at its discretion whether to restart the process.  If it does the process goes back to the stage where you said that you did not receive notification.

For example if your Witness Statement declared that you did not receive a Notice to Owner, the council may take your case back to the Notice to Owner stage and send you a Notice to Owner.

You must not ignore this!

You must either pay it or lodge an appeal with the council no later than 28 days from the date you receive it, counting the date of receipt as day 1.

If your Witness Statement stated that you made representations to the council or an appeal to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal then the council may refer your case to the traffic Penalty Tribunal. 

It is very important to remember that it is a criminal offence to make a false Witness Statement without an honest belief that the statement you made was the truth.

On what grounds can I make a Witness Statement?

There are four grounds on which a Witness Statement may be made:

  1. I did not receive the 'Notice to Owner' - If you did not receive a 'Notice to Owner', you will not have had an opportunity to make formal representations against the issue of the Penalty Charge Notice. If a valid Witness Statement is made on this ground, the council can chose whether to restart the process and reissue a 'Notice to Owner'. They usually will!
  2. I made representations about the penalty charge but did not receive a Notice of Rejection - If you made an appeal after receiving the 'Notice to Owner' and the council rejected your appeal but you did not receive the council's rejection in the form of a formal Notice of Rejection, you can complete a Witness Statement  to that effect. (This because you were effectively precluded from excersising your right to appeal to the Parking Adjudicator or to pay the Notice to Owner). If a valid Witness Statement is made on this ground, the council will treat the case as if a formal appeal had been made and forward all documentation to the Parking and Traffic Appeals Service (for London PCNs), the Traffic Penalty Tribunal (for PCNs outside London) or the Scottish Parking Appeals Service (for PCNs in Scotland). A Parking Adjudicator will then decide whether the Penalty Charge Notice should be cancelled or not. will then be decided by an adjudicator. Please note that a Parking Adjudicator may ask for additional information from you.
  3. I appealed to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal but have had no response to my appeal - If you made a formal appeal to the Parking and Traffic Appeals Service, the Traffic Penalty Tribunal or the Scottish Parking Appeals Service but did not receive notification of the decision, you may have lost the opportunity to pay the full penalty charge. If a valid Witness Statement is made on this ground, the case will be treated as a formal appeal. If the council have not  already done so, the council will forward all documentation to the appropriate Parking Adjudicator and liability for the penalty charge will then be decided.
  4. I paid the penalty charge notice in full within 28 days - You will need to provide details of the date payment was made, the method of payment e.g.. cash, cheque, debit/credit card and who the payment was made to, and you may be asked to provide proof of payment on request. If a valid Witness Statement is made on this ground and the council disagrees or disputes the statement the case will be referred to the Parking and Traffic Appeals Service, the Traffic Penalty Tribunal or the Scottish Parking Appeals Service so that a decision can be made by a Parking Adjudicator.

Once the Traffic Enforcement Centre (TEC) receive my completed Witness Statement what happens then?

Councils will incorrectly tell you that when the TEC receives your Witness Statement it will place the penalty charge on hold.   This is not correct.  If the Witness Statement is received on time and correctly completed the penalty charge notice will be cancelled.

A notice to this effect is sent to you and the council.

The council can then decide whether to

1.   close the case or,

2.   depending on your grounds for making a Witness Statement

a.   go back to the stage in the procedure where you stated you did not receive the necessary document, or

b.   refer the case to the Parking and Traffic Appeals Service, the Traffic Penalty Tribunal or the Scottish Parking Appeals Service for a Parking Adjudicator to make a decision on the case.

If I don't pay the outstanding amount or make a Witness Statement - What happens then?

I won't beat about the bush - Assuming that you received the Order for Recovery and you didn't pay the outstanding amount or make a Witness Statement you are in deep do-do!

If the amount claimed as outstanding hasn't been paid and a Witness Statement has not been filed within the statutory time limit after 21 days from service* of the Order for Recovery, the council can request authority from the TEC to use a certificated bailiff to recover the outstanding penalty charge.

* Please note that service is deemed to have been made three days after posting of the Order for Recovery.

If TEC agree to the council's request they will issue a legal document called a Warrant of Execution.

So what can the bailiff do to recover the outstanding amount?

The bailiff will send out various requests for payment to the person whose name is on the warrant. If no payment is made, the bailiff can remove the vehicle [they can also remove other goods like household goods but only if you let them on to your property which you are not obliged to do] in order to recover the unpaid charge. Unfortunately by this stage outstanding amount will now include the bailiff's costs [but watch out sometimes these costs have been fabricated].

I didn't know about this outstanding penalty charge and I have now been contacted by a bailiff. What can I do about it?  

After the issue of a Warrant of Execution you can still make a Witness Statement but in order to do so you will have to get and complete an "Out of Time Witness Statement Form" (see xxxxx) from the TEC, explaining your reasons for making a late Witness Statement. 

On receipt of the Out of Time Witness Statement the TEC will ask the council if they are willing to accept a late Witness Statement. The council has 14 days to reply. If the late Witness Statement is accepted then the Order for Recovery and Warrant of Execution will be revoked and the council will revert back to the stage of the procedure where you have stated that you did not receive notification.

However in most situations councils decide to reject the Out of Time Witness Statement.

If the council decides to reject the Out of Time Witness Statement then the case will go before a Court Officer at Northampton County Court who will decide whether the council's reasons for rejecting the late Out of Time Witness Statement are sufficient.

UNFORTUNATELY THESE REJECTIONS ARE NOT ALWAYS PROPERLY CONSIDERED BY TH COURT OFFICER AND THE COUNCIL'S REJECTION ACCEPTED!  

If the court decides in our favour then the Warrant can be pursued. If the court decides to allow the Out of Time Witness Statement then it is treated in exactly the same way as a normal Witness Statement that is made within the statutory time limit.

What can I do I don't agree with the court's decision? Can I lodge an appeal against it?

You can apply to have a review of the Court Officer's decision - Please note that there is a fee of £75 to pay. Once your application is processed by the TEC, the case is transferred to your local county court for a hearing before a District Judge. The District Judge will only consider whether there was a good reason to file the Witness Statement out of time and will not consider whether the penalty charge notice should have been issued.

Please make sure that you have all the evidence to prove that there was a good reason to file an out Out of Time Witness Statement.

 

© 2011 Barrie Segal

 

 

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