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TV license about to run out.
in TV MoneySaving
41 replies 1.6K views
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If you tell us you don’t need a licence, we may confirm this with a visit to your address. This is because when we visit and make contact, we find one in six people that tell us they don't need a TV Licence actually do need one.
I can see both sides of it: that if there was some benefit to completing the No Licence Needed form, it might be worth doing; and the alternative view that even that is a step too far in terms of the principles and/or the practical concessions.
It's quite possible that there is no definitive answer, and it depends on personal circumstances. The blame clearly lies with TV Licensing, anyway.
They have absolutely no right to enter your residence without a court order and with no/lack of evidence they stand no hope in hell of obtaining one.
As for examining your TV and its connections, not a chance.
In my house the TV cable runs in conduit with other cables, TV is in a cabinet and the aerial socket on the wall is behind a bookcase.
However, I'm not sure that it works in a legal sense because the No Licence Needed form has no legal weight, and so I'm not sure that a Court would give it much credibility in the face of some kind of evasion allegation - in fact I'm aware of cases where there has been discussion pre-Court between defendants and TVL on exactly this basis. Those discussions did not go well for the defendants.
I've used a number of different legal strategies in the past. In particular, I obtained an agreement from TV Licensing at one stage that they would only seek to contact me if they believed they had reasonable evidence of evasion at my address - in those circumstances an interview would be arranged in the presence of my Solicitor at his/her offices and TVL would cover the costs. They agreed to all of that, presumably on the basis that you have suggested - they are happy to have obtained some kind of positive response and they are unable to dictate beyond that what kind of a positive response it is.
I'm not sure you're correct that the no licence needed form carries no legal weight as I cant see any reason why it would be inadmissible in a court of law. It might also deny the defendant the right to a fair trial if it was to be excluded from the evidence and this could form the basis of a subsequent appeal.
It's one of the characteristics of the TVL can of worms that whilst they often imply a level of legal standing to various features of the system, the actual legal standing may be very different (typically non-existent). The value of the NLN form is defined solely in TVL policies. It's not a statutory device (like, say, the vehicle SORN declaration), nor is it contractual (because we are not customers of TVL), nor does it have any broad legal value (like an affidavit). It is simply an administrative step that even TVL do not value (because they say they still may need to "check").
It might be possible to get an affidavit cheaply notarised by a Solicitor, and this could have some legal standing later on in a potential hearing, but the NLN form, not, in my opinion. What would it say, anyway, just that at a point in time some months previously you submitted your details into TVL's administrative process. Nothing more than that, in reality - no proof, no penalty for lying, no ID-check... and if you refused TVL's follow-up step of checking your home, then even TVL's desired process has been broken.
I'd say that attempting to secure some benefit from using TVL's own processes has limited value. I think the best outcomes come either from ignoring them (effectively using common law rights), or from using actual legal rights against them (where those rights are well-defined in Common Law, PACE, or HRA).
I didn't say that the NLN form would be inadmissible, but I don't see what value it would offer. Little, I would say in the two most likely forms of TVL prosecution. In a case based on confession, it has no value, because your confession is a virtually water-tight piece of evidence in these minor offences. In a case based on TVL's witness statement that they either heard you confess, or they witnessed evasion first-hand, then their contemporary evidence is much more compelling than a months-old administrative step (even if it was completed voluntarily by you at the time).