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  • FIRST POST
    • geejayem
    • By geejayem 17th Apr 18, 11:56 AM
    • 20Posts
    • 3Thanks
    geejayem
    Should I pay or should I go(to court)?
    • #1
    • 17th Apr 18, 11:56 AM
    Should I pay or should I go(to court)? 17th Apr 18 at 11:56 AM
    A couple of weeks ago, I was driving home from Cheshire after enjoying a bank holiday weekend in Nantwich with some friends. I was travelling Northbound on the M6 with my young son in my father's Campervan.
    I noticed a police car following me but was not worried as I thought everything was in order and I'd not been speeding. You can imagine my surprise when the officer switched on his blues to pull me over.
    The officer asked me to sit in his car where he would explain to me why he'd pulled me over, to my horror, he informed me that my dad's vehicle was showing as having no insurance.
    I explained that I was convinced the van was insured as I'd checked with my father a few weeks previously before another trip.
    The police officer did some more checks and it was confirmed that the van was uninsured. He then allowed me to contact my father to try and get an explanation and to see if my dad could get the vehicle insured immediately. When I rang him, my father was equally shocked and after ringing his insurance company he discovered that his insurance had lapsed at the end of January this year.
    My father managed to get insurance there and then and the Police officer sent us on our way after issuing me with a traffic offence report.
    When I got home, my father explained to me that the reason he wasn't insured was that he had recently changed his current account from a bank to a building and he was under the impression that his Direct Debit for the Insurance would automatically be transferred over.
    My father had been insured with the Camping and Caravan club and his policy had been renewed automatically every year since 2008 but was discontinued when he'd switched accounts.
    As far as my dad was concerned, he'd had no notifications from his insurance company to inform him that his insurance had expired but after speaking to them, they informed him that he'd by notified via email.
    My dad checked through his emails and found that a renewal notification had indeed been sent but as it had gone straight to Junk, he'd missed it.

    I have since received a CONDITIONAL OFFER OF A FIXED PENALTY.
    For my 'sins', I'm looking at a fine of £300 and 6 penalty points.
    As a working single father, I cannot afford this fine nor the points on my licence, nor can I afford the inevitable increased insurance payments for my own vehicle.
    I thing this a harsh penalty for someone who believed everything was in order and wasn't driving a vehicle in the knowledge that it wasn't insured. My father has drafted a letter accepting full responsibility should I contest the allegation in court. My father's insurers have also made a note against his policy that will confirm that his policy had been renewed automatically every year for the last ten years.
    Should I fight this in court and risk further court costs or take it on the chin?
Page 2
    • Head The Ball
    • By Head The Ball 17th Apr 18, 2:21 PM
    • 3,211 Posts
    • 8,449 Thanks
    Head The Ball
    Yes, I had previously been a named driver on his insurance.
    Originally posted by geejayem
    What about my first question?

    Were you insured under your own insurance to drive other vehicles?

    If yes, then perhaps you were legally OK even if the vehicle you were driving wasn't insured. The law or rules are probably complex..........
    Originally posted by Head The Ball
    Do you have your own vehicle with your own insurance?

    Does that permit you to drive other vehicles with permission? (That is rarer these days than in the past when it was quite common)

    If yes, then check your own policy. You might have a get out although........

    ....I think you missed the point , did you have a policy entitling you to drive other vehicles not were you a named driver.


    That said most have a clause stating the other vehicle must be insured also.
    Originally posted by caprikid1
    ........caprikid1 is probably correct.



    It is a long shot but well worth checking.
    Every Village has its Idiot.

    If you don't know who your Village Idiot is

    it is probably you.
    • Money_Grabber13579
    • By Money_Grabber13579 17th Apr 18, 2:25 PM
    • 2,876 Posts
    • 1,387 Thanks
    Money_Grabber13579
    When your father switched current accounts, how did he do it? Was it through the current account switching service or did he just open up a new account and manually close the old one himself?

    If using the current account switching service, my understanding is that the banks have an obligation to maintain direct debits and standing orders on the new account and so if they have not, are they not partly liable? Not sure how that gets around the penalty points though.
    Northern Ireland club member No 382
    • onomatopoeia99
    • By onomatopoeia99 17th Apr 18, 2:38 PM
    • 4,174 Posts
    • 9,368 Thanks
    onomatopoeia99
    "Yes, I had previously been a named driver on his insurance. "


    I think you missed the point , did you have a policy entitling you to drive other vehicles not were you a named driver.


    That said most have a clause stating the other vehicle must be insured also.
    Originally posted by caprikid1
    Has anyone got a policy that allows "driving other vehicles"? All of mine say "driving other cars", and like a panel van, a campervan is not a "car". As I reminded a friend when he asked to borrow my Transit using his driving other cars cover.

    Direct line do not have a clause stating the other car must have its own insurance.
    INTP, nerd, libertarian and scifi geek.
    Home is where my books are.
    • shaun from Africa
    • By shaun from Africa 17th Apr 18, 2:49 PM
    • 9,950 Posts
    • 11,227 Thanks
    shaun from Africa
    Direct line do not have a clause stating the other car must have its own insurance.
    Originally posted by onomatopoeia99
    Nor does Aviva.
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 17th Apr 18, 3:16 PM
    • 17,356 Posts
    • 15,700 Thanks
    AdrianC
    If using the current account switching service, my understanding is that the banks have an obligation to maintain direct debits and standing orders on the new account and so if they have not, are they not partly liable?
    Originally posted by Money_Grabber13579
    They would be liable for any costs incurred through late payments in the short term, but three months after a completely failed renewal, itself an un-named period after the transfer, with a failure to do basic admin like checking for any correspondence in the spam bin? No... That's not reasonable.
    • Stoke
    • By Stoke 17th Apr 18, 3:40 PM
    • 2,155 Posts
    • 1,323 Thanks
    Stoke
    Take the fine pal. No offence, it's hard to have sympathy, having just gone through a mucky break up with my ex, part of this involved taking on all of the direct debits after closing down the joint account. It was my responsibility and simply closing the account didn't result in them going somewhere else. I phoned up every company (and there were a few, bills, gas, electric, house insurance, and the like) and had to sit on the phone and deal with Indian call centres until they were all done.

    I'm usually sympathetic, but not with this one bud. Take the hit.
    • dacouch
    • By dacouch 17th Apr 18, 3:48 PM
    • 20,429 Posts
    • 12,652 Thanks
    dacouch
    If you are a named driver on the new campervan insurance, has your father declared your pending no insurance conviction to the insurer's
    • Tarambor
    • By Tarambor 17th Apr 18, 6:25 PM
    • 2,822 Posts
    • 2,041 Thanks
    Tarambor
    Does that permit you to drive other vehicles with permission? (That is rarer these days than in the past when it was quite common)

    If yes, then check your own policy. You might have a get out although........
    Originally posted by Head The Ball
    Not a chance because car policies don't cover vans, campervans or even a car derived van such as an Astravan which is basically an Astra estate without windows.

    Most policies also require the third party vehicle you're driving under your own policy to be insured in its own right.
    • IanMSpencer
    • By IanMSpencer 17th Apr 18, 6:31 PM
    • 1,462 Posts
    • 1,080 Thanks
    IanMSpencer
    Seriously, get real legal advice. Pepipoo is a good start. If you had genuine reason to believe you were insured then that is mitigation and reason not to endorse. You would need your father to explain the reason by appearing in court.

    The court is likely to take a dim view of an insurer depending on an email notification only, and it may be worth a complaint to the insurers along with the intent to take it onto the insurance ombudsman when they are in denial of this being unreasonable behaviour.

    I'm pretty sure that there was a similar case on Pepipoo and the magistrates went for an unconditional discharge - essentially you are guilty of not being insured but blameless. I think the case in point was where a company insurance had lapsed so someone was driving uninsured but they had good reason to believe that they were insured.

    The OP acted reasonably - no doubt the father would have produced a valid (looking) insurance certificate.

    I think the insurers are at fault for not writing a letter, it is unreasonable to cancel by email.
    • Car 54
    • By Car 54 17th Apr 18, 6:39 PM
    • 2,912 Posts
    • 1,856 Thanks
    Car 54
    Seriously, get real legal advice. Pepipoo is a good start. If you had genuine reason to believe you were insured then that is mitigation and reason not to endorse. You would need your father to explain the reason by appearing in court.

    The court is likely to take a dim view of an insurer depending on an email notification only, and it may be worth a complaint to the insurers along with the intent to take it onto the insurance ombudsman when they are in denial of this being unreasonable behaviour.

    I'm pretty sure that there was a similar case on Pepipoo and the magistrates went for an unconditional discharge - essentially you are guilty of not being insured but blameless. I think the case in point was where a company insurance had lapsed so someone was driving uninsured but they had good reason to believe that they were insured.

    The OP acted reasonably - no doubt the father would have produced a valid (looking) insurance certificate.

    I think the insurers are at fault for not writing a letter, it is unreasonable to cancel by email.
    Originally posted by IanMSpencer
    But the insurers did not cancel. Father failed to renew.

    Also, if the Pepipoo case involved a company insurance, there is a specific statutory defence covering this. There is no such defence in other circumstances.
    • AndyMc.....
    • By AndyMc..... 17th Apr 18, 7:08 PM
    • 1,338 Posts
    • 914 Thanks
    AndyMc.....
    Seriously, get real legal advice. Pepipoo is a good start. If you had genuine reason to believe you were insured then that is mitigation and reason not to endorse. You would need your father to explain the reason by appearing in court.

    The court is likely to take a dim view of an insurer depending on an email notification only, and it may be worth a complaint to the insurers along with the intent to take it onto the insurance ombudsman when they are in denial of this being unreasonable behaviour.

    I'm pretty sure that there was a similar case on Pepipoo and the magistrates went for an unconditional discharge - essentially you are guilty of not being insured but blameless. I think the case in point was where a company insurance had lapsed so someone was driving uninsured but they had good reason to believe that they were insured.

    The OP acted reasonably - no doubt the father would have produced a valid (looking) insurance certificate.

    I think the insurers are at fault for not writing a letter, it is unreasonable to cancel by email.
    Originally posted by IanMSpencer
    Really, did his insurance certificate not give him written notice of when the policy would end?
    • IanMSpencer
    • By IanMSpencer 17th Apr 18, 7:09 PM
    • 1,462 Posts
    • 1,080 Thanks
    IanMSpencer
    But the insurers did not cancel. Father failed to renew.

    Also, if the Pepipoo case involved a company insurance, there is a specific statutory defence covering this. There is no such defence in other circumstances.
    Originally posted by Car 54
    Yes. However, the courts are not blind, and in this case actually the appropriate course of action would be not for the driver to be prosecuted, but for the father, as he caused the offence by misleading the driver.

    Magistrates do have charging guidelines and then they are allowed to come to their own considered opinions. In this case, I would suggest that as the OP acted in an entirely reasonable manner, it would be against natural justice for him to be punished. However, it would potentially be appropriate for the father to be prosecuted.

    So with appropriate legal guidance, my suggestion would be to go to court for a Newton Hearing - you plead guilty, clearly explain the unusual circumstances (done it many times before, checked that it was insured and so on, father had no reason to doubt the renewal as it had happened automatically for 10 years) and then see whether the magistrates are interested in coming up with a more lenient sentence than the sentencing guidelines suggest.
    Last edited by IanMSpencer; 17-04-2018 at 7:12 PM.
    • AndyMc.....
    • By AndyMc..... 17th Apr 18, 7:29 PM
    • 1,338 Posts
    • 914 Thanks
    AndyMc.....
    Yes. However, the courts are not blind, and in this case actually the appropriate course of action would be not for the driver to be prosecuted, but for the father, as he caused the offence by misleading the driver.

    Magistrates do have charging guidelines and then they are allowed to come to their own considered opinions. In this case, I would suggest that as the OP acted in an entirely reasonable manner, it would be against natural justice for him to be punished. However, it would potentially be appropriate for the father to be prosecuted.

    So with appropriate legal guidance, my suggestion would be to go to court for a Newton Hearing - you plead guilty, clearly explain the unusual circumstances (done it many times before, checked that it was insured and so on, father had no reason to doubt the renewal as it had happened automatically for 10 years) and then see whether the magistrates are interested in coming up with a more lenient sentence than the sentencing guidelines suggest.
    Originally posted by IanMSpencer
    So you’ll know the guidelines state must endorse and may disqualify?
    • Car 54
    • By Car 54 17th Apr 18, 7:42 PM
    • 2,912 Posts
    • 1,856 Thanks
    Car 54
    So you’ll know the guidelines state must endorse and may disqualify?
    Originally posted by AndyMc.....
    Precisely. Points (6 minimum) - or disqualification - are mandatory. Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988, Schedule 2.
    • IanMSpencer
    • By IanMSpencer 17th Apr 18, 9:24 PM
    • 1,462 Posts
    • 1,080 Thanks
    IanMSpencer
    Magistrates Guodelones:

    hen sentencing offences committed after 6 April 2010, every court is under a statutory obligation to follow any relevant Council guideline unless it would be contrary to the interests of justice to do so. If a court imposes a sentence outside the range indicated in an offence specific guideline, it is obliged to state its reasons for doing so.

    Magistrates do have latitude.
    • AndyMc.....
    • By AndyMc..... 17th Apr 18, 9:48 PM
    • 1,338 Posts
    • 914 Thanks
    AndyMc.....
    Magistrates Guodelones:

    hen sentencing offences committed after 6 April 2010, every court is under a statutory obligation to follow any relevant Council guideline unless it would be contrary to the interests of justice to do so. If a court imposes a sentence outside the range indicated in an offence specific guideline, it is obliged to state its reasons for doing so.

    Magistrates do have latitude.
    Originally posted by IanMSpencer
    And why would it be contrary to the interests of justice not to follow the guidelines?
    • TooManyPoints
    • By TooManyPoints 17th Apr 18, 11:00 PM
    • 63 Posts
    • 46 Thanks
    TooManyPoints
    So with appropriate legal guidance, my suggestion would be to go to court for a Newton Hearing - you plead guilty,
    Best not to make suggestions if you don't know what you're talking about.

    A "Newton Hearing" is not appropriate here. Such a hearing is held to establish the seriousness of an offence where the facts are disputed and where the sentence would be materially different depending on which version was accepted. For example,driver charged with speeding at 110mph. Pleads guilty, but argues he was only travelling at 85mph. A Newton Hearing is held to establish which version of events is used to sentence.

    The facts are not disputed here and no hearing is necessary to establish them. Unfortunately "No Insurance" is a "strict liability" offence and it is a driver's absolute responsibility to ensure cover is in place. A "Special Reasons" application is very unlikely to succeed.and accepting the FP is your best option. By all means post your question on Pepipoo and I believe you'll receive the same answer.
    • IanMSpencer
    • By IanMSpencer 17th Apr 18, 11:15 PM
    • 1,462 Posts
    • 1,080 Thanks
    IanMSpencer
    And why would it be contrary to the interests of justice not to follow the guidelines?
    Originally posted by AndyMc.....
    Because according to the original post the OP took reasonable steps to ensure they were insured. They were (unwittingly) misled. The OP understood their responsibilities and did their best to comply with the law.

    As I said in my first post, seek expert guidance. The consequences of a driving without insurance conviction go beyond the points and fine - it has a serious consequence in insurance costs so definitely worth researching.
    • Car 54
    • By Car 54 17th Apr 18, 11:22 PM
    • 2,912 Posts
    • 1,856 Thanks
    Car 54
    Magistrates Guodelones:

    hen sentencing offences committed after 6 April 2010, every court is under a statutory obligation to follow any relevant Council guideline unless it would be contrary to the interests of justice to do so. If a court imposes a sentence outside the range indicated in an offence specific guideline, it is obliged to state its reasons for doing so.

    Magistrates do have latitude.
    Originally posted by IanMSpencer
    Mags may have flexibility to go outside the guidelines, but they cannot impose sentences which do not comply with statutory law. Points or disqualification are mandatory for this offence.
    • IanMSpencer
    • By IanMSpencer 17th Apr 18, 11:29 PM
    • 1,462 Posts
    • 1,080 Thanks
    IanMSpencer
    Mags may have flexibility to go outside the guidelines, but they cannot impose sentences which do not comply with statutory law. Points or disqualification are mandatory for this offence.
    Originally posted by Car 54
    I know a magistrate where they had someone hire a car and they were stopped - the hirer was dodgy. They did not convict as it was unreasonable (the bloke had a rental agreement suggesting it was insured). It was unreasonable to expect the hires to validate what they had been told in good faith. Not so absolute.
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