Clandestine Entrants and Challenging Civil Penalties
Every year, many thousands of illegal migrants break into and hide inside vehicles entering the UK. In most of these cases you, as the haulier operating the vehicle, will have no idea that the migrants are on board.
Despite this, if one your vehicles is stopped by the UK Border Force with migrants on board, you can expect to receive a heavy fine (Civil Penalty) unless you can demonstrate that you had proper systems in place to prevent the migrants accessing the vehicle and that the system was working effectively at the time your vehicle was stopped
– be warned, this is not easy.
If you cannot show that you have an effective system in place and that it was being properly operated on the day, as the haulier you can ultimately be liable to pay up to £4,000 per migrant.
If you fail to pay your penalty you can expect your vehicle to be seized and sold or even destroyed by the UK Border Force.
Challenging Your Civil Penalty
You have the right to appeal against both the imposition of your Civil Penalty, and its amount. The appeal process consists of two routes:
- A Notice of Objection to the Border Force. This entails the submission of written representations and supporting evidence to the Border Force. Using this route, our transport lawyers have a high success rate in dramatically reducing the amount of penalty payable, without the need to go to court. This is often the most cost-effective route.
- An Appeal to the County Court. This consists of a court hearing at which the Judge will consider all of the evidence including whether the penalty should have been imposed at all and, if so, whether it was too high.
Both routes may be followed independently, or at the same time, and if a Notice of Objection fails you can still appeal to the County Court. Be warned however – strict time limits apply to the appeal process.
At Smith Bowyer Clarke, our road transport lawyers regularly conduct appeals both through the review process and in the County Court and have an impressive track record of cancelled or reduced penalties.
We offer a cost-effective, fixed-fee arrangement designed to cover these steps and to provide you with certainty as to your costs.
How to Prevent Clandestine Entrants
Smith Bowyer Clarke can arrange training from experts in the Road Transport field on:
- How to install an effective system to prevent clandestine entrants, in line with the Codes of Practice issued by the UK Government
- The paperwork (checklists / training manuals etc) you need
- The actions drivers must take to identify and prevent migrant access
- The documentation that must be carried in the cab of the vehicle at all times
- The information that must be provided to the Border Force if stopped
The course can be tailored to your specific circumstances. This includes:
- Delivery in person or by Skype
- Delivery to groups or individuals, including drivers and transport managers
- Changing the length of the course to meet your needs
The course usually lasts no more than 3 hrs. Call today for more information about this course or to speak to one of our lawyers.
Protecting Your Load from Condemnation
Once illegal migrants have contaminated one of your loads, in many cases that load will be condemned in its entirety. This is expensive, damaging to your reputation, and can jeopardise future work. At Smith Bowyer Clarke, we have links with a specialist cargo restoration service with average load recovery rates of 85-90%. Contact us to find out more.