Clandestine Entrants and Civil Penalties
Appealing Migrant Penalties
Our lawyers have a high success rate in overturning clandestine entrant penalties issued to transport companies found carrying illegal migrants into the UK. Our clients include transport and logistics companies across Europe and beyond.
We understand the difficulties facing transport companies operating vehicles into the UK via Northern France, Calais and Coquelles. Every week there are hundreds of attempts by illegal migrants to gain unauthorised access to vehicles en route to the UK. Keeping your vehicle and trailer secure against stowaways can be a challenge.
If the UK Border Force or Customs discovers migrants in one of your vehicles, you may face a heavy fine. Our transport lawyers can help.
Civil Penalties: Legal Requirements
Under UK law, road transport operators and drivers are both responsible for securing their vehicles against migrants.
The UK Border Force can stop and inspect any vehicle entering the UK. They can fine businesses and drivers up to £2,000 for each migrant found.
Companies can avoid a Notice of Liability to Civil Penalty (IS11D), however to do this the operator will have to demonstrate 3 things:
- That it did not know or suspect that migrants were hiding in the vehicle or trailer,
- That the company operated an effective system to stop migrants being carried, and
- That the system was being properly operated by the driver at the time the vehicle was stopped
It is the responsibility of the company and the driver to show, with evidence that this defence applies.
Notices of Objection
If you have received a “civil penalty for the carriage of clandestine entrants”, you can write to the Border Force asking them to cancel or reduce the penalty. You will need to provide evidence that you had an “effective system in place” and that “the system was being properly operated”. A written representation of this kind is called a Notice of Objection.
At Rotheras we have many years of experience in preparing Notices of Objection on behalf of our UK and European transport clients. We can tell you what evidence you will need to provide and we can write to the Border Force on your behalf.
You only have 28 days to send a Notice of Objection and so if you have received a penalty notice please contact us straight away.
Notices of Objection prepared by our lawyers have an extremely high success rate in reducing or cancelling civil penalties. We can agree a fixed fee with you from the outset so that you have certainty of costs.
Appeals to the County Court
If your Notice of Objection has been unsuccessful, you have the right to appeal against your civil penalty to the County Court in the UK. Hearings of this kind usually take place at Canterbury County Court.
Our lawyers can start court proceedings, prepare your grounds of appeal and help you to gather witness statements and your evidence. Our specialist advocates can represent you at your appeal hearing and present your case.
If necessary we can also seek to negotiate a favourable settlement agreement on your behalf without the need for a court hearing.
We take a pragmatic and open approach to Appeals of this kind. Before starting an appeal we will carefully consider the merits of your case and advise you on your prospects of success.
Advice and Support
At Rotheras we can also help operators reclaim vehicles, trailers and loads detained by the UK Border Force.
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“Our experienced and specialist team represent clients nationally on a day-to-day basis”
Head of Transport Law
"Impressive group with expertise in both matrimonial finance cases and children matters. A strong childcare team handles cases involving physical and emotional abuse, as well as fatalities. Well versed in matters with international aspects, Hague Convention cases, as well as adoption and guardianship issues.
Chambers UK, 2018
Anton Balkitis frequently represents the operators of both goods and passenger vehicles in court proceedings. Clients remark: "He has a commercial understanding of real-life issues and will always provide a balanced view
Chambers UK, 2019
Impressive group with expertise in both matrimonial finance cases and children matters. A strong childcare team handles cases involving physical and emotional abuse, as well as fatalities. Well versed in matters with international aspects, Hague Convention cases, as well as adoption and guardianship issues.
Chambers UK, 2018
Chris Powell at Rotheras was recommended to us by a trusted associate within the Transport Industry; without doubt we wouldn’t have had the excellent outcome we did without his and his team’s involvement. The level of professionalism, expert advice and assistance was faultless; we felt reassured and well informed throughout the whole process. It was a pleasure to do business with him and would highly recommend his services!
Julian Brindley - John Brindley Ltd
The team at Rotheras, and Mr Powell in particular, have provided us with an outstanding service. We are extremely grateful for the help and support they gave us in dealing with issues relating to our transport operations and our goods vehicle operators licence. Mr Powell was professional, knowledgable, efficient and effective. He quickly understood our business and the problem we had. He responded with sensible advice and acted quickly on our behalf to resolve the matter. I cannot thank him enough for his help and I would recommend Mr Powell, and the Rotheras team, without hesitation. I am extremely grateful for the help they gave us.
Richard Hitchcock - Hitchcock & King
I would highly recommend James Briggs, solicitor at Rotheras. He has been extremely helpful, patient and thorough whilst helping me with affairs following the death of my husband. Even during lockdown (covid) he maintained communication and kept me informed of what was happening. He successfully achieved the outcome I needed and I would not hesitate to recommend him.
We are in the middle of launching our own packaging agency and contacted Rotheras for some professional legal advice with regards to contracts. After an initial call with Billy, he made it clear what we needed and asked plenty of questions to understand what it was we needed. He was very responsive to our questions, whether it be over the phone or via emails and made the process really simple. We had little experience in this area so it was fantastic to work with Billy, who explained everything concisely. We were also really pleased with the quick turnaround and great value offered. Would thoroughly recommend working with Rotheras.
Tom Burden, Director of Rightbox Ltd
Billy understood our requirement from the get go and really nailed down on what we needed in our commercial agency agreement. Billy kept us informed every step of the way and showed great professionalism. We would recommend his services to any start-up business who is in need of legal advice and guidance with commercial contracts.
Axl Barber, Sales Director of Rightbox Ltd
I was extremely pleased with the service that Kerry provided in order to sell my mothers house. Good, prompt communication and all questions dealt with or answered as requested. Consequently I would recommend yours services to others.
Anton has substantial experience acting for commercial goods hauliers and other transport operators. He advises on a range of contentious issues including operator licence, maintenance and tachograph matters, with a wealth of experience acting in public inquiries before Traffic Commissioners."Anton is a highly informed and personable lawyer.
Chambers UK, 2020
Chris Powell focuses his practice on road transport issues, regularly representing haulage, transport and logistics companies. He has considerable experience in regulatory matters involving operator licences and compliance failings, as well as more serious criminal investigations relating to fraud.
Chambers UK, 2020
Anton Balkitis leads the Transport Law team and is a nationally recognised Transport and Motoring Law specialist at Nottingham-based law firm Rotheras Solicitors.
Natalie is an Employment Law specialist with over 10 years’ experience representing both businesses and individuals across a range of employment services including settlement agreements, discrimination, dismissals and redundancy.
Olivia Maginn is a transport and motoring law specialist at Nottingham based law firm Rotheras Solicitors.
Chris Powell is an associate solicitor at Rotheras, specialising in road transport law and motorist defence. He advises and represents haulage and PSV operator licence holders, Transport Managers and drivers on all road transport regulatory matters.
Lindsey is a Chartered Legal Executive and Paralegal based in our transport and motorist offence department.
Billy advises businesses on a range of commercial and corporate issues and is happy to assist you with buying or selling businesses, corporate mergers and shareholder agreements
Hardeep Chumber is a paralegal in Rotheras Motoring and Transport department and is based at our Lace Market office.