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21-3-2016 5:29 pm  #21

Re: Another win for us at Hull

This is what it says in the letter.
Following your successful condemnation hearing at Hull and Holderness Magistrates' Court on 15/01/2016 your file has been passed on to me to consider.  Normally in these circumstances the goods would be returned to  you.  However it is Border force policy to destroy excise goods after a specific time period to obviate the cost of storage that would be incurred by the taxpayer and unfortunately this has happened in your case.  Therefore we will pay appropriate recompense,
According to the till receipt you have provided, the seized tobacco cost you £257.50 and it is this amount we offer you as an ex gratia payment in full and final settlement of the matter relating to the seized goods.  
Please note that any matter relating to costs awarded by the magistrates will be dealt with by our Solicitors office.Please complete and return the enclosed acceptance form so a payment can be issued as soon as possible.


21-3-2016 5:54 pm  #22

Re: Another win for us at Hull

Sorry but I don't see a way to improve on that offer

     Thread Starter

21-3-2016 6:46 pm  #23

Re: Another win for us at Hull

First of all a definition of 'ex gratia' (with reference to payment):-
"done from a sense of moral obligation rather than because of any legal requirement."

Therefore since time began I am of the opinion that UKBF, BF and any other name historically used have been using the term ex gratia incorrectly, as there is definitely a legal requirement to recompense the successful claimant

Moving onto historical cases I was successful at a Condemnation Hearing at Horsham in 2014 and rejected their original offer, here are some extracts from my response

"Thank you for your letter and offer,However, I do not consider that the sum offered is adequate to compensate me for the loss I have suffered, as it is insufficient to finance the replacement of the goods.I understand that Border Force has the power to award compensation under CEMA Section 6(2) as was stated in the tribunal Powell v Revenue & Customs (2005). I also refer to CEMA Section 144:“(3)Nothing in subsection (2) above shall effect any right of any person to the return of the thing seized or detained or to compensation in respect of any damage to the thing or in respect of the destruction thereof.” I regard the premature destruction of my property as wholly unreasonable. I made several attempts to resolve the issue in advance of court proceedings and my request for the restoration of the goods was refused without reasonable grounds. Officer xxxxxxx also informed me after the hearing on xxxxx 2014 that my goods had NOT been destroyed and that they were still in the sealed bag she had originally used.I believe that the conduct of Border Force in relation to this seizure is in breach of my human rights under ECHR Article 1 and Article 6. Furthermore, the persistent interpretation of guidelines as limits is inconsistent with EU directive 2008/118/EC.Regarding an appropriate level of compensation I refer you to the following:(a) UKBA Complaints Management Guidance 5/11/2009 :ANNEX A HMRC guidance on compensation for damage to vehicles Statement of Principle  The general policy is that compensation should only be paid where we have either acted unlawfully, or have unreasonably delayed making a decision ...  1. Replacement of tobacco and alcohol where Magistrates have rejected our case at condemnation or seizure is overturned internally - Pay the purchase price abroad plus cost of one person return travel there within two months (which will typically be a return ferry ticket) OR the UK purchase price if cheaper than the above.  I have calculated and attached an estimate of the cost of travelling to and replacing the goods in Belgium using information correct as at xxx 2014. The total is approximately £1847.00  (b) Tribunal directions Foster v Revenue and Customs (2008)  “... any compensation awarded should reflect the current average UK price at which the Goods might be sold at leading supermarkets at the date which is as close to the date of any payment of compensation as is reasonably practicable.” I would also consider reimbursement from other lawfully forfeited tobacco if this is acceptable, thus reducing the burden on the taxpayer. In conclusion I therefore expect to receive a more realistic offer of compensation and look forward to hearing from you within 21 days."

Although I didn't receive the £1847 claimed they did write back and increase their offer from £1500 to £1639.




21-3-2016 8:41 pm  #24

Re: Another win for us at Hull

You may be able to claim for "reasonable" travel costs. HMRC when responsible for customs were prepared to concede this even when a Cert 144 had been issued. I managed to get an extra £100 for this. The relevant source as DD quotes above is Annex A of the UKBA Complaints Management Guidance (available here).

Another avenue that might be worth exploring. From your post above: "... to obviate the cost of storage that would be incurred by the taxpayer". This is not a lawful reason for destroying the goods - they are only allowed to do so if they consider that they are "perishable". There is a FOI on this site somewhere that states that BF consider that tobacco has a shelf life of between 1 and 2 years.


Last edited by turbulentupstart (21-3-2016 8:42 pm)


01-6-2016 4:23 pm  #25

Re: Another win for us at Hull

Hi guys, sorry for the delay.  Just to let you know I have finally been paid out for my 2.5 kg of G.V. tobacco that was seized in March 2015.  Tried claiming for costs for trip and court appearance but to no avail ( at least I got my money back) A big thanks to everybody on this site for all your help and info which has been a big help in recovering the money for my goods.  I would say to anyone who finds themselves in this position is to listen to what these guys say and take their advice. Going to court can be a bit daunting but after all you are only trying to get back your own property.  
In court I asked the BF officers to give me straight Yes or No answers to my questions
1. You said my tobacco was seized because it was for commercial purposes, answer Yes
2. Can you supply any evidence of trade or business, answer No
3. Are you saying I am a Trader, answer No
4. Are previous trips recorded, answer No
5. Do you have any proof of me bringing back excise goods on previous trips, answer No
The BF officer started to mention guidelines and I interrupted by saying No No, I am not interested in guidelines, they are irrelevant, I am interested in how the Law stands.  By law what are the limits for my personal use and gifts? BF officers answer, No limits
Hope this may be of some help to anyone who may be going through the same sort of S**T


01-6-2016 5:26 pm  #26

Re: Another win for us at Hull


Not only did you win back the cost of your goods but you also cleared your name and proved you are not a smuggler.

It's worth carrying a copy of the relevant paperwork next time you travel to prove that you will not be intimidated by BF and will take them to court if necessary.

Your case actually inspired us to look at ways of claiming court costs, what is permissible and how to do it. There is now a topic and claim form for it

     Thread Starter

02-6-2016 7:08 pm  #27

Re: Another win for us at Hull

Will carry court case papers and papers from this site in future.Hope someone finds a way to claim out of pocket expenses in the near future.Once again thanks to all you guys for your help and advice.


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