Special Reasons Defence?


I was stopped today by a police car using ANPR and my car impounded for driving without insurance. I have no prior offences, no points on my licence, and have been driving for 5 years with only 1 fixed penalty notice in all that time, for my car being inside a yellow hatched box at a junction.

I’d taken out insurance with Churchill last year, via the internet. They cancelled the policy because I hadn’t provided evidence of eligibility for a No Claims Discount, but they never attempted to email me or phone me, even though the policy was taken out on the internet. They wrote to me but at the time of writing, there was an ongoing postal dispute in my area and the letter(s) never arrived.

I can show that during the same period, other mail was never delivered, of equal importance, e.g. letters to and from the DVLA in Swansea vanished, letters regarding a passport application vanished, and even registered items simply disappeared from the Royal Mail system and became untraceable.

So I feel I have Special Reasons Arguments that I had no reason to believe my insurance had been cancelled. But is there a real danger that magistrates might impose a heavier penalty than 6 points + £200 fine ?

I am 45 years old, of good character, have no criminal record, need to be able to drive in the UK and overseas for work; and 6 points on my licence will mean higher insurance costs for many years and may prevent me hiring & insuring a car overseas. But a heavier penalty would mean even more problems.

What is the most sensible thing for me to do ?

Paula Says:

You would be surprised at how many people experience the same problems that you have encountered.

If you were under the genuine misapprehension that you were insured then you have a good special reasons argument. We would have to show the court that you had reasonable grounds for thinking that you were covered.

I take the point re the postal strike and the court will probably agree.

I think you have reasonable prospects of success and its worth a go but you need to be aware that if you lose the fines will probably be higher than the fixed penalty offer and there will be court costs too.

If you succeed they will probably agree to a discharge rather than fines. If they impose fines they will be nominal if they accept there are special reasons.

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