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Stowaways / Clandestine Entrants / Illegal Immigrants & Civil Penalty Notices

We know how frustrating it can be when you receive a Civil Penalty Notice as a result of stowaways or ‘Clandestine Entrants’ or just ‘Clandestines’ as they’re commonly referred to, being found in your vehicle.

The Home Office UK Border Force frequently issues fairly hefty penalties to hauliers and their drivers for allegedly not following their Code of Practice. The penalties are often so large that they are well in excess of those which a Magistrates’ Court would impose for more serious criminal offences. Unfortunately, the legislation which gives the Border Force power to impose these penalties, places the onus on the operator and driver to demonstrate that they have complied with the Code.

For years we have represented hauliers who are found in the unfortunate position of having received a civil penalty. We have been able to successfully to persuade the UK Border Force to significantly reduce or even waive the penalty imposed. In the past, we have even managed to persuade them to pay our clients’ legal costs.

What are the time limits for lodging an objection?

If you would like help with objecting to a Civil Penalty Notice then don’t delay. Objections must be lodged within a strict time limit of 28 days from the date of the original penalty. Therefore the sooner you get in touch, the more thorough job we can do, and the greater the chance of obtaining an excellent result.

What are the chances of getting the penalty waived or reduced?

It will depend on how far we can demonstrate that you have complied with the Code of Practice.  In order to do this, we will need you to be able to provide us with a certain amount of information and documentation to support our argument. This is very important as without it, it is virtually impossible to persuade the UKBA to reduce or waive the penalty. We will give you more information about the things we need from you once you instruct us.

Do I need to report a penalty to the Traffic Commissioner?

No, the penalties imposed are civil, not criminal. They are not convictions and do not need to be reported.


For free advice, speak to a solicitor on our local rate number 0330 1330 081 or, if you prefer, fill out our Contact Form and we'll call you back: usually the same day and often within the hour. You can also email us here.