The HM Court Service "Hereford" template letter.

 

When you pay a fine online, a member of staff at HM Court Service may sends you a letter in the post saying they gave the money to a bailiff company and go on about a case called R-v-Hereford and Worcestor ex parte Macrae.

This is a generic reply template letter, called the "Hereford Template"

 

It is so-named because it references decision in R. v. Hereford and Worcester Magistrates' Court ex parte MacRae which decided that, once issued, Warrants couldn't be withdrawn by the courts.

This advice no longer legally correct because it was a court ruling that has since been repealed by an Act of Parliament.

If you paid the fine online, there is no need to "withdraw" a warrant because the enforcement power conferred under it has ceased to have effect under paragraph 6(3) of Schedule 12 of the Tribunals Courts and Enforcment Act 2007, which states;

(3)The property in all goods ceases to be bound when any of these happens—

(a)the amount outstanding is paid, out of the proceeds of sale or otherwise;

(b)the instrument under which the power is exercisable ceases to have effect;

(c)the power ceases to be exercisable for any other reason.

 

 

In actual fact, Court Service CAN withdraw a warrant.

Section 88(8) of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 amended Paragraph 40A into schedule 5 of the Courts Act 2003, states;

(8)After paragraph 40 insert—

“Withdrawal of warrant of control by fines officer

40A(1)This paragraph applies if, in taking a step specified in a further steps notice or replacement notice, the fines officer has issued a warrant of control for the purpose of recovering the sum due.

(2)The fines officer may withdraw the warrant if

(a)P remains liable to pay any part of the sum due, and

(b)the fines officer is satisfied that the warrant was issued by mistake, including in particular a mistake made in consequence of the non-disclosure or misrepresentation of a material fact.

 

And commenced on 8th April 2013 by the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (Commencement No. 6) Order 2013

 

It makes no distinction between warrants executed by private or court bailiffs so, under this provision, the fines officer has authority to withdraw the warrant if it has been issued by mistake.

The Act is also specific that this includes mistakes caused by non-disclosure or misrepresentation of fact.