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Failing to stop/provide details after an accident and failing to report an accident
Failure to give information as to identity of driver
False imprisonment
Reprimands and final warnings
Financial Services Authority (FSA)
Fine
Fixed Penalty Notice (Driving)
Fraud
Mareva order/Freezing injunction

Failing to stop/provide details after an accident and failing to report an accident

Failing to stop, provide details or report an accident is an offence that can, in the most serious of circumstances; result in a custodial sentence being passed. In addition to being an offence that attracts penalty points, the court also has discretion to disqualify a driver.

The duty to stop applies to any driver who was involved in an accident which involved personal injury to someone else or damage to property (including animals).

The duty to provide details will apply if required by any person having reasonable grounds for so requiring them (e.g. the driver of another car involved in the accident) requests them. In these circumstances, the following information must be supplied:-

  • name
  • address
  • registration number
  • name of owner of vehicle
  • address of owner of vehicle

An insurance certificate must be produced if requested. If is not produced it must be produced at a police station within seven days.

In the event of the above details not being supplied or where personal injury has been caused and an insurance certificate has not been produced, there is an additional duty to report the accident to the police within a reasonable time (and at the latest within 24 hours).

It is a defence to show that the driver was unaware of the accident.

Failure to give information as to identity of driver

An individual who receives a Notice of Intended Prosecution is under an obligation to notify the details of the driver at the time of the alleged offence. The Notice of Intended Prosecution will have been sent to the registered keeper of the vehicle (identified via the registration number) and thus the driver on the day may be different. Failure to give information as to identity of driver within 28 days is itself an offence (endorsable by six penalty points). It is of course in the interests of a registered keeper to notify the police if it was not them driving the vehicle.

False imprisonment

False imprisonment is the confinement/restraint of an individual by another without lawful excuse.

False imprisonment is a civil cause of action (a trespass to the person). False imprisonment is also a criminal offence where the unlawful and intentional or reckless detention of the victim is established.

Reprimands and final warnings

A Reprimand or Final Warning is similar to a caution; however it may only be administered to a juvenile. It is an alternative method of disposing with a criminal offence (as opposed to a prosecution) and an attempt to keep a juvenile out of the criminal justice system.

A Reprimand or Warning is administered by the police, often following consultation with a Youth Offending Team. Reprimands and Warnings are not the same as a criminal conviction and carry no form of punishment as such. However, a Warning will result in the referral of the juvenile by the police to a Youth Offending Team, which will normally require the juvenile to participate in a rehabilitation programme. The intended purpose of a rehabilitation programme is to tackle the needs of the child and to attempt to prevent them from re-offending. A Reprimand or Warning may be referred to in court if the defendant is subsequently convicted of a separate offence.

A Reprimand or Final Warning may only be imposed if:-

  • There is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of a conviction
  • The juvenile suspect admits that he is guilty of the offence; and
  • The police must be satisfied that it would not be in the public interest for the juvenile suspect to be prosecuted.

A Reprimand is likely to be administered for less serious matters (as opposed to a Warning or a charge), although a second Reprimand may be administered if sufficient time has passed and the juvenile has stayed out of trouble. A juvenile suspect who has previously received both a Reprimand and a Warning is unlikely to be offered a further warning, and will normally be charged (as will a juvenile suspect accused of a serious offence).

Financial Services Authority (FSA)

The Financial Services Authority is a regulatory body that oversees the conduct of individuals and institutions working in the financial services sector.

Various activities (specified investment activities) require FSA authorisation and may only be carried out by authorised persons. The FSA may take action criminal or civil action against individuals or organisations that carry out regulated activity without authorisation. Additionally, the FSA may take action against regulated individuals/organisations that do not operate in accordance with its regulations.

It was announced in June 2010 that the FSA in its current form will be abolished.

Fine

A fine is a type of sentence that can be passed upon conviction in the magistrate’s court or crown court.

Subject to any maximum imposed by statute, the size of the fine imposed will depend on the circumstances of the offence(s) and the defendant's personal financial circumstances.
For matters dealt with in the magistrates' court, statutes normally refer to the maximum fine that can be imposed in terms of standard levels (e.g. level 1: £200, level 2: £500, level 3: £1,000, level 4: £2,500 and level 5: £5,000).

Magistrates' Court Sentencing Guidelines promote consistency by recommending fines equivalent to 50, 100 or 150% of the defendant's weekly take-home pay/benefit, depending on the seriousness of the offence (subject to the maximum allowed by statute for that particular offence).

For matters deal with in the crown court, the court normally has the power to impose an unlimited fine. The actual fine imposed will depend on the circumstances of the offence(s) and the defendant's personal financial circumstances.

Fixed Penalty Notice (Driving)

An individual may receive a Fixed Penalty Notice from the police or through the post.
The purpose of Fixed Penalty Notices is to streamline the punishment of minor driving offences such as speeding. By accepting a Fixed Penalty Notice an individual is in effect admitting the offence and accepting the level of the fine/penalty points imposed.

If the recipient of a Fixed Penalty Notice does not accept liability for the offence he/she is still required to identify the driver (failing to give information/provide identity of driver is a separate offence). If the Fixed Penalty Notice is not accepted after a certain period of time an individual is liable to be summonsed. The prosecution will then be obliged to serve evidence and a trial will take place in the magistrates' court. The level of fine and/or penalty points will normally be higher if a driver is convicted after a trial (in the absence of a credible defence, the court may well take the view that the trial was a waste of time). However, disputing the matter at trial is the only way of defending the allegation.

Fixed Penalty Notice for Disorder
Similar in principle to a driving Fixed Penalty Notice, a Penalty Notice for Disorder is used in a variety of situations where otherwise the recipient might be charged with a criminal offence, for example:

  • intentionally harassing or scaring people
  • being drunk and disorderly in public
  • destroying or damaging property
  • petty shoplifting
  • selling alcohol to underage customers/somebody who is obviously drunk

No admission of guilt is required. If a Fixed Penalty Notice for Disorder is not paid then it increases and is lodged with the local magistrates' court. It is treated like an unpaid court fine (and thus theoretically could result in the recipient being imprisoned).

Fixed Penalty Notices are also now used to deal with environmental offences such as litter, graffiti and dog fouling, and can be issued by local authority officers and police community support officers.

Fraud

Fraud is an intentional deception made for either personal gain or to cause another individual to lose out.

The term "fraud" is often used to describe a category of offences (for instance the term may be used in relation to offences such as forgery, false accounting and money laundering).

However, three specific offences of fraud were introduced by the Fraud Act 2006 ("fraud by misrepresentation", "fraud by failing to disclose information [where a legal duty exists to disclose]" and "fraud by abuse of position". Fraud by misrepresentation is the most common of these offences.

The common law offence of "conspiracy to defraud" is often charged in relation to alleged large scale frauds involving several parties.

Fraud can also give rise to a civil cause of action.

Mareva order/Freezing injunction

A Mareva order/Freezing injunction is a civil court order that prevents the defendant dealing with/disposing of his/her assets (all their assets, specified assets or assets up to a certain value). Its purpose is to prevent a defendant from frustrating a prospective future judgment of the court by dissipating/concealing his/her assets.

Breaching a freezing injunction or knowingly assisting someone in breaching a freezing injunction is a contempt of court. As such, when a freezing injunction is served on a defendant's bank, it tends to freeze the defendant's accounts immediately. This may happen before the defendant knows of the application/has been served with a copy of the order.

Before granting a freezing injunction the court will need to be satisfied that:-

  1. The applicant has a good arguable case against the defendant.
  2. There is a real risk that the defendant will either remove assets from the jurisdiction or dissipate them so as to frustrate a judgment; and
  3. It would be just and convenient in the circumstances to grant the order sought.

A freezing injunction is generally applied for on a without notice basis (to prevent dissipation prior to the granting of the order), usually with a return date for a hearing (on notice) fixed for a time not long thereafter. The purpose of the return hearing is so that the defendant has the opportunity to argue before the court that the order shouldn't have been imposed or that its terms are too restrictive.

The initial application should be supported by evidence in the form of an affidavit. The applicant must make "full and frank disclosure" of all matters which are "material" (i.e. relevant) to the court, even if they are unhelpful to his/her case. The full and frank disclosure obligation is an onerous one, but if it is not complied with, and the defendant can show this on the return date, the freezing injunction is likely to be discharged with costs ordered against the applicant. The applicant may also be liable for any damages suffered as a result of an improperly obtained freezing injunction. The applicant is likely to be liable for such costs and damages even if he/she goes on to win the substantive matter.

It is a requirement before the grant of a freezing injunction that the applicant gives a "cross-undertaking in damages". This is an undertaking to abide by any order for damages which may be made if the defendant or an affected third party suffers loss as a result of the freezing injunction and the court is of the opinion that the applicant should compensate them. In this regard, the court may also require an applicant to put up a security.

Applying for a freezing injunction can therefore be a very high risk strategy with adverse costs consequences if either the application is not made properly or is fundamentally misguided.

A defendant may at any time apply to the court to discharge or vary a freezing injunction, albeit that minor variations can normally be agreed between the parties (which will either be allowed under the terms of the order or, if not, can be catered for by way of a consent order).

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