Registration of debt, order of recovery and witness statement (bus lane)
Registration of Debt, Order for Recovery, Warrant of Execution and Witness Statement (Formerley a Statutory Declaration)for a Bus Lane PCN
If after 14 days of a charge certificate being served the penalty charge is still not paid, the local authority may register it as a debt at the Traffic Enforcement Centre. You should be notified by the council that they have done this.
The local authority may then recover the penalty through the county court:
- the county court, on application from the local authority, will authorise the authority to draw up an Order for Recovery. The local authority will serve this order on you, with a Witness Statement form (previously a Statutory Declaration).
- if the penalty is not then paid, the authority may apply to the court for a Warrant of Execution, which will then allow the enforcing authority to instruct bailiffs to recover the debt.
Your next steps
You must either:
Pay the outstanding charge,
lodge a Witness Statement (formerley a Statutory Declaration) at the Traffic Enforcement Centre.
Witness Statement (formerley a Statutory Declaration)
You can under certain circumstances, reverse the situation by completing a witness statement under one of the grounds set out below. The reason that this procedure exists is because if you did not receive the relevant documents throughout the process your right of appeal may have been prejudiced or you may not have known that your appeal had gone against you if you did not receive notification of this from the council or the bus lane adjudicator.
You may only make a witness statement if the council has registered the penalty as a debt at the County Court. Usually the council will have sent you a form known as a “Notice of Debt Registration”, in which case the witness statement form will be sent to you by the council with this Notice. If you did not receive these documents then you may ask the County Court to provide a witness statement form.
A witness statement must be witnessed by a Justice of the Peace or Commissioner for Oaths (a solicitor). It is a criminal offence to make a witness statement if you know or believe its contents not to be true. There is a charge of £5 for “swearing” the document made by a solicitor.
There are just three grounds on which a Witness Statement may be made.
- you did not receive the Enforcement Notice in question; or
- you made representations to the local authority concerned but did not receive a Notice of Rejection from that authority; or
- you appealed to the Adjudicator against the rejection by the local authority of your representations but had no response to the appeal.
If, and ONLY if, one of these applies, you may make a witness statement.
The completed witness statement should be returned to the Traffic Enforcement Centre within 21 days beginning with the date of service of the Order for Recovery, although there are provisions for the court to allow longer.
A witness statement may only be made by the person against whom an Order for Recovery has been made.
For information available from the Traffic Enforcement Centre on the Statutory Declaration procedure and downloadable forms, click here (External link.)
What happens next depends on the grounds for making the Witness Statement.
- if the ground is that the Enforcement Notice was not received, the Order for Recovery, the Charge Certificate and Enforcement Notice are cancelled. The local authority may then issue a new Enforcement Notice and the procedure starts again from that point if they decide to pursue you.
- if the ground is that the Notice of Rejection or a decision from the Adjudicator was not received, the local authority must refer the Witness Statement to the Adjudicator who will decide what will happen next.
NOTE: the original Penalty Charge Notice is NOT cancelled and an enforcing authority may well decide to re-start the process again although quite often they do not.