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Clandestine Entrants and defending civil penalties

The law places duties and obligations on drivers and Operators to take steps to prevent clandestine entrants from gaining access to the UK. Civil penalties of up to £2000 per clandestine entrant can be levied against both operator and, separately, the driver, unless it can be demonstrated that:

  • You did not know or you had no reasonable grounds for suspecting, that a clandestine entrant was, or might be, concealed in your vehicle;
  • The operator had an effective system for preventing the carriage of clandestine entrants; and
  • That the system for preventing the carriage of clandestine entrants was in proper operation on the day in question.

Failure to pay penalties will result in the vehicle being seized.


You have the right to appeal against both the penalty and the amount of a penalty but there are strictly- applied time-limits to the appeal process. Miss those time limits and you pay. 

The appeal process consists of two routes: an application to the Secretary of State to review the penalty and separately, an appeal to the County Court. Both routes may be followed at the same time. The Review process entails the submission of written representations to the Secretary of State, who may cancel or reduce the penalty. 

The County Court process consists of a hearing at that court where the Judge will consider all of the evidence and whether the penalty should have been imposed at all, and if so, was too high. 

How we can help

Cartwright King lawyers regularly conduct appeals both through the Review Process and in the County Court. We have a team of specialist transport solicitors who can assist wherever you are based. Please feel free to call us on 0808 168 5550 or email for a no obligation, free initial discussion.

We also have a network of offices in BirminghamBedfordDerbyLeedsLeicesterLondon TempleManchesterMiddlesbroughNorthamptonNottingham and Sheffield.

Case Study: We are currently representing an overseas client in a landmark appeal to the Court of Appeal.


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