Are you planning to move goods from the EU to the UK?

The UK-EU trade deal might have relaxed the new trading relationship, but the movement is still affected post-Brexit.  For instance, border security has increased after the end of the transition period.

These days, Border Force officers are conducting additional security checks when an EU vehicle arrives. Officers have the right to seize vehicles and goods if they detect custom offences, security threats, or illicit activities. The new border control process makes it necessary for transport companies to become more cautious about cross border transportation.  

Ensure that your paperwork is in order and your drivers are aware of their rights.

Here is what you can do if your goods get seized:

When Does UKBA Seize Your Goods?

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) has the authority to seize transport companies and goods if they suspect any illegal activity. The seizure can also happen if your breach the UK-EU trade deal or fail to submit authorized documents during cross-border checks.

UKBA can seize your vehicle if you are transporting:

  • Unlicensed tobacco or alcohol
  • Illegal goods (i.e. firearms or banned products)
  • Controlled drugs
  • Goods with outstanding taxes and custom charges

Transport companies with outstanding penalties for ‘clandestine entrants’ can also get seized when you are passing the border.  Avoid lashing out at the customs officers or becoming aggressive when your goods get seized. It’s best to tackle the situation through legal channels.

Can You Get Back Your Seized Vehicle/Goods?

Trading companies and independent contractors have the right to apply for restoration. You can make this claim even if you agree that the goods were lawfully seized. The letter gets addressed to Border Force.

Your application must include:

  • Your name and address, along with company details
  • Proof of ownership (for the vehicle and goods you purchased/manufactured)
  • Evidence to support your restoration request
  • Seizure reference number mentioned in the notice sent by UKBA
  • A detailed list of seized items (i.e. product names and quantity)

The authorities only consider restoration request s sent within 28 days of the seizure. You can do this if you suspect legality issues. You can also apply for compensation if your goods are destroyed/ disposed of before you submitted the application.

Moreover, you can also register a complaint against the customs officers who mistreated you during the seizure. The application can be addressed to Border Force (or HM Revenue and Customs), depending on the department supervising the proceedings.  Alternatively, you can file for a condemnation proceeding to claim an unlawful seizure. The UK court will conduct these proceedings.

How Can We Help?

Our experienced solicitors can offer practical legal advice and actionable solutions to address this matter. We can help you submit restoration request for seized goods and also negotiate a deal with UKBA.

Here are other services we offer:

  • Offering clear and concise advise on UK-EU trade deal and regulations
  • Drafting relevant legal applications and requests to initiate the restoration procedure
  • Challenging the legality of seizure in the court
  • Providing legal representation during negotiations with Border Force and the court
  • Requesting a compensation for transport businesses that dealt with financial consequences after UKBA seized the shipment

Rest assured we will do everything we can to safeguard your rights. You can also come to us for legal advice in arranging the correct documents for cross-border transportation. 

The Bottom Line
If your transport company gets seized, don’t hesitate to seek legal support. We can apply for a restoration request and appeal for misconduct within the designated period. These steps can protect your business and mitigate financial risks.

Need some legal advice on UK-EU trade deal and regulations? Contact us to schedule a consultation.

Further Reading