The United Kingdom Border Agency (UKBA) can seize someone’s belongings, including their motor vehicle if brought to the UK illegally. Additionally, using a vehicle to harbour an illegal immigrant into the UK can also result in vehicle seizure. With that said, this article highlights some crucial details about having a vehicle seized by the UKBA and your options if that happens to you.

Vehicle Seized by the UKBA

Vehicle seizure is the process in which the UKBA takes possession of your vehicle that they believe is liable to forfeiture based on the Customs and Excise Acts. The seizure may occur with or without the owner’s presence.

When the UKBA seizes a vehicle (or any personal goods, for that matter), it provides the owner with a notice of seizure. This notice will list down all belongings that were seized. If you are allowed, try to remove all of your other personal items from your vehicle before it is seized. This way, you won’t have to try to get those items returned as well.

The UKBA may or may not seize your vehicle in your presence or your agent’s presence. You or your agent will also be provided with a notice of seizure, in that case, detailing that your vehicle was seized and for what reason.

Before we look at your options, it’s important to understand that the ownership of your seized vehicle is not given up after the seizure. However, a court order or the passage of time could lead to the ownership transferring over to the state. That process is known as a forfeiture.

What You Can Do If Your Vehicle is Seized by the UKBA

A vehicle seized by the UKBA can be contested. There are three options on how you can approach this.

  • The first is to contest the legality of the vehicle seizure by the UKBA. So, you can send a notice explaining that the seizure was not made on legal grounds. You will only receive your vehicle back after it is proven that the seizure was not legal.
  • The second is restoration. This process involves accepting that the vehicle was seized legally and having it returned to you after.
  • The final option is a mixture of both. So, if you believe that the seizure was done illegally, then you can contest that and have the UKBA return your vehicle while the court still determines whether the seizure was legal or not.

Final Words

With any option you choose, you will need an experienced lawyer that can help prepare a defence strategy for you to have your personal belongings back in your possession. Losing your vehicle through forfeiture is a significant loss in terms of the vehicle’s value as an investment. So, an experienced solicitor can help guide you on what to do to receive a favourable outcome with any vehicle seized by the UKBA.