Clandestine Entrants | Clandestine Entrants Checklist | Fine Appeals

Expert team of Barristers and Solicitors with years of experience in providing advice and representation in Road Transport Law.

Clandestine Entrants and Challenging Civil Penalties

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Every year, many thousands of illegal migrants break into and hide inside vehicles entering the UK. In most of these cases you, as the haulier operating the vehicle, will have no idea that the migrants are on board.

Despite this, if one your vehicles is stopped by the UK Border Force with migrants on board, you can expect to receive a heavy fine (Civil Penalty) unless you can demonstrate that you have complied with the new Regulations, which now require owners, hires and driver to carry out security checks (the ‘standard checks’) and keep records  before and during a journey to the UK. You can find these new Regulations ain the Carriers’ Liability Regulations 2023.

If you cannot show that you have complied with the Regulations, you will be liable to pay up to £10,000 per migrant AND the driver can also be liable to pay up to £10,000 per migrant AND you as the owner/hirer will be liable to pay both yours and the drivers penalties, so, a maximum of £20,000 for each immigrant carried.

Recent SBC cases on appeal have considered penalties ranging from £220,000 down to £10,000.

If you fail to pay your penalty you can expect your vehicle to be seized and sold, or even destroyed, by the UK Border Force.

There is also a new Penalty, maximum £6,000, which can be imposed if Border Force think your vehicle is not properly secure, even where there are no illegal migrants inside!

Challenging Your Civil Penalty

You have the right to appeal against both the imposition of your Civil Penalty, and its amount. The appeal process consists of two routes:

  • A Notice of Objection to the Border Force. This entails the submission of written representations and supporting evidence to the Border Force. Using this route, our specialist transport lawyers have a high success rate in dramatically reducing the amount of penalty payable, without the need to go to court. This is often the most cost-effective route.


  • An Appeal to the County Court. Here a Judge will consider all of the evidence, including whether the penalty should have been imposed at all and, if so, whether it was too high.


NOTE that you can still apply to the Court if you are unhappy with the outcome of the Notice of Objection procedure, and many of our clients follow both routes of appeal, one after the other.

We offer a cost-effective, fixed-fee arrangement designed to cover these steps and to provide you with certainty as to your costs.

Contact us to find out more.

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