Last Updated on 13.7.23 by Paul Reddy
The recent case of the Most Reverend Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, serves as a striking reminder of the potential repercussions of traffic offences, particularly speeding. The Archbishop was fined £500 and given three penalty points for exceeding the speed limit by 5mph. However, it wasn’t just the speeding offence that landed him in hot water. Administrative errors compounded the penalty, and the Archbishop ended up paying an extra £400. In this blog, we’ll explore what happened and what you can learn from it to avoid similar pitfalls.
The Cost of Administrative Errors
In the Archbishop’s case, administrative errors had significant financial consequences. Despite his efforts to resolve the issue and pay the fine on three separate occasions, the case still ended up in court. This resulted in him having to pay additional court costs and a victim surcharge, which totalled £400.
This highlights the importance of ensuring that all the administrative aspects of your case are handled correctly. If you’re facing a traffic offence, it’s vital to keep all relevant documents and evidence, organised and to follow all procedures promptly and accurately. If you’re unsure, it may be worth seeking legal advice to ensure you don’t inadvertently increase your fines due to administrative errors.
The Expected Penalty for Speeding
In the UK, the standard fine for exceeding the speed limit in a 20mph zone by up to 10mph is a £100 fine and three penalty points on your licence. This is the Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) that the police can issue without taking the case to court.
Therefore, in the Archbishop’s case, where he was recorded driving at 25mph in a 20mph zone, the penalty should have been a £100 fine and three penalty points. This is what he would have paid had there been no administrative errors leading to court involvement.
Once a case goes to court, the potential penalties can significantly increase. This is what happened to the Archbishop, who ended up with a total financial penalty of £510 (£300 fine, £120 victim surcharge, and £90 in legal costs) plus the original three penalty points.
It’s important to note that these ‘hidden’ costs are not truly hidden. They are outlined in the Sentencing Council guidelines, but many people are unaware of them until they find themselves facing a court case. The victim surcharge is a fee paid to a fund that helps victims of crime, while legal costs cover the expenses of taking the case to court.
Traffic offences may seem minor, but as the Archbishop’s case shows, they can have serious financial consequences, particularly if administrative errors are made. It’s crucial to handle all aspects of your case promptly and accurately, to avoid escalating costs. If you’re unsure, consider seeking legal advice. Remember, it’s always better to stay within the speed limit to avoid any penalties in the first place. Drive safely!
Our team of Specialist Road Traffic Defence lawyers here at Gorvins LLP are able to assist with this legal process.