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Court Summons

  • 08-01-2022 9:55pm
    Registered Users Posts: 51 ✭✭


    I could do with some legal advice.

    I received a court summons today in relation to driving without insurance. The incident happened on 02/12/2020.

    I moved across from the UK to Ireland in April 2020. I brought across my car which had a UK plate. In order to change the plates over to Irish plates I tried to book a VRT appointment. However, because of Covid all of the NCT centres were closed. I finally managed to get an appointment on 30/11/2020 where I was able to get my Irish plates. I was told that I should wait 24 hours after I paid the motor tax (paid on 01/12/2020) before changing the plates over which I did.

    At the time of the incident I had my UK Plates on. I was pulled over by the Gards. They asked me to produce my insurance documents. I showed them my UK insurance policy which was valid until Feb 2021. They said that it wasn't valid in Ireland. Apparently, I can only drive up to 90 days with my UK insurance policy in Ireland. I admit I wasnt aware of this. I had tried to get Irish insurance on my UK plates on websites like Chill but when i wented my registration it came up with error messages such as 'Your vehicle registration must be in the format 131X123456 or 07XX123456'.

    After the incident, I went home and got Irish insurance on my Irish plates and put the Irish plates on the car. I had to go to the Police station the next day to show this in order get the car from the compound.

    I have never had a court summons before or never been to court. So I have no idea how to proceed with this.

    1. Do I have a defence? For example, had Covid not had happened I would have got the car VRTd within 30 days of entering Ireland and obviously then got Irish insurance. Moving countries can also be stressful - lots of things to do and register for and its easy to miss something like only being allowed to drive with UK insurance for 90 days. We also had our first baby in June 2020. This is also my first offence ever like this.
    2. Should I appoint a solicitor?
    3. The Gard who served me said I could contact the officer who alleged the offence. Should I do this?

    Any help would be much appreciated



  • Registered Users Posts: 7,661 ✭✭✭whippet

    From what I can make out .. at the time of the alleged offence you didn't have an insurance policy which was valid for driving the car in Ireland at the time.

    you have said that you tried to get insurance prior to being stopped but as you were on Uk plates you couldn't get a policy. This doesn't seem to tally up with the fact that you are saying that you were under the belief that your UK policy was still valid

    id say that you have no real defence to the offence that you are being summonsed for.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,622 ✭✭✭Aint Eazy Being Cheezy

    It’s interesting that the summons serving Garda told you to contact the alleging Garda. Usually they wouldn’t bother. So I’d probably start there. Then if they’re still going to persue it, I’d go to a solicitor. You have a reasonable explanation, whether it’s enough or not is something the solicitor will help you on.

  • Registered Users Posts: 478 ✭✭costacorta

    I think you definitely should consult a solicitor as you are facing a 500€ fine and could be 12 months driving ban .

    if you can convince judge with what you told us here he can let you off with ban in exceptional situations and you just get the fine .

    A solicitor would be better at explaining to judge and he will also tell you beforehand what your chances are as he’d know what way judge Usually works as they would see these cases every day in court .

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,028 ✭✭✭standardg60

    Contact your UK insurance company. If they were covering you to drive in Ireland then you're fine.

  • Registered Users Posts: 26,891 ✭✭✭✭Dempo1

    Why the delay in a summons for this alleged offence, I know there was some covid court delays but a full year , seems odd to be summons for road traffic offence 🤔

    I don't believe a judge will accept covid related delays re getting new plates/ registering car on Irish plates as the rules are quite clear about driving a car on Irish roads

    A solicitor is a must in a no insurance case and whilst mitigating factors may not be accepted an experienced solicitor can present them better.

    At this late stage , I honestly doubt making contact with prosecuting Garda would be of any benefit.

    Is maith an scáthán súil charad.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 531 ✭✭✭Speedline

    I would make enquiries as to when the summons was APPLIED for. I know for some motoring offences, the garda must apply for a summons within 6 months from the date of the offence.

  • Registered Users Posts: 51 ✭✭Fernagx

    The reason that I tried to get Irish insurance on my UK plate was that my UK Insurance policy was only third party. I wanted a fully comp. But when I entered my reg on an Irish insurance website it didnt recognise it and allow me to proceed. That makes sense as why would an Irish insurance system recognise cars registered in other countries.

    Not sure about the delay in the summons.

    It was impossible for me to get Irish plates when I moved. All of the NCT centres were closed due to Covid. I have screenshots of me trying to book appointments and the messages on the NCT website.

    Would you know who I make the enquiries with?

    Thanks for all the responses so far.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,666 ✭✭✭Gusser09

    Solicitor all the way lad.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,978 ✭✭✭Caranica

    Did you actually call any Irish insurance companies? Websites are not the only way to get cover. A judge would jump on that.

  • Registered Users Posts: 51 ✭✭Fernagx

    I didn't call any insurers.

    I'll get legal advice. It looks like the application for the summons was Feb 2021.

    I'd be gutted if I got disqualified which I think could happen.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 9,978 ✭✭✭Caranica

    You definitely need a solicitor so. "Computer says no" is no defence.

    Also the NCT centres began to reopen in June. You say you've screenshots of trying to book online but they also had contacts for urgent tests, did you try those? How far away did you look for NCT centres, were you just trying the one nearest you?

    Best hope is that there's a technicality with the summons.

  • Registered Users Posts: 51 ✭✭Fernagx

    Summons looks ok to me. The only thing i will say is that the registration number referenced on the summons is different to the one that was on the car at the time of the offence. As indicated above the registration plate on the car was my UK plate. Howver, they have referenced the Irish plate on the summons.

    I've messaged a few solicitors. Will make some calls tomorrow. Does anyone have any recommendations for solicitors regarding motoring offences?

  • Registered Users Posts: 51 ✭✭Fernagx

    They opened in June but I think that was for NCT only. I'd be lying if i said i was checking on a weekly basis but it was at least every 2 weeks. I checked all Dublin centres but there was a time when you couldnt leave the county.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,046 ✭✭✭silver2020

    As a poster said above, if you can get the UK insurance company to confirm that you were covered, you are fine.

    The standard EU cover is 90 days, but many will allow cover for longer. The policy booklet may even have the details.

    And of course you had moved back due to covid and only decided to stay permanently in October.

    Btw, at any point did you drive back to the UK? Even just for a few days?

    On another thread you say that you intended to go back to the UK - if you still have a copy of those tickets, that would help

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,028 ✭✭✭standardg60

    OP never answered my post re the UK insurance cover, in which case i assumed it was no longer in place. My sympathy waned after that.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,978 ✭✭✭Caranica

    You could leave your county from mid June. I live in Dublin and have done NCTs in Meath and Kildare when I couldn't get appointments in Dublin. Sorry OP but it really looks like you didn't make a genuine effort to sort this out.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,426 ✭✭✭maestroamado

    My understanding is insurance is valid for 6 months within the EU for members which UK were at the time, the fact that VRT could not process is to your favor... check the current rules between Ireland and EU as these are the rules applied to you at the time....

    Correction you were here more than the 6months...

  • Registered Users Posts: 622 ✭✭✭Minier81

    Attending for nct was considered an essential trip so you could leave your county.....

    Post edited by Minier81 on

  • Registered Users Posts: 51 ✭✭Fernagx

    Yes - I still have copies of these. But the trip got cancelled due to Covid restrictions i.e. couldn't travel. So we got a travel credit. But I have proof of booking which is evidence of my intent to travel.

    I will call the UK insurance company tomorrow.

  • Registered Users Posts: 51 ✭✭Fernagx

    Apologies - I will contact them on Monday to see whether this was the case.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 51 ✭✭Fernagx

    The NCT isn't in question here. The alleged offence is that the insurance wasn't valid. I could have still got Irish insurance on my UK plate and then there wouldnt have been an issue.

    NCT centres were open but I think they were only doing NCTs and not VRT appointments. The following is stated on the NCTS website:In line with the Governments Roadmap all National Car Testing (NCT) Centres have been open since 29 June at reduced capacity. Due to the reduced capacity customers may not be able to obtain preferred dates.

    Customers should note that the details above are subject to change in line with health and safety guidance. Any changes will be notified here.

    In view of current circumstances, for inspections carried out up to and including 31st December:

    • all vehicles that are presented for registration will be valued based on the date they are presented
    • and
    • as Centres were closed, customers will not be charged any additional VRT during this period due to exceeding the 30-day limit.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,035 ✭✭✭afatbollix

    You asked this last year. I replied to you then.

    You didn't have insurance. End of story. I'm afraid you should go expecting to be banned and anything other than that count yourself lucky.

  • Registered Users Posts: 51 ✭✭Fernagx

    I still need to call the insurance company. However, I found this wording on their general policy booklet:

    Territorial limits This policy provides the cover described in your schedule in Great Britain, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands and during journeys between these places. 2 Using your car abroad This policy also provides the minimum cover you need by law to use your car in: • any country which is a member of the European Union; and • Jersey, Guernsey, Isle of Man and any country listed below which the Commission of the European Community approves as meeting the requirements of Article 8 of EC Directive 2009/103/EC on Insurance of Civil Liabilities arising from using motor vehicles. Countries included: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. 3 Extending your policy cover abroad For an extra premium, your policy can be extended for an agreed period to provide the same level of cover under section B, C & D as you have in the territorial limits, (providing you currently have this cover – please refer to your schedule). Your car will also be covered during journeys between those countries by a recognised carrier. However, you must call us to arrange cover. Cover in these countries only applies if your permanent home is in the United Kingdom and your visit abroad is for less than 90 days in a period of insurance

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,978 ✭✭✭Caranica

    You say yourself you "could have got Irish insurance on your UK plates" except you phoned ZERO Irish Insurance companies. You tried a few aggregator websites, maybe even company websites but at no point did you pick up the phone. My point stands.

  • Registered Users Posts: 51 ✭✭Fernagx

    One question I had was that I've been told that Gards have a device then when cars go by they can see if a car has insurance or not. So when my car went by surely the device would have said I had insurance albeit a UK insurance policy.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,426 ✭✭✭maestroamado

    AFAIK the 90 days is for holiday... i think if we decide to move within the EU our insurance valid for 180 days... This is from memory and i am happy to be corrected...

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,046 ✭✭✭silver2020

    I don't know whether you are a troll or just niaeve, but this is Ireland, your insurance was in the UK.

    Do you seriously expect the gardai to have a world database of insurance?

    Seems you just couldn't be really bothered and got caught.

  • Registered Users Posts: 219 ✭✭champchamp


  • Registered Users Posts: 24,138 ✭✭✭✭lawred2

    I brought in a focus from the UK in September 2020, NCT done, VRT done, Irish plates, tax and insurance all done before end of September. In Dublin.

    I'm not sure April to December is justifiable.

    You say you never rang an insurer - did you ring the NCT?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 68,317 ✭✭✭✭seamus

    The policy wording isn't 100% clear. It suggests that you were not covered in the EU because you weren't resident in the UK and you were outside the 90 day limit.

    But it also expressly includes the Republic in its base territorial cover.

    So yes, you need to ring the UK insurer.

    You also need to get a solicitor to spin this in the best light for you. If you go into court pleading the same, "I forgot and things weren't open" story as you've concocted here, the judge will see right through it.