The applicants wished to challenge the confiscation of their goods by the Commissioners of Customs and Excise on their return to Dover. They appealed the refusal of Legal Aid.
Held: The Convention guaranteed the right to legal assistance for someone charged with a criminal offence and who could not afford representation, but these condemnation proceedings were civil not criminal. The claimants argued that a finding against them involved a finding of reprehensible behaviour (Engel), but this mistook the court’s function which was to decide whether the goods were liable to seizure.
Phillips of Worth Matravers, MR, Brooke, Laws LJJ
Times 07-Feb-2003,  EWCA Civ 237,  QB 1238,  2 WLR 1344
Access to Justice Act 1999 12(2), Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 Sch 3 para 6, European Convention on Human Rights 6
England and Wales
Cited – Goldsmith and Another v Commissioners of Customs and Excise QBD 7-Jun-2001
The applicants were stopped after bringing into the country 26 kilos of tobacco, without declaring it. The customs applied for an order condemning the tobacco. The applicants argued that the proceedings were, in effect, criminal proceedings, and . .
Cited – Engel And Others v The Netherlands (1) ECHR 8-Jun-1976
The court was asked whether proceedings in a military court against soldiers for disciplinary offences involved criminal charges within the meaning of Article 6(1): ‘In this connection, it is first necessary to know whether the provision(s) defining . .
Cited – Gora and others v Commissioners of Customs and Excise and others CA 11-Apr-2003
The appellants challenged decisions of the VAT and Duties Tribunal after seizure of their goods, and in particular whether the cases had been criminal or civil cases and following Roth, whether the respondent’s policy had been lawful and . .
These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 09 May 2021; Ref: scu.178991