This is related to the now closed topic from mdpburn. Apologies if mods feel this should be closed, I don't intend to talk about the mdpburn's specific s59 but just section 59 in general. I am not a qualified legal adviser of any sort and this should not be construed as legal advice, always contact a suitably qualified solicitor etc etc.
Section 59 refers to Section 59 of Police Reform Act 2002 and gives the police powers to seize vehicles. The full bit of legislation is here
If you are driving:-
-without due care and attention (look at section 3 of the road traffic act for definition), or
-off road (section 34 road traffic act),
AND in an anti-social manner (likely to cause harassment, distress etc),
then you AND your car shall be given a warning under s59.
The officer only needs reasonable cause to believe that you've done the above (them seeing you is usually enough ) and also must be in uniform.
The warning is:-
If you continue driving in such a manner (i.e. drive off and do the same thing) or drive like that again within one year then your vehicle will be seized.
This does not have to be on a piece of paper (although always is) and is typically evidenced by a pocketbook entry from a police officer and an entry on local/national police databases. Some forces will send you a notification in the post.
The warning given applies for one year and is against both the vehicle and the driver independently.
Within that time if you are driving another car, are driving your car or someone else is driving your car without due care and attention or off road (and in an anti-social manner) then the car involved will be seized. After it is seized the warning is reset (although if you are driving another car and get it seized, your personal warning is reset but the warning against the original car is not).
The legislation makes no account for who owns the vehicle (although under section 60, the owner is not liable if he had no idea what the driver was doing (e.g. if his/her car is stolen) then he will not be liable for the seizure fine).
There is nothing in this law that states the driver/owner must be aware that they've already been warned so you cannot get off it this way. The law also allows for officers to seize a car without a warning if its not practical to do so (so for example a stolen vehicle being driven stupidly can be seized or the driver was drunk).
Section 59 also gives officers power to enter premises (except your house) to take a vehicle (i.e. if you go steaming into your lock up then the police may force the door open and take your car).
It is a criminal offence to refuse to stop and you will be arrested under section 59.
This is criminal law so is not something that can go to the small claims court who only deal with civil law. If you wish to challenge either a section 59 warning or the fines imposed for the seizure then you'll have to go to the magistrates court. You cannot take the recovery agent to small claims court because they are acting lawfully under section 60 of the same act. You may be able to take the previous car owner to court but it will depend on the contract between you and the seller and whether you can prove he wilfully omitted to tell you the car had a warning (if he didn't know then you're buggered).
For the warning/seizure to stand, the police must prove to the court that the officer had reasonable cause to believe you were driving without due care attention/off road and in an anti-social manner. They do not have to prove you actually committed the offence of driving without due care (although if they do, then you're in far more trouble anyway!)/off road in an anti-social manner - merely that they had reason to believe you were doing so.
I am not too sure of the actual process of initiating a challenge but I suspect a road traffic criminal solicitor would be your first call. You will then need to write to the police so that they can disclose evidence they have (officer pocket book, signed forms etc). It could be that the first s59 warning was not issued to your car or was issued incorrectly and it'll be dropped early doors - http://www.glass-uk.org/index.php?op...267&Itemid=492 seems to suggest this.
As far as I am aware there is no facility to claim for loss of earnings (only the fine and the costs of getting to court/getting legal help).
Hopefully that's not massively over long and is correct. I'd be interested to hear if anyone knows any better/has successfully challenged a s59.