Alcohol & Tobacco

If you have had goods seized or detained by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) or the UK Border Agency, you can challenge the seizure and apply to have your goods returned.

If this is the case you should have been issued with either:

  • A Notice of Seizure (sent to you if you or your agent, if you were not present when the thing was seized); or
  • A Seizure Information Notice on form C156 (handed to you or your agent if HMRC seized the thing in your or their presence).

The reason why the goods have been seized should have been explained to the person present at the time of seizure. When customs officers seize goods in transit they can also seize the vehicle that is carrying the goods.

If you intend to challenge the seizure, you have the following options to consider:

  • Appeal against the legality of the seizure by sending HMRC or UK Border Agency a Notice of Claim; and/or
  • Ask HMRC in writing to return the seized item(s) to you, even if you accept that HMRC or UK Border Agency had a legal right to seize it – this is called Restoration. There is a separate appeals process for people who are dissatisfied with decisions about returning things. This involves an internal review, followed by a right to appeal to an independent Tribunal.

Our Litigation team have a wide depth of knowledge and understanding in contesting the legality of the seizure, together with negotiating with HMRC to return the seized item(s) in the meantime. Prompt action is absolutely vital where goods have been seized.

We can deal expertly with the management of the Restoration negotiations with HMRC together with the appeals.

We are skilled in handling Condemnation proceedings at court and are able to provide effective and prompt advice. We are also experienced in Magistrates Court; First Tier Tax Tribunal; Court of Appeal; European Convention on Human Rights; Administrative Court and Injunctions.

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