Confusing an out of court settlement for criminal matters with some sort of civil litigation?

Tazi Hupefi

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Moderator note: Spilt from https://www.railforums.co.uk/threads/thameslink-fraud-mentioned-settlement-possible.220101/

As an out-of-court settlement in place of a criminal prosecution, I think they can ask for the amount of money that puts them back into the position they would have been in if the person concerned had not committed the offences alleged. Both sides would expect that a court would enforce such an agreement i.e. once paid, any attempt to prosecute could easily be blocked, and an attempt to ask the courts to force the money to be returned would fail. That means paying the total difference between what was actually paid and what would have been paid if the correct tickets were bought in the first place, plus any costs that are not unreasonable and were specifically incurred dealing with the case. The company is not meant to use the threat of a private prosecution to make any profit, nor abuse its position as a company permitted to operate trains to make money in ways outside the parameters of its operating agreement with the government such as attempting to impose any "penalty". (If they want you to pay any penalty, then they should prosecute and allow the court to decide the level to set that at.) So in short, yes, that means working out how much you avoided paying and paying that back, plus some administration costs.

Now, separately under civil law, the train company might argue that a higher amount is owed according to the contract set out in the National Rail Conditions of Travel, perhaps based on the cost of Anytime single tickets and potentially disregarding some or all of the fares already paid. So the two figures - a lower one based on criminal law, and a more uncertain higher one based on civil law - provide a range within which it may be possible to negotiate a settlement figure. With a prosecution, the criminal court is more likely to award compensation based on the lower figure, but with a negotiated settlement the company might get something closer to the higher figure and avoid the uncertainty of leaving it to the courts to determine the amount. The £43,000 settlement mentioned earlier appeared to be based on paying new single fares and probably at the top end of the range that a civil court might have awarded. After the press coverage, some people called for prosecution but that got nowhere - people couldn't find a way around the out-of-court settlement. There was a separate Chiltern case in the press where, after conviction, the criminal courts only awarded an amount at the low end of the range, calculated on the basis that the offender would have bought season tickets not singles.
I think you're confusing an out of court settlement for criminal matters with some sort of civil litigation.

Before court, the operator can ask for absolutely anything they like.
At court, as you say, it's actual losses only, but you also end up with a conviction.
 
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island

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I think you're confusing an out of court settlement for criminal matters with some sort of civil litigation.

Before court, the operator can ask for absolutely anything they like.
At court, as you say, it's actual losses only, but you also end up with a conviction.
There is also the matter that, if the case is prosecuted summarily, many of the offences will be out of time to be prosecuted – though given the extent of the conduct, it could go to Crown Court for fraud by false representation rather than to Magistrates for fare evasion.
 
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AlterEgo

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There is also the matter that, if the case is prosecuted summarily, many of the offences will be out of time to be prosecuted – though given the extent of the conduct, it could go to Crown Court for fraud by false representation rather than to Magistrates for fare evasion.
What false representation has been made by a passenger who simply doughnuts in this way? Someone who short fares for a year undetected has...avoided the fare due, not committed a fraud. Not every kind of non-theft dishonesty is a fraud.

This is a RORA offence which is summary only and as you point out, by the time it gets to laying papers before a court, many if not most of the offences couldn't be tried because of the six month statute of limitations on these offences.
 
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island

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What false representation has been made by a passenger who simply doughnuts in this way?
Falsely representing that the passenger was travelling from A to B and C to D, and not from A to D, in order to make a gain, by avoiding paying the full cost of the passenger’s travel. A gain includes a gain by keeping what one has as well as getting what one does not have (sections 2 and 5, Fraud Act 2006).
 

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Falsely representing that the passenger was travelling from A to B and C to D, and not from A to D, in order to make a gain, by avoiding paying the full cost of the passenger’s travel. A gain includes a gain by keeping what one has as well as getting what one does not have (sections 2 and 5, Fraud Act 2006).
Mmmmm. IANAL and will drop the point for the purity of the thread, although privately I'm intrigued as to how "representation" would be defined in the OP's case when their interaction with the TOC has been to scan in through a barrier with a valid ticket and then out again.
 

island

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Mmmmm. IANAL and will drop the point for the purity of the thread, although privately I'm intrigued as to how "representation" would be defined in the OP's case when their interaction with the TOC has been to scan in through a barrier with a valid ticket and then out again.
I think section 2 (5) defines “representation” widely enough to incorporate it.

Happy to pick up in PM if you wish :smile:
 

furlong

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I think you're confusing an out of court settlement for criminal matters with some sort of civil litigation.
Before court, the operator can ask for absolutely anything they like.
I disagree - both sides are constrained by the requirement for any such agreement to be enforceable by the courts. As a matter of public policy, the courts don't appear to uphold demands to pay penalties to avoid private prosecutions (otherwise anyone could try to do this to make money for themselves), and the DfT similarly seems to take the view that a train company cannot use its license to operate trains as a method of imposing a penalty except in the ways that law and regulations set out. But the tried-and-tested formula involving reimbursement of actual losses and directly-incurred costs appears to be uncontroversial and enforceable.

On the long-term 'doughnutting' question, I think courts have in the past accepted that that type of behaviour constitutes fraud, with no 6 month limit, but of course it would turn on the facts in any particular case.
 

furlong

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That is nonsense.
Imagine if it were not enforceable.

The train company or BTP or some other involved party could decide to disregard the "settlement" and prosecute regardless. If the person involved is going to accept such a settlement, they need the assurance that the courts would block any such attempt. (Abuse of process.)

Or the person could consider that the excessive amount of money they paid in return for not being prosecuted was tantamount to blackmail and invite the courts to determine that the agreement be annulled and the money returned (public policy) - potentially after 6 months making it very difficult for the train company then to prosecute less serious offences.

Each side needs to be sure that courts would uphold the validity of such a settlement.
 

Haywain

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Imagine if it were not enforceable.

The train company or BTP or some other involved party could decide to disregard the "settlement" and prosecute regardless. If the person involved is going to accept such a settlement, they need the assurance that the courts would block any such attempt. (Abuse of process.)
That is nothing to do with the amount of the settlement. In the event that a successful prosecution followed a settlement being agreed and paid I would expect that the prosecuting company could be sued for the payment due to breach of contract.
Or the person could consider that the excessive amount of money they paid in return for not being prosecuted was tantamount to blackmail and invite the courts to determine that the agreement be annulled and the money returned (public policy) - potentially after 6 months making it very difficult for the train company then to prosecute less serious offences.
There is no blackmail in this that I see. The person paying a settlement has a clear choice and can choose not to pay. They could, of course, try that course of action in the courts but unless you have any examples of this actually happening you are just speculating.
 

Tazi Hupefi

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I disagree - both sides are constrained by the requirement for any such agreement to be enforceable by the courts. As a matter of public policy, the courts don't appear to uphold demands to pay penalties to avoid private prosecutions (otherwise anyone could try to do this to make money for themselves), and the DfT similarly seems to take the view that a train company cannot use its license to operate trains as a method of imposing a penalty except in the ways that law and regulations set out. But the tried-and-tested formula involving reimbursement of actual losses and directly-incurred costs appears to be uncontroversial and enforceable.

On the long-term 'doughnutting' question, I think courts have in the past accepted that that type of behaviour constitutes fraud, with no 6 month limit, but of course it would turn on the facts in any particular case.
As Haywain says, some of this is incorrect, sorry!

The out of court settlement is simply a payment for an operator to discontinue or not start any prosecution proceedings. It can be unreasonable, it can be on whatever terms they like. It can even be totally unfair. The offender is at liberty to decline whatever offer the train company makes, and take their chances at court / potentially have a conviction instead. The operator is not obliged to even offer a settlement.

When a person is found guilty, or pleads guilty, the operator would be entitled to compensation as part of the criminal sentencing. It is that a Compensation Order (which is criminal in nature, and not civil), must have the amount legally justified, i.e. it has to be actual losses.

Where the legal side comes in, is if the train operator tried to prosecute after agreeing to receive a settlement, and on receiving payment, still prosecuting the matter. However, this would not make the settlement illegal or unlawful. The defendant, however, would be able to run an 'abuse of process' defence, which would see the case booted out and the prosecutor given quite serious words of advice. This will be exceptionally rare, and in all likelihood, only as a result of a genuine oversight. However, a train operator who agrees a settlement, and receives payment, could likely refund the settlement, if it was found that the customer had been dishonest in obtaining the settlement, or the full extent of the offending hadn't been realised at the time of the settlement being made and paid. In this case, refunding and then prosecuting would likely be fine.

Fare evasion can be prosecuted using a variety of legislation. After all, fare evasion is a fraud against a rail company.

As you seem to be aware, Fraud Act 2006 offences are usually 'either-way' so no statute of limitations.

The offence under the Fraud Act 2006 most applicable would be under Section 11 in my view - Obtaining services dishonestly. It's actually a pretty simple offence to prove.
 
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furlong

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In the event that a successful prosecution followed

It shouldn't get that far - the defence would invite the court to consider an attempt to prosecute as an abuse of process which would stop such proceedings. The settlement is a substitute for a prosecution - it should only be unwindable under narrow conditions such as if genuinely new evidence undermines it. (Hypothetical example: settlement made on the basis passenger travelled from one particular station but later admits they really travelled from a different one with a higher fare - it the train company had known that at the time, it would not have agreed to that particular settlement and so a court might set it aside and allow prosecution.)

There is no blackmail in this that I see.
I said 'tantamount to blackmail' quoting from this sorry example :

11. [...] In the second paragraph they observed that the request for £30,000.00 (Thirty Thousand Pounds) in return for agreement not to commence a private prosecution was tantamount to blackmail. It might not be blackmail, but it certainly would have rendered the agreement unenforceable on public policy grounds.

The out of court settlement is simply a payment for an operator to discontinue or not start any prosecution proceedings. It can be unreasonable, it can be on whatever terms they like. It can even be totally unfair.

No - the operator acts within the constraints I already mentioned - it cannot abuse the privileged position of having a licence to operate trains to attempt to extract money from people as some sort of extra-judicial "penalty" or to profit from this sort of activity. If it wants there to be any penalty, it should prosecute and allow the courts to set it at an appropriate level and not attempt to take matters into its own hands and profit from what it thinks is a crime. (Correspondence released under FOI requests suggests that both the DfT and certain train companies accept this as the correct position - for example with what some refer to as "penalty fakes" the train company explained the "average" basis it used to set the level of those small out-of-court settlements so they contained no penal or profit element.)
 
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Tazi Hupefi

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It shouldn't get that far - the defence would invite the court to consider an attempt to prosecute as an abuse of process which would stop such proceedings. The settlement is a substitute for a prosecution - it should only be unwindable under narrow conditions such as if genuinely new evidence undermines it. (Hypothetical example: settlement made on the basis passenger travelled from one particular station but later admits they really travelled from a different one with a higher fare - it the train company had known that at the time, it would not have agreed to that particular settlement and so a court might set it aside and allow prosecution.)


I said 'tantamount to blackmail' quoting from this sorry example :





No - the operator acts within the constraints I already mentioned - it cannot abuse the privileged position of having a licence to operate trains to attempt to extract money from people as some sort of extra-judicial "penalty" or to profit from this sort of activity. If it wants there to be any penalty, it should prosecute and allow the courts to set it at an appropriate level and not attempt to take matters into its own hands and profit from what it thinks is a crime. (Correspondence released under FOI requests suggests that both the DfT and certain train companies accept this as the correct position - for example with what some refer to as "penalty fakes" the train company explained the "average" basis it used to set the level of those small out-of-court settlements so they contained no penal or profit element.)
You are, again, wrong.

This is not an atypical situation. The DVLA, for example, also use this unregulated out of court model for all sorts of matters, vehicle tax, failure to maintain keeper insurance, fail to notify timely change of keeper, address etc.

You also fail to understand some basic premises of law. The fact the train operator may hold a license under the Railways Act 2005 to operate trains and stations is irrelevant to their powers to prosecute. They have no additional powers to prosecute than you or me. Theoretically, if you spotted a fare evader, and you could obtain their name and address, you as a normal member of the public have exactly the same right to bring a prosecution for fare evasion. You also have the right to ask for an out of court settlement. The train operator have no specific powers to prosecute. They do have powers to demand name and address, which make prosecutions easier, but there is also nothing stopping a member of the public asking someone what their name and address is. The operator is NOT in a privileged position to prosecute.

See "OCS" for details about the DVLA scheme, e.g.:


OCS set at £30 plus one and a half times the outstanding vehicle tax. If the OCS is not paid, as a criminal offence the case may be pursued through the magistrates’ court. The penalty is either £1,000 or five times the amount of tax chargeable, whichever is greater.
Vehicle may be clamped and additional fees may apply.

There is little difference between what a private rail operator is doing and the DVLA. The DVLA are just a bit more transparent of what the OCS amount is, but they can still set it to be whatever they like, although as a public body, they are held to a higher standard of transparency and accountability.

Finally, the whole premise of the criminal justice system is that it allegedly should be fair and just. The courts actively encourage (and in civil, mandate) that parties to cases should try to resolve matters without the need for judicial intervention, unless it is absolutely necessary. Some offences are so serious that judicial intervention will always be necessary. However, "administrative disposals" or "alternative disposals" are increasingly common, whether in police, HMRC, Border Force, DVLA - or privately, like train operators, TV licensing etc.
 

furlong

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The DVLA, for example,

We are discussing the current situation on the railways, which has developed its own customs and practices within the unique constraints within which it operates. Analogies usually fail.

you as a normal member of the public have exactly the same right to bring a prosecution for fare evasion. You also have the right to ask for an out of court settlement.

So tell me, how does this work out in your world? I, as a forum member, see one of these threads where the poster has given out rather too many incriminating details and step in and say "I am going to prosecute you before the train company does. But I'll accept X (less than the train company would ask for but still easy profits for me) to settle out of court." So now we have the criminal matter settled with a third party walking off with a profit. What does the train company do now?

Fantasy - such an agreement would likely be unenforceable.

The operator is NOT in a privileged position to prosecute.

It is no more able to demand a "penalty" in lieu of prosecution than anybody else - nobody can.
 
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Tazi Hupefi

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We are discussing the current situation on the railways, which has developed its own customs and practices within the unique constraints within which it operates. Analogies usually fail.



So tell me, how does this work out in your world? I, as a forum member, see one of these threads where the poster has given out rather too many incriminating details and step in and say "I am going to prosecute you before the train company does. But I'll accept X (less than the train company would ask for but still easy profits for me) to settle out of court." So now we have the criminal matter settled with a third party walking off with a profit. What does the train company do now?

Fantasy - such an agreement would likely be unenforceable.



It is no more able to demand a "penalty" in lieu of prosecution than anybody else - nobody can.
I didn't say it was practical! But it is perfectly true, you or I have exactly the same power to prosecute, or to request a settlement in lieu of prosecution. I merely wanted to disprove your claim that rail operators had some special privileges to do so. Private prosecutions by individuals are relatively rare in any event.

The settlement agreement (again!) does not need to be enforceable! I think you're getting very confused or mixed up. If you or I offered an out of court settlement from someone we wanted to prosecute, that is perfectly lawful. However, if we still continued the prosecution, although that is still technically lawful, and we would have the right to, a court will almost always determine it is an abuse of process and stay the proceedings indefinitely. If a private individual walks away with the settlement, the rail operator has absolutely no redress, tough. You don't seem to grasp that the operators do not have a monopoly on private prosecutions, although in practice, they do.

Anyone can prosecute (or threaten to prosecute) anyone else for (almost) any offence. See 6(1) Prosecution of Offences Act.

There really is zero difference between a private company prosecution and a private individual prosecution except it would be impractical and undesirable for most members of the public. A further difficulty would be that whilst a member of the public can demand your name and address, they are only obliged to provide it to a railway official, but it is possible to find someone's name and address without asking them.

A rail operator also could not stop you as an individual bringing a prosecution, or offering an out of court settlement. Only the Crown Prosecution Service can intervene in a private prosecution, and even then, the guidance is that they ought not to, unless there is a compelling reason in the interests of justice.
 

furlong

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I merely wanted to disprove your claim that rail operators had some special privileges to do so.
That was never my claim. Another straw man.

If a private individual walks away with the settlement, the rail operator has absolutely no redress, tough.
Then there again we must agree to disagree. (Multiple ways to obtain redress.)

(Or how about you set up an out-of-court settlement service to make a little money while helping a forum poster out of a hole they've dug for themselves and then we can find out for real the response to a sham out-of-court settlement?)

And I'll just throw in that even the generally accepted current railway and court practice I've been talking about in respect of settlements ("fares owed plus excessive costs incurred" and "if you don't pay a penalty fare we'll cancel it and prosecute instead") may be at risk as part of the fallout from the Post Office private prosecutions scandal, where the House of Commons Justice Committee agreed in its report into safeguards that "no private organisation should be permitted to threaten criminal proceedings to extract money that it believes that it is owed". (Original article leading to this in Archbold Review Issue 2, 2018 in case you didn't read it before.)
 
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Deafdoggie

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If a private individual walks away with the settlement, the rail operator has absolutely no redress, tough. You don't seem to grasp that the operators do not have a monopoly on private prosecutions, although in practice, they do.

Anyone can prosecute (or threaten to prosecute) anyone else for (almost) any offence. See 6(1) Prosecution of Offences Act.
If this is correct then everyone has been giving very bad advice on here.
Surely the best advice is to say "I'll bring a private prosecution against you, unless you pay me £5" Everyone would pay the £5 and there's nothing the railway can do. I'm not sure that can be right.
 

Haywain

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If this is correct then everyone has been giving very bad advice on here.
Surely the best advice is to say "I'll bring a private prosecution against you, unless you pay me £5" Everyone would pay the £5 and there's nothing the railway can do. I'm not sure that can be right.
In theory it is correct, but we give advice on here and threatening a private prosecution is not advice.
 

island

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If the past few posts are suggesting that a sequence of:
  • Person X commits fare evasion and is caught and reported for prosecution
  • Whilst the railway goes through its process, person Y threatens a private prosecution against person X
  • Person X pays some nominal sum to person Y as a settlement
  • The railway is now prevented from prosecuting person X as the case has been settled
holds the least bit of foundation in legal reality, they are sorely misguided.
 

Tazi Hupefi

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If the past few posts are suggesting that a sequence of:
  • Person X commits fare evasion and is caught and reported for prosecution
  • Whilst the railway goes through its process, person Y threatens a private prosecution against person X
  • Person X pays some nominal sum to person Y as a settlement
  • The railway is now prevented from prosecuting person X as the case has been settled
holds the least bit of foundation in legal reality, they are sorely misguided.
I can't see that being suggested whatsoever.

Person Y prosecuting under those circumstances would be an abuse of process. However, Person Z prosecuting would not be an abuse of process.

An out of court settlement stops the person threatening prosecution from doing so, not another, although for the millionth time, this is theoretical and in reality would be extremely rare.

If you pay an out of court settlement to a train operator, it simply stops that train operator, and that train operator only, from prosecuting. Someone else still can, but given the operator is the one who holds the evidence etc, it's going to be exceptionally difficult to do.

Ultimately, if you don't want to pay an out of court settlement, or end up facing a prosecution, don't break the law in the first place.
 
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Tazi Hupefi

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Then what did you mean by this:
They have no redress against the person making and accepting the settlement.

They can still prosecute the person who committed the offence, or offer their own settlement. In which case, a customer could end up paying 2 x settlements.

Again (repeatedly) - this is exceptionally unlikely to occur in reality, but this thread seems to be a theoretical arguement, so happy to at least state what is legally possible.
 

BasildonBob

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This delightfully meandering thread prompted me to go and find out a little more about private prosecutions. Standard disclaimer that I am not a lawyer, but I suspect that the hypothetical example of random person Y attempting to bring a private prosecution against fare evader X would fail, as the court would find that Y had no standing in the matter ie it was none of their business! That would presumably mean that any attempt by Y to extract a payment from X to avoid a possible prosecution would start to look a lot like demanding money with menaces.

With respect to the possibility of a TOC proceeding with a prosecution after agreeing not to do so in return for an out of court settlement, there appears to be no legal impediment to them attempting to do so.

However, in addition to the possible abuse of process issue, a prosecutor has a duty of candour to include any relevant information in their application for a summons which would probably ensure that the court declined to hear the case. if they failed to mention the settlement, the defence council would undoubtedly do so and the case would most likely fail at that point. There was a case in 2018 (not railway related) where an attempted private prosecution for fraud failed partly because the private prosecutor failed to disclose a prior settlement which included an agreement not to prosecute.

https://www.emmlegal.com/publicatio...-duty-of-candour-when-applying-for-a-summons/
 

Tazi Hupefi

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This delightfully meandering thread prompted me to go and find out a little more about private prosecutions. Standard disclaimer that I am not a lawyer, but I suspect that the hypothetical example of random person Y attempting to bring a private prosecution against fare evader X would fail, as the court would find that Y had no standing in the matter ie it was none of their business! That would presumably mean that any attempt by Y to extract a payment from X to avoid a possible prosecution would start to look a lot like demanding money with menaces.

With respect to the possibility of a TOC proceeding with a prosecution after agreeing not to do so in return for an out of court settlement, there appears to be no legal impediment to them attempting to do so.

However, in addition to the possible abuse of process issue, a prosecutor has a duty of candour to include any relevant information in their application for a summons which would probably ensure that the court declined to hear the case. if they failed to mention the settlement, the defence council would undoubtedly do so and the case would most likely fail at that point. There was a case in 2018 (not railway related) where an attempted private prosecution for fraud failed partly because the private prosecutor failed to disclose a prior settlement which included an agreement not to prosecute.

https://www.emmlegal.com/publicatio...-duty-of-candour-when-applying-for-a-summons/
This is good.

Only minor point is that it wouldn’t be demanding money with menaces, although it certainly would not go down well with the court or local media!
 

Dai Corner

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As we're in highly hypothetical territory already, let me put this scenario before the panel.

TOC A and TOC B both operate trains calling at a station. Staff from TOC A catch a passenger there without a ticket and reach an out-of-court settlement with him. Is that settlement on behalf of 'the railway' or could TOC B go on to prosecute on the basis that their CCTV evidence proved that he arrived on one of their trains?
 

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I suspect that the hypothetical example of random person Y attempting to bring a private prosecution against fare evader X would fail, as the court would find that Y had no standing in the matter ie it was none of their business
If Y were attempting to bring a civil claim against X, then yes it would absolutely fail.

But in the criminal sphere of law, there is no concept of 'standing'. If an offence is committed, it is deemed a contravention against society's standards of decency. Therefore, unless the law in question says otherwise, anyone can bring a prosecution.
 

Haywain

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If Y were attempting to bring a civil claim against X, then yes it would absolutely fail.

But in the criminal sphere of law, there is no concept of 'standing'. If an offence is committed, it is deemed a contravention against society's standards of decency. Therefore, unless the law in question says otherwise, anyone can bring a prosecution.
The prosecution may not fail but the hypothetical person Y would not be in a position to claim the unpaid fares as Y was not due to receive those fares.
 

Tazi Hupefi

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As we're in highly hypothetical territory already, let me put this scenario before the panel.

TOC A and TOC B both operate trains calling at a station. Staff from TOC A catch a passenger there without a ticket and reach an out-of-court settlement with him. Is that settlement on behalf of 'the railway' or could TOC B go on to prosecute on the basis that their CCTV evidence proved that he arrived on one of their trains?
Both TOC A and TOC B could both demand a settlement. So could random Person C, D, E.

A settlement with TOC A only prevents TOC A from bringing (or instructing someone else to bring) proceedings. TOC A can't make an agreement to stop anyone else from doing so of their own motion.

Clearly, the industry knows how this all works, so generally isn't a problem, even less likely is a member of the public bringing their own prosecution after a TOC has settled.

I guess, for a brave individual with little moral compass, there is a very lucrative business venture in there somewhere. Enough members of the public would 'comply' and give their name and address for all matter of offences that we see in everyday life. You'd only need 2 or 3 people each day, and you'd be looking at a few £hundred per day.

In fact, there are private 'police' forces in the UK already, (with handcuffs etc), and who bring private prosecutions. In lieu of prosecution, they could offer a settlement. Perhaps they do. Although some people are in such a dire situation, they'll never have any means to pay, so all you can really do is prosecute them.

 
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BasildonBob

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If Y were attempting to bring a civil claim against X, then yes it would absolutely fail.

But in the criminal sphere of law, there is no concept of 'standing'. If an offence is committed, it is deemed a contravention against society's standards of decency. Therefore, unless the law in question says otherwise, anyone can bring a prosecution.
Thank you - I had read an article referring to a judicial review of a private prosecution where the applicants were described as having argued "inter alia that the (private prosecutor) did not have locus standi to bring the prosecution" but having read further, the issue of "standing" seems to normally only apply in civil cases and requests for judicial review.
 

furlong

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A settlement with TOC A only prevents TOC A from bringing (or instructing someone else to bring) proceedings. TOC A can't make an agreement to stop anyone else from doing so of their own motion.

Again, no. A bone fide out-of-court or administrative settlement of a criminal matter should be exactly what it says - the settlement of that criminal matter once and for all. This is one reason why its terms need to be so narrowly constrained in practice - each side must believe that the courts would enforce the settlement otherwise there'd be no point in making the agreement. (With rare exceptions) it blocks everyone from successfully prosecuting on the same (or substantially the same) facts - no double jeopardy. We saw that happen in the £43000 case, where the BTP (not a party to the settlement) was invited to investigate and prosecute independently but failed.

I guess, for a brave individual with little moral compass, there is a very lucrative business venture in there somewhere.
a fraudulent business venture - a scam
 
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