3. Ask for a court hearing
Send a ‘notice of claim’ if you think it was illegal for customs to seize your things, eg you brought in alcohol or tobacco for your personal use.
You’ll have to go to court - if you win your claim, you’ll get your things back. If they’ve already been disposed of, you can ask for compensation.
You may have to pay court costs if you don’t win your claim.
Sending a notice of claim
Follow the example notice of claim or write your own. You’ll need to include:
- the seizure reference number on the notice you got from customs
- your name and address
- a list of the things you think customs was wrong to seize - include details, eg quantities and brands
- proof of ownership if your vehicle was seized
- why you think it was illegal for customs to seize your things
Notice 12A gives detailed guidance about making a claim and what happens in a court hearing.
If Border Force seized your things
Send your notice of claim to Border Force’s post seizure unit.
National post seizure unit
If HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) seized your things
Send your notice of claim to HMRC specialist investigations.
HM Revenue and Customs
Appeals and reviews team S0777
PO Box 29992
Check the notice or letter you got from customs if you don’t know who seized your things. Contact HMRC if you need a copy of the notice.
Your notice of claim must be received by HMRC or Border Force within a month of your things being seized.
Your things are usually kept until your claim is decided, unless they’re perishable, eg food.
Get legal help
You can appoint someone (eg a solicitor) to deal with your claim and represent you in court.
Send an agent authority form with your notice of claim.
If you live outside the European Union
You must appoint a UK solicitor to handle your claim and represent you in court if you live outside the European Union (EU).
Send an agent authority form giving the solicitor’s details with your notice of claim.