Electronic money

Nicholas Bohm nbohm at ernest.net
Thu Dec 4 15:58:08 GMT 2014

On 04/12/2014 14:37, Jon Ribbens wrote:
> On Wed, Dec 03, 2014 at 08:20:15PM +0000, Nicholas Bohm wrote:
>> On 03/12/2014 18:51, Jon Ribbens wrote:
>>> Indeed, it appears that the courts do not necessarily actually accept
>>> legal tender, so the concept appears to be utterly dead and buried
>>> and of no meaning whatsoever anymore.
>> This surprises me - do you have a source for it?
> As well as what Frances said, this web page:
>   https://www.gov.uk/pay-court-funds-office
> suggests no ways of paying in money except by cheque, or - with
> permission of the judge and arrangements in advance - electronic
> transfer or banker's draft.
> Apart from that I have only highly anecdotal reports of people being
> told by the office at county courts that cash is not accepted, such as:
>   From: Judith <jmsmith2011 at hotmail.co.uk>
>   Newsgroups: uk.legal.moderated
>   Subject: Legal Tender in England at County Court.
>   Date: Wed, 07 May 2014 11:06:52 +0100
>   Message-ID: <qa1km9lvnhl72m29rt0vbogic403vh9cdl at 4ax.com>
> ...
>   I have just phoned the court and told them that I need to pay a court hearing
>   fee  (not actually true): could I pop in and pay cash
>   I was told there is no facility for payment at the court buildings "they have
>   taken our counter service off us".
>   I asked were they then refusing legal tender: the person from the court
>   management office said  - "a good point - it all is rather stupid".
>   Who will have made this decision - and can they really refuse legal tender?
>   (I phoned another couple of County Courts in different area - and there was no
>   problem with cash payments)

Most interesting - thank you.

As I understand it, legal tender is what a creditor cannot refuse to
accept without risking being met with the defence of tender.  The courts
(in the examples given, anyway) are not creditors.  They are like any
other person offering a service, who can lay down, on a
take-it-or-leave-it basis, what they want in exchange.  That doesn't
undermine or alter the concept of legal tender, which never purported to
compel people to accept one form of payment rather than another unless
they were already creditors.

I nevertheless think it is highly unreasonable for courts to refuse to
accept payment in cash, but that's a political rather than a legal
point.  And if the banks really succeed in phasing out cheques, will
they start demanding credit cards?

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