A cousin just asked my thoughts on a letter he received about an alleged speeding offence.
The letter was the standard UK one that is sent out after a speed camera detection, and is fairly simple, so his actual query wasn't a problem.
However he asked me the deadline and I had to say that couldn't work it out. The letter states in bold that "YOU HAVE 28 DAYS FROM THE DATE OF SERVICE OF THIS NOTICE" to take various actions. However it nowhere states what the "date of service" actually is.
I know that the
- date printed on a letter,
- date of actual handing of the letter to a postal service,
- date of actual service of the letter,
- date of effective service, and
- date of deemed service,
are all different dates.
But this letter didn't say which was meant by "date of service" nor how tell when that date was.
In effect my cousin was sent a letter which stated a response was legally required by some date that it neither provided, nor provided the information to calculate.
Of course a prudent respondent would reply within 28 days of the date on the letter, but legally the deadline would seem to be some unspecified number of days (or working days) beyond that, and the legal deadline is not provided.
For example there is no stamp or indication when it was handed to a postal service. So we don't know the start date of the notice period, only that it was at minimum on, or some number of days after, the date that the letter was printed.
Even if we did know the start date of the notice period, the end date still seems indeterminate/unspecified/ambiguous, since we don't know if the letter is telling us to use actual/effective/deemed service workings from that date, nor how to calculate it.
Which method of calculating date is actually correct? What method is used in practice to determine if a response was within time?
Bonus points, in UK law, would a notice that says "you must reply by the end of some period of time, that isn't actually specified or legally clear,or is indeterminate", be enforceable as a stipulated time limit? Or would it be deemed defective?