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Court decides accountant was right to reject a pile of cash

If you ever find yourself daydreaming about amusing ways to exact revenge, be careful.  Your victim and the courts may have a sense of humour failure (or you may just not be that funny).  The consequence for Mr Fitzpatrick was that he, quite literally, lost a pile of cash.

Mr Fitzpatrick was a client of Phillip Lawrence, an accountant in Chappell, Essex.  He decided that he would pay Mr Lawrence’s £800.00 bill but he would do it in a mixture of 1p and 2p coins.  Mr Fitzpatrick had to go to the bank, order around 60,000 coins and have them delivered to Mr Lawrence’s home in 5 crates to achieve this aim.  Presumably he then sat giggling at home celebrating how witty he was.

Unfortunately for Mr Fitzpatrick, Mr Lawrence didn’t see the funny side and had a firm grasp of some slightly obscure legislation.  The consequences are reported in the Telegraph here.

I have to confess that the Coinage Act 1971 has never come onto my radar.  However, Colchester County Court agreed with Mr Lawrence that coppers are not legal tender when paying for anything over the value of 20p. Therefore, Mr Fitzpatrick had not paid Mr Lawrence’s bill and found himself hit with a total liability of £1,118.62.

Mr Lawrence is going to return the coins once he has received proper payment.  I am only guessing, but he will probably then sit giggling at home celebrating how witty he is.

I suspect DHL are the only ones that will really benefit from this particular tiff given the size and weight of 60,000 coins.  However, I hope, like me, you find the case interesting and amusing nonetheless.

Mark Baldwin