Blog 15: Sovereign Citizens

I started studying law in 1998.  I am now a solicitor.  I love the law.  I love the practice and study of law.  I therefore get amused from time to time reading about (and in one case dealing with) people who say the law does not apply to them.  They are all over, in the UK and US.  In the US they call themselves Sovereign Citizens or Freemen[1].  They are defined as terrorists by the FBI[2].  The FBI says this:


"They follow their own set of laws. While the philosophies and conspiracy theories can vary from person to person, their core beliefs are the same: The government operates outside of its jurisdiction. Because of this belief, they do not recognize federal, state, or local laws, policies, or regulations. One prevalent sovereign-citizen theory is the Redemption Theory, which claims the U.S. government went bankrupt when it abandoned the gold standard basis for currency in 1933 and began using citizens as collateral in trade agreements with foreign governments. These beliefs can provide a gateway to illegal activity because such individuals believe the U.S. government does not act in the best interests of the American people. By announcing themselves as sovereign citizens, they are emancipated from the responsibilities of being a U.S. citizen, including paying taxes, possessing a state driver’s license, or obeying the law."


Just before I qualified I used to represent people who were faced with having their homes sold to pay their missed child support.  One lady who instructed me was cohabiting with a man who refused to pay his child support.  He got involved with some nuts on-line who told him that he could gift his debt to the Child Support Agency in a trust and make them pay the debt.  It appeared in their bizarre paperwork that someone had read pages 1 to 10 of a US trust law book, failed to continue reading it and created their own trust with which to gift the debt.  I forget the name they used - it was something like "Affidavit of Truth" and was this hilarious bastardisation of a US trust document with a weird affidavit that made no sense and some number they claimed was a trust number.  They forgot to read the part where they would have found that the debtor does not own the debt and thus cannot gift the debt to someone else, only the owner of the debt may gift or sell a debt.  The lady who instructed me lost her home because of this fool.


These people claim, in varying ways, that the law does not apply to them if they reject the "contract" between them as citizens and the Government or Sovereign.  It's a mildly ridiculous argument, but they genuinely believe this rubbish.  In the US they rely heavily on a Supreme Court case that says the Government may not stop free travel between states or to a foreign nation.  They use this case to say that they cannot be stopped for a breach of any law relating to automobiles.


One such nut job is Anthony Williams.  He has appointed himself a Free Persons Attorney General.  He also provided an on-line law firm.  He has been sentenced to 180 days imprisonment and 22 YEARS of probation[3].  Here's a Youtube video of his failure to convince the Courts he is a foreign diplomat and does not need a driver's licence or an attorney's licence[4]:






















Here's part of a police training video on how to deal with these nut jobs[5].























There are many out-flows from the thinking of these people.  People want to sue the Government because banks are illegal (I get this one regularly as a banking law litigator).  TV licences, bailiffs repossessing homes, car fines, parking fines, repossession generally - literally, people who have no genuine defence to a claim often then get dragged into these groups' fantasies on how to challenge the people suing them.  They occasionally get a delay because the person dealing with them does not know the law and desists what they are doing to get advice.  But, eventually, the laws are put in place.  Court Bailiffs and TV licence people are the main targets in the UK[6].


One typical example that I see a lot is a bailiff being challenged because the possession order has not been signed by a judge "standing on his oath"[7].  You cannot win on this one, because a Judge did not need to sign the warrant to evict them.  But, someone who is desperate and needs any way of stopping a bailiff taking their home will get sucked in by convincing sounding people who claim bailiffs do not have the right to evict them.  Quite often it is harrowing watching someone being evicted and even more harrowing if they have put all of their faith in the stupidity of people claiming they could stop the bailiffs.  Bailiffs are faced with this a lot.  People losing their home to agencies like the former Child Support Agency often fall victim to these people.  These people do not tell the person losing their home that they have lost in Court in every case they have been in.  I have watched a Judge destroy someone claiming the things these groups claim, but he still advises people not to pay child support and to use his illogical argument in Court without telling them he lost.  However, their website is no longer active, thankfully. People do follow and listen to them though[8].


If you are being faced with a law suite from an agency or from a mortgage company or a landlord, please do not put your faith into an arm chair lawyer on the internet.  Get good legal advice.  It is better to face the harrowing truth and plan accordingly than to put your faith in "sounds too good to be true" people on an internet forum telling you that they know how to beat the Government or the Courts.  Usually most of what they say is hog-wash.


If you cannot afford proper legal advice, please get urgent advice from a free source, such as Citizens Advice Bureau.


If it were possible to beat the Courts or the bailiffs then someone would have succeeded at the High Court, Court of Appeal and/or the Supreme Court.  They have not succeeded because they are chatting rubbish. I stopped dealing with Child Support Agency cases a long time ago, but can tell you the law was tested a lot in Court and the CSA often won.  It was occasionally possible to succeed where they had made mistakes (because they used to make a lot of them) but it was not possible to win saying that bailiffs can only evict you with a warrant signed by a Judge "standing on his oath".  That is because that is hogwash, and is about as true as the USA Sovereign Citizens - who also always lose in Court.




[1] Sovereign Citizen Movement, Wikipedia


[2] FBI September 2011 "Sovereign Citizens - A Growing Domestic Threat to Law Enforcement" By the FBI’s Counterterrorism Analysis Section


[3] 7 News Miami 2 March 2016 "South Florida Sovereign Citizen Found Guilty of Practicing Law Without a License"


[4] Youtube user Talisman Metaphor - 31 March 2016 - "Sovereign Citizen Vs. Reality"


[5] YouTube user Doazic 22 October 2015 "How Police are trained to deal with Sovereign Citizens"


[6] Here's one such case.  Sad that these people believe they can beat the bailiffs.

YouTube user Daniel Bostock "Dealing With Bailiffs At Your Door"


[7] Another one and people believe these people.  YouTube user Raymond Karczewski "Oath of Office: How to Take Back Control of Our Country:"


[8]  This is someone saying their affidavit of truth works.  It does not.  It is a very bizarre and rediculous document, and I have had to deal with it once - the courts literally ignored it because it is a document that has absolutely no legal weight to it.

"Dead Beat Dad’s Says Affidavits Work" 15 January 2010.


The alternative website (CSAHell) has not updated itself since 2014, so I suspect they have also realised how awful their advice was.





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