(Original post by mathsmusicfrench)
i find this hard to believe, and harder still to recommend. This is because a) i don't believe you and b) i don't think its true. High court sheriffs aren't allowed to break into a domestic residence to retrieve property legally belonging to someone else, even if they have a high court injunction, so i find it unlikely that a "lay person" can. However, i agree to disagree. Even if it were lawful, i still wouldn't reccomend it.
I also wouldn't advise getting (and paying!) a solicitor at this stage.
The theft act 1968 says appropriates
is defined is section 3 of that act as
i.e. Even if he did not take it (e.g. You left in in his house) then by depriving you of it and assuming owernership he has committed theft. You would, however, have to prove that it is your own property.
My own uk passport says "this passport remains the property of her majesty's government etc."; birth certificates are obtainable by your family, indeed that very one you contest ownership of was probably given to your parents shortly after your birth (i.e. To your parents, not to you), at least, it would be difficult to prove otherwise; gce/gcse certificates again, although they refer to your qualifications, are not necessarily your property, i'm not fussed enough to check my own but there is possibly a similar statement on those. In all, a criminal case is unlikely to succeed, and would not be the best solution anyway.
It would be difficult to force a claim for reimbursement of the expenses of copying through the small claims court, i feel. The best chance you would have, i think, is to try to obtain a court order for your father to return them. The torts (interference with goods) act 1977 is your friend here. This defines trespass to goods
(wrongful physical interference with goods that are in the possession of another) and conversion
(basically the same as theft) and if proved these should be remedied by the court ordering your property to be returned and if that fails, ordering the respondent to pay consequential damges to the claimant (the cost of replacing the documents) also, possession is defined as standard in law which is which is definitely applicable in this case, even if you don't actually own the documents. Therefore a civil case is more likely to succeed. Also, the standard of proof is lower in a civil court so the judge must think it is more likely than not
that a tort was committed, whereas a jury has to be sure beyond reasonable doubt
about a crime. Basically, a civil case is easier in this instance.
These civil actions (trespass and conversion) would not be started by the police but instead by yourself. You can fill in a form at the local county court or at home by finding it online. The form you want is an n1 or perhaps an n208, i'm not entirely sure. I think either will do, n208 is possibly better for a 'non-money' claim. Get advice from the cab or another free legal clinic (university students run this kind of thing at local courts). After you fill in and send that form, the court would write to your father and that alone might be enough shock to make him give you the things back, if not then you can proceed with the case. There is a court fee which you have to pay upfront, but if he lost then he would be forced to pay this back to you.
It is a part of a civil court case that you try to negotiate with the other party, so make sure you ask him for the things back and have some evidence that he did not want to negotiate with you. Then take advice from the cab/law clinic, and then file a claim at the county courts in the small claims track.
I hope this is helpful, i thought i'd do some research and give you my opinions, don't have much better to do at 23.43 on a thursday night..!
I hope you get your things back!