1p and 2p coins aren't legal tender?
What do you do if your financial adviser is a bit of an accountant? You have to pay him or you’ll get sued. Why not go to the bank and withdraw over £800 in 1p and 2p pieces?
Sounds a nice idea, and that is exactly what one Robert Fitzpatrick from Essex did. He owed his accountant £804, and turned up at his house with five boxes of 1p 2p and 5p coins, weighing over 25 and a half stone to settle his debt.
Unfortunately, it was the accountant who has been left with a smile on his face. 1p and 2p coins, according to the Royal Mint, are only legal tender for sums of up to 20p, and once you have collected 21 or more 1p pieces, your coins contravene the Coinage Act 1971 if used in a single transaction. Smarty pants accountant Philip Lawrence consequently sued Fitzpatrick for non-payment of a debt. And won. Mr Fitzpatrick has now been ordered to pay a total of £1,118.62 including interest in settlement.
So what does this mean for your coin jar? Basically, you cannot be sued for non-payment if you have used legal tender, but this does not mean that retailers and service providers cannot or will not accept the money, although they are within their rights to do so. Amounts of up to £5 can be paid in 5p or 10p coins, or up to £10 in 50p and 20p pieces. Should be alright to pay for Michael Owen in change then. Pound coins and notes are legal tender up to any amount, provided you are in England or Wales- English notes are not legal tender in Scotland or Northern Ireland.
In this case, the accountant really was laughing all the way to the bank, as on top of the settlement he has reportedly also still got the thousands of coins originally delivered. Still, perhaps Mr Fitzpatrick will settle his court bill with 1089 £1 coins, 20 50p pieces, 50 20p pieces, 43 10p pieces and 100 5p pieces, 6 2p pieces and 20 1p pieces…