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  1. The process of Litigation on Receipt or Issuing of a Summons In addition to this explanation - please also see the Small Claims FAQ The purpose of this sticky is to explain in general terms how the Court system works, what will happen once a claim is issued, and what duties the Court imposes upon both you as Claimant or Defendant and upon your solicitors. It is a very complex area, and if you have any questions at any time please feel free to post for further advice. This is part one of further postings were we will break down each section into detail on how to conduct and respond in more depth to different stages of the litigation process. The different kinds of Court and the rules that apply There are two separate but related types of Civil Court-the High Court and the County Court. There is now little difference between the two, although some types of claim are specifically allocated to a particular Court-for example mortgage repossessions are always dealt with in the County Court. More complex or high-value claims and some special types of claim are dealt with in the High Court. The rules of the civil Court system are contained in the Civil Procedure Rules ("CPR"), which are available on line at the Court Service Website at www.hmcourtsservice.gov.uk. These rules regulate the Court's procedure; they do not contain the law that must be applied to each particular case. The CPR also deals with issues such as costs, and the way in which appeals are dealt with. The intention of the CPR is to ensure that cases are dealt with fairly, expeditiously, and as cost-effectively as possible. This is called the "overriding objective". It is the duty of the parties to assist the Court in meeting this objective. Parties that do not assist the Court in doing so-by delaying, for instance-may be punished by costs being awarded against them, or their claims or defences being struck out. It is very important therefore to keep to the rules and to any timetable laid down by the Court. How claims are started - the Pre-Action Protocol In some types of case the CPR requires the Claimant (as the party bringing the claim is known) to follow a procedure before a claim is issued from the Court. This is known as a "pre-action protocol". Essentially this requires the Claimant to write to the proposed Defendant setting out the claim in detail, and allows a period of time for the proposed Defendant to respond. In highly complex claims such as building disputes the pre-action protocol provides for a meeting to take place after the exchange of these letters to try to identify the issues that the parties agree and disagree upon. Sometimes experts are also involved at this stage. A party that refuses to comply with a protocol and insists on issuing proceedings may not get their costs back, even if they are successful at trial. A new pre-action protocol for debt claims came into force on 1 October 2017. This basically requires that the two parties attempt to resolve the matter by an exchange of correspondence. This exchange could go on for as long as 90 days – depending on whether each party responds to the other. Here is a link to the Ministry of Justice PDF https://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/civil/pdf/protocols/pre-action-protocol-for-debt-claims.pdf . At the end of the exchange of correspondence, if it appears that there is no basis for an agreement then the claimant is allowed to issue a letter of claim giving a final 14 days before the issue of the proceedings. Issuing proceedings A claim begins by the Claimant sending a claim form to the Court, this may be your local Court or from the CCBC (Northampton) (identifying the parties, their addresses, the type of the claim and the Court fee), and also the particulars of claim. The particulars of claim is a document which sets out precisely what the claim is about, and what the Claimant is asking the Court to do-usually to give judgment for a sum of money, but may be possession of a property for instance. The Court will need a copy for itself and one for each Defendant, and one for the Court to seal and return to the Claimant. The CPR also specifies the various forms that are required. The Court will also require a Court fee when a claim is issued, and the amount depends on the amount of the claim. Information about the fees payable is available on the Court Service Website at www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk as well as many of the forms that the CPR requires. COURT FEES can be paid in cash or by cheque made payable to "HMCS" (Her Majesty's Court Service).http://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/fees Once issued, either the Court or the Claimant serves the claim form and the particulars of claim on the defendant, together with a "response pack", either by post or by personal service. The response pack contains a number of standard forms, which gives the Defendant a choice as to how he or she deals with the claim; they can admit it all, admit part of the claim and defend the rest, or defend the whole of it. Forms N1 the Summons N9A and N9B Response and Defence/Counter Claim. It is important to note that in cases were full admittance is admitted (N9A) the Court requests you send this to the Solicitor for all documents as per the claim form address. It is advocated that you only copy the Solicitor and send the admittance back to the Court. Once a claim is served on the Defendant time begins to run. Either a defence or an acknowledgement of service must be filed with the Court within 14 days of receiving the claim form. If an acknowledgement of service is filed, the Defendant then has 28 days from service of the claim to file a defence. If no acknowledgement of service or defence is filed within the time permitted an application for judgment in default can be made by the claimant. If judgment is obtained this way the Defendant can apply to the Court to set it aside, but in most cases it is necessary for the Defendant to explain why no defence was filed in time, but also show that there is an arguable defence to the claim. There may also be the Claimant’s legal costs to pay even if the judgment is set aside. However if the Defendant pays the amount claimed together with the costs (i.e. the issue fee and any legal costs claimed, which are fixed at this point) within 14 days of receiving the claim the case proceeds no further. Allocation When the Court receives a defence it will send a copy to the Claimant, the claimant will have 28 days to respond and you will be informed of this on notice form the court. If the Claimant fails to respond within 28 days the claim is stayed if they do respond the court will transfer the claim to your local County Court ( CCBC Claims) and it will also send to both parties an "directions questionnaire". Formally N149 & N150. This document requests information from the parties that will help the Court determine how the claim should be managed. The District Judge considers the issues raised by the claim form, the defence, and what is said in the allocation questionnaires, and then either makes a directions order or sets a hearing date for the parties, when the order will be made. The hearing is often now dealt with over the telephone rather than at the Court itself, unless one or both of the parties are representing themselves. In cases of Fast Track and Multi Track the Claimant/Defendant will submit their own proposed Directions The CPR divides claims into 3 "tracks", depending on a number of factors that are considered by the District Judge when the Court receives a defence from the Defendant. Principally the Court considers the value of the claim; if it is less than** £10,000, the Court will normally allocate the claim to the small claims track; if between £10,000 and £50,000 the fast track, and over £50,000 the multi-track. However the Court also considers the complexity of the case-for instance whether experts are going to be needed. It is possible that a claim under £10,000 is put into the fast track for instance. The Claimant must pay an allocation fee to the Court at this stage, unless the Court assigns the claim to the small claims track and the dispute is for less than £1,000. ** subject to review 2012 The directions questionnaire also asks the parties to tell the Court about any dates that they and any witnesses or experts cannot attend. A trial date may be set very early on in the case, and may be difficult or impossible to move. The Court will also decide which Court should deal with the proceedings; if a claim is brought against an individual it will normally transfer the proceedings to their nearest County Court. If the Defendant is a company then the Court will decide where the most convenient place for the trial will be-depending on the location of witnesses for instance. Amendment Two Directions Questionnaires are introduced N180 & N181 one for cases that are provisionally allocated to the small claims track and one for cases which may be allocated to the Fast or Multi-Track. Following the receipt of a defence the court will make a provisional decision as to which track is appropriate based on the value of the claim. The court will then send a notice to all parties requiring completion of the Directions Questionnaire; the notice may also contain other directions. Only where a party is a litigant in person will the court send out the appropriate Direction Questionnaire. Where a case is likely to be allocated to the Fast or Multi-Track parties will be required to file proposed or agreed directions. The time by which the completed Direction Questionnaire and accompanying documents must be filed is increased and parties will have at least 28 days from the deemed date of service of the notice in which to file the documents. All parties will be required to serve a copy of the completed Directions Questionnaire and any other documents required by the notice on all other parties. The agreed or proposed directions for Fast Track cases should follow those set out in Part 28, for Multi-Track cases standard and model directions can be found online. Consequential amendments are made to PD5A, PD5C, PD15, PD28 and PD29. These amendments apply where a defence is filed on or after 1 April 2013. The directions order The District Judge may make a directions order either without a hearing, or after he has heard from both parties at a hearing at the Court or by telephone. The order is then sent to both parties (and their solicitors if they are represented). The Court will first allocate the claim to what is known as a “track”, which determines how the case will be dealt with by the Court. These tracks are as follows:- The small claims track Claims in this track are dealt with quickly and as cheaply as possible, and without the parties having legal representation. The Court does not award legal costs to the winner, apart from the issue fee and expert fees (unless the Defendant has behaved unreasonably). If the Court decides that the claim is suitable for this track it will send the parties a short list of directions, including a hearing date. It will also require the parties to exchange a bundle of relevant documents, and also to exchange witness statements. It is best to number each page of these bundles, so that they can be referred to easily at the hearing. The hearing itself will take place in the District Judge's chambers, and normally the District Judge will give judgment (in legal proceedings it is spelled with one "e") at the end of the hearing. The fast track Cases in this track are allocated a "trial window" of a week or so when the case will be tried and normally the parties have to use a single jointly-appointed expert who reports to the Court. The trial window is normally 6 months or so away from the directions hearing, and as the trial can only last 1 day cases which will require more time but are still less than £50,000 in value will be allocated to the multi-track. In fast track cases the Court will send out a listing questionnaire shortly before the trial window, which requests information about any further directions that the parties need to get the case ready for trial. The Claimant has to pay a further fee at this stage. Once the Court receives the listing questionnaires, it will set a date for the trial within the trial window, and also inform the parties where it will take place; this may not be the Court dealing with the case, as it depends on where a Judge and Courtroom are available. In fast track matters the parties may only get a few days notice of the trial, so it is very important to keep the Court informed of dates that are inconvenient for the parties or their witnesses. The multi-track Multi-track trials are now relatively unusual. They are restricted to complex high-value cases such as building disputes and severe personal injury claims. The directions that the Court will give are similar to the fast-track directions, but tend to be much more extensive to ensure that the case is presented at the eventual trial as efficiently as possible. The Court will usually permit the parties to use their own experts, and for them to give oral evidence at the trial. Unlike fast-track trials, no trial window is set at the beginning of the case. Instead, the Court will set a date for a listing questionnaire to be sent out to the parties, which requests information about the progress of the case Trials themselves may last many days, and judgment is usually reserved. The Court order will also set a timetable that both parties must adhere to. This will give the dates on which witness statements, disclosure, and expert reports (if appropriate) must be dealt with, and the trial window or length of trial (depending on whether it is a fast track or multi-track case). It may also give directions for specific issues such as specific disclosure. The directions order will set a timetable requiring the parties to deal with the following to prepare for the trial (directions are also given in small claims but the directions are much simpler): Disclosure of documents (usually 14 days after the directions order). The parties exchange lists of these documents, and each party is obliged to disclose all documents which are relevant, whether or not they favour the party disclosing them. Failure to do so may result in heavy costs penalties, or even the case being struck out. The obligation is continuing, so if documents later come to light they must be disclosed immediately. Exchange of documents (normally 14 days from disclosure). Each party is entitled to copies of documents from the other side's disclosure list, on payment of reasonable copying charges. Witness statements from all relevant parties (normally 14 days from service of the disclosure lists). These must be in a particular form and must also contain a "statement of truth". Expert reports (normally 56 days from service of witness statements, to allow the parties’ time to agree the expert, to instruct him, and for the report to be prepared). The Court will only allow expert reports to be used if it thinks it necessary, and will not usually allow their evidence to be given orally at the trial. Instead the Court will require the parties to use a single expert jointly appointed by both, and each side will be bound by the expert's opinion. The expert's fees are met jointly at the time the bill is sent-the party that wins the claim can recover its share when costs are dealt with. Disclosure You will prepare a list of documents in a standard form from the documents you wish to rely or have referred to. The list (N265) will identify all of these documents, and also indicate any documents over which you claim a right to withhold inspection ("privileged documents"), and documents that are no longer your control (and what has happened to them). The list will include a disclosure statement, signed by you. A disclosure statement is a statement setting out the extent of the search that has been made to locate documents, certifying that you understand the duty to disclose documents and that you have carried out that duty. This list is then sent to the other party in exchange for their list, and each party then has a right to have copies of any document in the other’s list. What documents are to be disclosed Standard disclosure requires you to disclose all documents in your possession (or have once been in your possession) the list must give details of both the documents on which you rely and also any documents that adversely affect your own case or support the other party’s case. The Court may also make an order for specific disclosure in some cases, in other words for documents of a particular sort or category This means that if they are aware of documents that should be disclosed you owe as a duty to the Court to do so. What is a "document" "Document" means anything in which information of any description is recorded. This therefore includes photographs, video recordings, and computer information on hard drive or removable media such as floppy disks. It also includes emails. The duty of disclosure Your duty to disclose documents is limited to documents that are or have been in your control. This means having physical possession of it, or a right to possession of it, or a right to inspect or take copies of it. A copy of a document that contains a modification, obliteration or other marking or feature on which you intend to rely or which adversely affects your case or another party’s case is treated as a separate document. Your duty of disclosure continues until the proceedings are concluded. If documents come to your notice at any time during the proceedings, you must immediately notify the other party of it. It you fail to comply with your duty, any order or judgment that is made in the claim could be appealed or set aside. There may also be very serious costs consequences if you fail to comply with these obligations. Privileged documents You are not obliged to disclose documents that are generated by or in reasonable expectation of the claim itself (known as litigation privilege). There is also a category called legal privilege, which applies to all documents generated as a consequence of you seeking legal advice. This means that letters between you and your solicitors do not need to be disclosed, provided they relate to the claim that is being brought. It also applies to advices from Counsel and in some cases to experts; however it is very important to ensure that documents that are privileged are not carelessly distributed for instance by email-this can lead to privilege being lost, and your opponent can then seek an order forcing you to disclose them. If, however, the documents are relevant to the dispute and were giving legal advice but were not generated by it, then they must be disclosed. For instance, if you bring a claim about your purchase of some land, then the other party’s solicitor’s file relating to the purchase is disclosable, but letters relating to the claim that is then brought by you are not. Duty of search ( Claimant) You are required to make a "reasonable" search for documents. What is meant by "reasonable" depends on a number of factors, including the number of documents that would be involved, the nature and complexity of the proceedings, and the significance of any document that is likely to be located during the search. Where you have not searched for a category or class of document on the grounds that to do so would be unreasonable the disclosure statement must state this and identify the category or class of document. Witness statements Each party is required to give its evidence in the form of written witness statements, which contain all of the evidence that they will give at trial. These statements form part of the evidence in front of the Court, and will be read by the Judge. It is therefore extremely important that the statements contain all of the evidence that a party is going to rely on, as the Court will not allow further evidence to be given that is not in the witness statements. In most cases Witness Statements must be submitted and served 7 days prior to any hearing and served on the other party. Applications to the Court It may be necessary to ask the Court for specific orders from time to time-for instance, if the opponent has failed to comply with a direction. The request is made by application, which summarises the reason for the request and the order sought; the cost varies dependant on with a hearing or not normally. It is possible to ask the Court to strike out a defence on the ground that it cannot succeed at trial-known as an application for summary judgment CPR 24. If successful this type of application can result in a judgment against the Defendant in a very short time after the defence has been filed, although often the Court does not have time to list the application for several weeks. In some cases the District Judge may decide that a defence cannot succeed when he allocates the case-and will strike out the claim at that stage. It is vital that constant checks are made to see if the other party have made application as sometimes the Court may be behind in serving you a copy. Experts Experts have a duty to the Court to report truthfully the entirety of their opinion, and this duty overrides their duty to the party instructing them. The expert's report must contain a declaration to that effect, in order to comply with the requirements of the CPR. Experts may be expensive, particularly if they are to give live evidence at the trial; it is for this reason that fast-track restricts expert evidence to a single expert and written evidence. Barristers/ Counsel Barristers (or "Counsel" as they are often called) are used in a number of ways, depending on the type of case. In fast track cases their involvement may only come in to deal with the trial however Claimants have been known to call them for applications in certain cases. Barristers specialise in certain areas, and for more complex cases their involvement may come at the outset of a case for advice either in writing or in a meeting called a conference. They may also be used to draft legal documents such as the particulars of claim and defences if they are particularly complex. The trial The trial itself may be heard in the Court in which the claim began, or at some other Court depending on the availability of the Judge. The Claimant’s representative will open the case by explaining in fairly brief terms what the case is about, and will then call their witnesses to present their evidence. Once the Claimant’s evidence is concluded it is then the Defendant's turn to bring its evidence by calling their witnesses. When a person is called to give evidence they are firstly given the oath, and they are then requested by their own representative to confirm that it is their statement, and that it is true, and they are also entitled to ask certain clarificatory questions. Their opponent is then entitled to ask questions about that statement in cross-examination. Once complete, the party’s own representative is allowed to ask questions arising from cross-examination (in re-examination). Once the evidence has been heard, the parties then make closing submissions to the Judge; this may be given in speech form, but in complex cases this can be done in writing. In fast track cases the Judge will normally give their decision at the end of the case and then deal with costs; in complex cases judgment may be given in writing and delivered by post, and costs and so on will be dealt with at a later date at another hearing. Offers to settle-part 36 offers The CPR encourages the parties to settle the claim by negotiation before and during the proceedings. Both the Claimant and the Defendant may make offers to settle (these are not disclosed to the Judge hearing the trial). This is known as a "part 36 offer". These offers are made by formal letter and are automatically withdrawn after a certain period (which cannot be less than 21 days after they are made). After that date they can only be accepted if the parties agree or the Court orders it. However there is a sting in the tail for a Defendant; in order for an offer from a Defendant to be effective, the Defendant must also offer to pay the Claimant’s “reasonable costs” up to the date the offer is accepted. It is therefore essential that any offer to settle is made as early as possible for two reasons. If the offer is accepted, the Claimant’s costs that the Defendant must then pay will be minimised; if rejected and the Claimant fails to beat it, the amount of costs that the Defendant will be able to recover from the Claimant will be maximised. Both Claimants and Defendants can make offers, and they have different consequences when the case comes to Court. For a Claimant, if the Court awards the Claimant more in damages than his or her offer, then the Court may in addition award the Claimant indemnity costs, interest on those costs, and also interest on the damages. If the Claimant doesn’t beat their own offer then they will just get the amount ordered and interest plus their reasonable costs. In contrast, if the Claimant fails to beat a Defendant's offer then they will get the amount ordered plus their costs up to the date they could have accepted the Defendant's offer, but they will have to pay the Defendant's costs after that date plus interest on those costs and their own, and they will include the costs of the trial. To take an example, suppose a claim is worth £10,000. The Defendant could offer to settle the claim for that amount together with the Claimant’s reasonable costs even before proceedings are issued but the Claimant rejects it. If the amount finally awarded at the trial is £10,000, the Defendant will have to pay the Claimant the £10,000 but the Defendant can then ask the Court to order the Claimant to pay all of the Defendant’s costs from the last date on which the Claimant could have accepted the Defendant's part 36 offer. The Claimant will only get his or her reasonable costs up to that date. If the parties have each spent £10,000 in legal costs getting the case to trial, then in the example the Claimant will get£10,000, but will have to pay £20,000 in costs. The Defendant will only have to pay £10,000 plus the Claimant’s costs up to the part 36 offer which are likely to be minimal. For a Claimant the effect is even more dramatic; suppose the Claimant makes an offer to settle of £10,000 before the proceedings start and the case takes 3 years to get to trial, at which point costs are £10,000 on each side. If the award is £10,000 the Court can be asked to order the Defendant to pay interest on the £10,000 at up to 10% above base rate from the date of the Claimant’s part 36 offer. If the base rate is 5%, then the total interest could be as much as £4,500. In addition the Claimant will be able to claim costs on an indemnity basis plus interest on those costs at a rate not exceeding 10% above base rate. The Defendant would have to pay £14,500 plus £20,000 costs plus interest on the Defendant's costs. As a result of these potentially draconian consequences, a part 36 offer early in the proceedings or even before them can be very effective. Alternatives to litigation The Civil Procedure Rules positively encourages (but does not require) parties to resolve their differences without the Court process. In particular a process known as Alternative Dispute Resolution may be appropriate. There is recent case law in which a party-though successful-did not get its costs because the Court concluded that it had unreasonably refused to attempt ADR. ADR may be a very informal meeting between the parties, a rather more formal discussion between them assisted by a professional mediator, or even what amounts to a mini-trial at which a professionally qualified expert makes judgments on the issues between the parties who are represented by Counsel and by solicitors. Specialist Courts Some types of case are assigned to specialist Courts, which have particular jurisdictions. Examples of these include the Chancery and Mercantile Courts, the Company Court, the commercial Court and the Technology and Construction Court. Many of these specialist Courts are in London, but the commercial and chancery Courts also have hearings in Birmingham and Manchester. Judges Day-to-day procedural issues are dealt with by District Judges in their private rooms at Court, known as Chambers. These hearings take place in private, and are normally attended by solicitors rather than barristers. They may even be dealt with on the telephone. District Judges have wide case management powers under the CPR, with the intention of meeting the overriding objective. Circuit Judges or Recorders usually conduct trials, although some District Judges also have the authority to hear fast track trials. Appealing a decision It is possible to appeal from judicial decisions, but to do so is usually expensive. It is necessary to show that a Judge's or District Judge's judgment was either wrong about the law that applied, or that the Judge made a mistake about the facts of the case which is relevant to the decision that was made. It is much more difficult to appeal on the ground of a factual error, as the appeal Court will normally regard the Judge that heard the evidence as being best placed to decide. It is not possible to appeal a case from the small claims track unless there is evidence that the Judge or District Judge was wrong about the law. Time limits apply when appealing, and these tend to be short (usually 14 days). Depending on what kind of decision is appealed the Court that hears the appeal may be a Judge of the County Court, the High Court, or the Court of Appeal. Enforcement The Court does not enforce judgments itself; the winner or judgment creditor must do so. There is a large number of procedures available depending on what is likely to be most cost-effective, as all involve further legal costs to a greater or lesser extent. The debtor can also ask the Court for time to pay a judgment, although a company cannot do so. Common methods of enforcement are; bailiffs. Under £5,000 the County Court bailiffs are used. Over £5,000 the case will be transferred to the High Court, and the High Court sheriff used. bailiffs have the power to seize goods under a judgment, and sell them if a judgment is not paid. Attachment of earnings orders. If the debtor is working, the Court can order that a certain amount of the debtor's wages is paid to the creditor each month. Charging orders. Restrictions. If the judgment debtor owns property, the Court can be asked to grant a charging order (which is rather like a mortgage) which can then be registered at the Land Registry. If the debtor wishes to sell the property the judgment debt must be paid first, so securing the debt. It is also possible to request the Court to sell the charged property. Freezing orders or Third Party Debt Order. Not strictly a method of enforcement, but if the debtor is trying to move money out of an account-for instance following the sale of a property-the Court can order that the debtor's bank accounts be frozen up to the amount of the claim. A freezing order can also be applied to someone else's account containing the debtor's money, such as a solicitor's client account following the sale of a property. The remedy is expensive but is effective. Statutory demands. This is the precursor to a bankruptcy petition (if the debtor is an individual) or a winding-up order (if a company). It is served giving the debtor 21 days to pay. The advantage of these two procedures is that the service of the statutory demand is quick and cheap, and is often effective if the debtor has the money to pay it. However, if the demand does not produce payment it will be necessary to consider a bankruptcy or winding up petition. Bankruptcy/winding up. If a statutory demand is not satisfied then the next step is to present a petition for bankruptcy or winding up, as appropriate. The Court fee and deposit is quite expensive, but the hearing of the petition is usually relatively quick (about 8 weeks). If an order is made, then statute prescribes a list of the creditors who are paid out first; a judgment debt would rank last, with any other unsecured creditors. Costs If a claim is successful, the Court will usually order the losing party to pay the winner their "costs". What is meant by "costs" is a complex area, and has important implications for anyone contemplating or involved in litigation. The introduction of the Civil Procedure Rules has also radically changed how costs are ordered and assessed. Under the terms of the retainer between the solicitor and the client, the responsibility for paying the solicitor’s costs and disbursements such as barristers’ and experts’ fees rests with the client, whether or not the claim is successful. If an order for costs is made, unless the parties agree how much the costs will be, the Court will decide how much the loser should pay. Litigation can be extremely expensive, especially if the case is complex and involves barristers and experts. It is for this reason that, if you have legal expenses insurance, it is very important to ensure that you notify your insurer of any dispute you become involved with as soon as possible-most policies are very restricted on when claims will be considered. Normally the "winner" of a case is awarded the legal costs, but this does not necessarily follow. The Court has very wide powers to deal with the costs of a case in any way it feels is appropriate and this can often mean that the party that has behaved most reasonably has the best chance of getting their costs paid. Costs may also be ordered during the progress of the case if any applications have been made. The usual order is for the loser to pay the winners reasonable costs, to be assessed by the Court if no agreement can be reached. Costs orders The Court has the power to make any award of costs it thinks appropriate, and at any time a Court order is made. Consequently the Court may make costs orders during the proceedings, not just at the final hearing. Usually no order for costs is made in small claims apart from the issue fee and the fee of any expert instructed, unless one of the parties has behaved unreasonably. The rules also provide for "fixed costs" in some cases; for the issue of proceedings for instance, and also for some types of claim such as possession proceedings. The normal rule is that "costs follow the event"; in other words, the loser pays the winner’s costs. However, the Court is required to take the conduct of the parties into account as well as who is successful, and make an order that does justice to the parties in the circumstances. The Civil Procedure Rules impose a duty on the parties to proceedings to assist the Court in achieving the "overriding objective", which is to deal with cases justly. One aspect of the overriding objective includes saving expense, and cost. As a result, the Court may penalise a party that has not complied with the spirit of the Rules, by for example failing to serve a pre-action protocol letter if required. In addition the Court will take into account offers to settle and payments into Court. If a Costs order is made, it will state whom the "paying party" (usually the loser) and the "receiving party" (usually the winner) is, and also what basis of assessment is to be used if no agreement can be reached. In fast track cases the Court performs the assessment at the end of the trial. In multi-track cases, or if a claim is settled during proceedings with an agreement that costs be paid by one of the parties (for instance if a part 36 offer is accepted), a schedule of the costs is sent to the paying party to try to reach agreement. If this is not possible then a costs draftsman prepares a bill of costs for assessment by the Court. Both the costs draftsman and the Court charge fees. The CPR encourages the parties to negotiate, but ultimately the Court may be requested to assess the bill. The Court has to decide:- Whether it is reasonable for the loser to pay for the work charged for; and Whether the hourly rate charged by the solicitor is reasonable. The Court will not require the loser to pay the winner if he or she has behaved unreasonably, by for instance telephoning or writing to his or her solicitor more often than is necessary to progress the case. Nor will the assessing Court regard a senior solicitor dealing with a simple case as being reasonable. Each Court area sets standard rates for solicitors of different levels of experience, and it may award a lower rate than is claimed in such a case. Similar principles apply when the Court assesses the amount claimed for barristers' and experts' costs. The Court may decide that the amount the loser must pay in costs is less than the winner has paid to his legal team. As the Court tends to be conservative when it assesses costs, the loser is often ordered to pay only 75% or so of the winner's costs. Even if a costs order is made, this does not guarantee that payment will be made; if it is not, the successful party may have to use enforcement methods to recover the money and may be unsuccessful if the loser does not have the means to pay. In addition, if the losing party has a Public Funding Certificate (which used to be called "Legal Aid"), the Court may still make a costs order, but may also order that payment of the costs will not be enforced without the Court’s permission. Disbursements These include barristers’ fees, Court fees and experts’ fees. Often a party's solicitor will require payment in advance of the disbursement being incurred, as it is usually the solicitor that is responsible for payment of these fees. these fee may be recoverable at the end of the case. Agreement The Court will expect the parties to attempt to agree the costs between them, as far as possible. The receiving party will prepare a schedule of its costs and submit this to the paying party, and invite comments on it. Often the parties will not be far apart, and agreement may be reached. If no agreement can be reached, the receiving party must draw up a formal bill of costs which summarises precisely what was done and when. A costs draftsman normally does this, who will charge a percentage of the bill for doing so (normally 2%). This is then sent to the paying party, who must serve a formal response within 21 days, stating what elements of the bill are disputed. If no response is served, the receiving party may apply to the Court for a "default costs certificate". This is an order requiring payment within 21 days of the certificate, and can be enforced as a judgment against the paying party. If a response is served, the receiving party may either negotiate, or ask the Court to set a date for assessment. The receiving party must make the application for assessment within 3 months of the costs order, unless the parties agree an extension. The basis of assessment The Court must be satisfied that the costs that are being sought are not unreasonably incurred or unreasonable in amount. However there are two different bases of assessment that the court may order. The usual order is that costs are assessed on the "standard basis". This means that the paying party must pay only an amount of costs that is "proportionate to the matters in issue"; in other words, it will not sanction a large bill for a small dispute. It will resolve any doubts it may have as to whether the costs are reasonably incurred, or reasonable in amount and proportionate, in favour of the paying party. In unusual cases the Court will order that costs are to be assessed on the "indemnity basis", which means that it is the receiving party who receives the benefit of any doubt. Summary Assessment The Court has the power to make a summary assessment of costs during the proceedings, without needing to go through the lengthy detailed assessment procedure. It is also required to do so at the conclusion of a "fast track" trial. The parties will both prepare costs summaries for the hearing, and serve these on each other prior to it. The Judge will consider the summary at the conclusion of the hearing and decide the amount of costs to be awarded. Detailed Assessment If the parties cannot agree the costs, the receiving party will ask the Court to set a date for the detailed assessment of the bill. District Judges undertake the assessment, but in London the Supreme Court Costs Office deals with cases in the High Court. Representatives of both parties attend the hearing. The District Judge will consider the submissions of both parties and decide whether the work done was reasonably necessary, and if so, whether the time taken and the solicitor’s hourly rate claimed was reasonable (different rates apply in different parts of the country, and are set by the Court). Normally the Court will reduce a bill by about 15%, as a rule of thumb guide, on assessment. The District Judge will also decide which party should pay for the costs of the hearing itself, and summarily assess them as well. Any order made to pay a sum of money as costs is enforceable just like any other order.
  2. Hi I need some advice please. Recently I replied to a direct mailshot from a Manchester-based PPI claim company called Consumer Claim Line. I had had a credit card some 20 years or so ago (Capital One card) and I wanted to find out if I had paid PPI on the payments. I returned the paperwork and thought to take advantage of their advertised "no claim no fee" offer to get this investigated. A few weeks later received a reply saying that their preliminary findings were positive and that I should sign the enclosed form authorising them to investigate my claim further. With this same reply paperwork enclosed was another form asking me to list any banks that I may have had accounts with in the past and they would look into these accounts too. I signed the authorisation forms for the Capital One account and sent back the other form listing the Clydesdale bank although details of this and the Capital One account I was not able to furnish as I had no paperwork and no recollection of any details. They said that details weren't important as they had ways of tracing accounts. A fortnight later I received correspondence from this company stating that their investigations showed that the Capital One account had previously been looked into (sometime in 2009 or 2010) and since I had not informed them of this they were invoicing me for a Cancellation penalty fee of £360 for wasting their time. Along with this invoice were two additional "letters of authority" for two Clydesdale bank loans (taken out sometime in the 1990's (I think) which they wanted me to sign and return to them. I telephoned them to explain that my claim on the Capital One account was made in good faith and that I had no recollection of having this investigated before (I have good medical reasons for general memory impairment which I explained to them) I asked them to therefore cancel this penalty fee they were demanding. I also stated that as a consequence of the outcome of this first experience I didn't want to return the forms for the Clydesdale bank investigation as because of my memory impairment I could not guarantee that this case had not also been investigated in the past. I had no recollection of this being the case but then again the same applied to the Capital One case. The supervisor whom I was explaining this to was not sympathetic to my position in fact he adopted a rather aggressive and threatening stance, threatening court action on non-payment of the penalty fee saying that for every subsequent reminder-letter they sent me an additional £20 would be added to the cancellation fee invoice . He further threatened that if I didn't send back the second set of "letters of authority" (for the Clydesdale bank loans) duly signed by myself a further £360 (each) of cancellation fees would be invoiced to me for payment. A few days later I received out of the blue a phone call form the company (from the same supervisor) saying that they have reconsidered and that if I go to my doctor and get him to write a letter confirming that my medical condition and strong medication I have taken (over a period of over 20 years) have indeed led to among other things severe memory impairment. I duly went to my GP and he wrote out a letter confirming what I had said, and I sent this doctor's letter in to the company. A week or so later I received another phone call (again from the same supervisor as before) and he now said that he would not accept my doctor's letter as he had met people before with the same condition that I suffered from and he didn't believe that it could cause memory impairment. In other words he completely disregards a doctor's medical opinion on a patient he has been treating for 25 years in favour of his own unqualified prejudiced and generalised opinion of the condition I suffer from (the condition is in fact Severe Clinical Depression). The decision stood he said and I now owe them 3 x £360 fees plus £20 further penalty on the first case ... a total of £1100. Can they do this ? Is there anything I can do about this ? If nothing else maybe this post will warn others of this companies practices. Regards, Jackthehat
  3. Sent of D P A letter, just recived letter back from G E saying this is not their account and returned the £10 I sent it to Sarah Wainwright GE Money Data Protection Administrator PO Box 700 Leeds LS99 2BD Does anyone know if this is correct address.
  4. Hi please can someone help me. I was awarded a suspended eviction order on 9th November 2009. Whereby the judge ordered if I had to go again I had to go before him and He would basically chuck us out (due to me being there previously) That was dated until November 2010 - Will this be relevent now. Mortgage is with Santander. I have fell behind a few times since just before xmas, but ALWAYS made it up. I am up to date with my payments. And dont owe anything til end of September. My arrears currently stand at £856.71 I have been away on holiday, and come back to a Warrent for the possession of property. Eviction will take place at 28th August at 10.20am. Santander, phoned me in on 20th July - My payments where up to date. Requested I went through a income expenditure with them - right there and then on the phone. I was at work and requested they put the forms in the post. I promptly filled them in and posted them back. Santander say today that because they didnt get them & I defaulted on court agreement they either want the Full £856.71 or the House. Please help me Please help 1 small child and a pretend teenager. Reading through some of the other threads, people have been evicted for being up to date. Really starting to panic Forgot to say I do work, and can pay the mortgage. Just messed my money up a few times this year. But It was payed as soon as, And I am up to date
  5. Wasting the time of consumers is a method seemingly being employed in the litigation process, by which time the consumer with the claim runs out of energy and capital. Had a claim for an event against a utility company, a specialist charity informed me that I had one of the best cases they had seen. Hired a lawyer, spent a large amount of time writing the claim and making sure the facts were correct, it was sent to them via the correct legal channels. Then the corporate passed it to a loss adjusters who 'sat' on it for 95% of the time they were allowed, sending back a response which made absolutely no sense. Simply, they lied about maintenance that the utility company performed along with some other very strange facts. Decided that you cannot fight stupidity so put the case on hold. Then, many months later, a family member contacted the loss adjusters mentioning myself, even though they were told directly not to, and the response was something truly unimaginable. You could not make it up, then I started to piece together how the legal system works. As a consumer, most will need to go through the process of a lawyer to write the claim and send it via the correct process, however the corporate can hire a representative that has no legal training and is not part of any professional institute. It means that you have to spend both time and money 'training' their representative to 'see sense', with them adding more irregularities that you need to unravel each time. Simply, the corporate can hire a company with the intelligence of an amoeba following an approach of incremental double-binds, and there is very little you can do to unwind it. I went to both country lawyers and the best London lawyers -not one- noticed that the loss adjusters were -not- legal representatives. They did however, without fail, always ask for a retainer. This begs the question, is it part of the legal system that the consumer pays for trying to coerce sense out of other parties representatives. It is a very successful tactic if you are trying to make the claim ‘go away’. The only solution which seems to neutralise this problem is to fight fire with fire, which would explain why the simpler 'no win no fee' lawyers appear to have a higher success rate. Any settlement would be much lower, however when taken in the overall context of fighting ‘folly’ is that the least worst!
  6. Agreement 1 – 05/05/2015 - £1.388 – defaulted at £972.00 – Weekly £49 Agreement 2 – 13/08/2015 - £2,458 – defaulted at £2131.00 – Weekly £60 Agreement 3 – 13/08/2015 - £450 – defaulted at £374 – Weekly £17 Agreement 4 – 01/09/2015 - £429 – defaulted at £357- Weekly £21 Litigation to be commenced against Brighthouse in relation to Accounts held. I was not stranger to the business upon taking the first agreement in May 2015. The first agreement runs smoothly after 3 months I took out further finance, this was available from 8 weeks and each time I visited store to pay I was prompted to purchase take out further agreement, whilst I accept it was ultimately my decision to take out the finance I argue that they have not lent responsibly, until agreement number 2 my weekly payment was £49, in August they agree to more than double this by granting further finance of £2908.00 taking my weekly payments from £49 to £126. Two weeks later when I needed an essential small product further finance of £429 was granted increasing the weekly payment up to £147.00. In the space of 18 days my finance commitments had increased by £98.00 from £49.00 to £147.00. Needless to say this soon became unmanageable and by the third week of September I was unable to make the weekly payment of £147.00, the proof of income from the first agreement was used for the further 3 agreements. This is where my world could have fallen apart if I was not aware of my rights:- Their contact centre phoned me up to 9 times a day, In-house collections The store staff came knocking in a white transit van The unauthorised bailiff refused to move out of my front garden until I proceeded to dial 999 on my mobile. The agent remained parked in his van outside my house for 45 minutes. I was charged £5.50 per an agreement for the privilege of the above, £22.00 extra. Penalty charge I have been charged this £22.00 every week since 20th September. 26th September – letter sent to Brighthouse regarding repayments, made reference to the amount of monthly payments were on average £600 a month which was 50% of my wages and requested they remove all interest from my accounts, remove and stop all charges and agree to a repayment plan on £60 per month. Brighthouse wrote to myself on the 2nd October and agreed to the above repayment of £60 per a month, they stated that as interest is front loaded there would be no further interest charges applied to the account. However in order to accept the above I needed to visit my local store at my earliest convenience. I further contacted Brighthouse requesting bank details to make the monthly payment I also raised question of the interest and further requested it was removed completely and agreement was made for the cash price of the goods. Even though in their own written correspondence on the 2nd October they agreed in principal to a repayment plan I continued to receive weekly letters and charges of £5.50 per a week applied. THE ACCOUNT WAS IN DISPUTE November came and went no correspondence whatsoever from Bright house December came, Equifax credit alerts, Log onto my credit file and low and behold Brighthouse have registered a default on all 4 accounts. Until today I have been in discussions with Brighthouse and I have still not been supplied with bank details!! Brighthouse have registered defaults on accounts that were clearly in dispute, this is a breach of the ICO guidelines on registering defaults with credit reference agencies. Brighthouse claim that as they had issued a response the account was not disputed. I was not contacted before these defaults were registered, Brighthouse claim they were asked not to call or visit me whilst I accept this the only letters received were £5.50 weekly charges, these letters breached their acceptance on the 2nd October as the charges should have been removed and should not have been applied continuously. I know that the insurance has not been removed and has still been charged despite the account defaulting, in their own contract they state the insurance is cancelled once a payment is late. I wish to commence a claim through the county courts for a judge to review this as I am not accepting these defaults for a period of 6 years. Payment has never been refused, Means to pay have never been provided. I will not visit the store of the agent/bailiff who trespassed on my property and refused to move. My questions are:- What section of the Consumer credit act would refer to responsible lending? Would the claim value be the total amount of the outstanding debt? I do not believe adequate affordability checks were conducted, where can I refer to research this further? Can any refer to a claim that has been successful regarding registering defaults on a disputed account? Section 43 http://www.experian.co.uk/www/pages/downloads/compliance/guidance_on_defaults.pdf “If we conclude that there is a genuine, reasonable and unresolved dispute between the borrower and lender, then we are likely to find that personal data have been processed unfairly if a default has been filed. Defaults filed in these circumstances may also be inadequate for the purpose of credit referencing in that they do not provide meaningful information about the creditworthiness of the customer.“
  7. Action Fraud has received a number of reports where people have been defrauded by criminals claiming to be “Action Fraud Litigation Services” who they say work with Action Fraud and the City of London Police. How the [problem] works The fraudster phones their victim and tells them that they are phoning from the “Action Fraud Litigation Services team”. They say that they are legal prosecutors who will be able to help the victim recover the money that they have lost in a previous fraud. They tell the victim that in order to recover the money that they have lost, the legal prosecutors will need to represent them and that there will be an advance fee which they will need to pay immediately. They normally say that this fee will be £239, but the price can vary. Once the victim has made their payment, normally over the phone, they are not longer able to make contact, even when they try and call back the number which they received the call on. Please be aware that Action Fraud would never ask victims to part with money over the phone or via email and "Action Fraud Litigation Services" is not a legitimate organisation. http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/news/alert-watch-out-for-fraudsters-purporting-to-be-from-action-fraud-litigation-services-oct15
  8. Hi Guys, Help is urgently needed here. Although, I have been following some discussion that relate to my issue. First I will say this forum is a remedy for depression, when this deb companies started chasing me i was like a mad person. I just received a claim form from Northampton BC regarding Lowell Porfolio/HBOS debt purchased. the amount is under £2000. This was a balance from the unsecured loan took over 10years ago but due to no job i stop this payment about 6years back and that was my last contact with HBOS and i have never had any contact with BC or Lowell. Please what should i do?
  9. Anyone have experience in litigating against their bank for reputational damage over an incorrectly bounced cheque? Brief story. I issued a cheque for £20k as a deposit for a property bought under auction terms and conditions. Cheque seemed to clear my account but then was returned. More than sufficient funds in the account. Bank said that they didn't have an up to date cheque mandate for the account despite the fact that I submitted them for both my personal and business accounts. Bank made no effort to contact me by phone to confirm whether I had issued the cheque. I submitted a complaint on the day this happened (30 August) and sent two follow up reminders but so far I've had no acknowledgement, let alone an apology. The bank weren't to know this but bouncing a cheque for a property purchase under auction terms and conditions is a breach of contract with potentially dire consequences. In the event I sorted this out but it has damaged my reputation. I have told the bank that I want a clear apology that I can show to the auctioneer and a sizable charitable donation in compensation. However, given that don't seem to give a damn about the matter and that I seem likely to have to either go to the Ombudsman or litigate, I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts on the way forward and specifically whether the legal option is worth considering.
  10. I changed my name in 2006 whilst living in England and from then on-wards I did not make any payments towards my debts in my old name. I did not inform my banks or creditors of my change of name and have not applied for any credit accounts since then. I have been living in Scotland for 1 year and all of a sudden I have had Sheriffs Officers visit my address on a few occasions looking to speak to my "old alias. I have not acknowledged the debts at all, I have simply told them that there is no such person living at my address. My questions are: A. Can Sheriffs officers pursue a debt in Scotland that was built up in England? B. If so, can they pursue these debts if more than 6 years have passed and there has been absolutely no contact or acknowledgement of the debt either by phone, writing or any other method? C. Can I continue to use the same method to get rid of these peoples i.e. plead ignorance that the person doesn't exist at my address? Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated!
  11. Hi folks, I've been reading around but I'm hoping someone can offer some advice on my particular situation. To cut a long story short... I signed up to take part in a trade exhibition (I'm a sole trader).. .never paid any money out upon signing up I did sign the agreement. in the lead up to the exhibition I realised I would no longer be able to attend the exhibition due to an overseas family wedding. I contacted the organisers (Media10) and explained my situation. ..they weren't interested in any reasoning and stated I signed up and now I had missed the pull out deadline I was fully responsible to pay the full stand amount (about £1200) even though I wouldn't be attending. To make things worse my work took a big fall in business and I found I was struggling to earn enough to allow me to pay the outstanding amount. I again called media 10 to explain I couldn't pay in one go and could I pay by instalments of £50 per month. That was agreed and I think I managed 2 payments before things got worse work wise and I found I could no longer even afford that. I tried speaking with them but it was useless, they wanted their money. I ended up not being able to pay and it has now came to the point where I have had an email and a phone call voicemail from Darcey Quiqley debt collectors litigation dept saying I need to reply urgently regarding this legal matter. I would like to pay it but I am just not in a position to. I have looked into a trust deed as I have accumulated other personal debts due to the period of little to no work, but even at that I am embarrassed to say I cant even afford the £150 per month for the trust deed. I literally feel like I'm drowning in debt and I just cant find a break to get back on my feet. I'm constantly dreading the post and I daren't answer my phone. I rely heavily on my car for my family and also work so I was advised sequestration was simply not an option as the car would most probably be lost. Can anyone please please offer me some advice, I'm at my wits end and all I ever have on my mind is debt. It's ruining all aspects of my life and my family priorities are suffering. Thanks for taking the time to read through this.
  12. Hi everyone, I am new to the forum so apologies if I have posted a thread in the wrong section, I am just seeking help with a debt problem as are many others. I received a letter before action letter from BC stating that they were acting on behalf of Fredrickson International/Lowell and if that I did not pay debt in full legal action would be instigated against me on 7/4/14. Unfortunately, I am suffer from anxiety/social phobia illness and now receive ESA and live in rented accommodation. I fell into debt problems in 2008/2009. I think the original debt relates to a credit card with Barclaycard and am unsure as to when payments stopped but would have been either late 2008 or early 2009. Due to my illnesses I have "stuck my head in the sand" regarding my debt arrears but receiving a letter threatening court action has meant that my anxiety levels have now gone through the roof. As I need proof of the debt and more details and being unsure as to whom exactly I should write to in order to do this I decided today to write to Bryan Carter as he is the organisation threatening the court action. I printed off a "proof of debt" type letter stating that I did not acknowledge the debt and requesting details after using a template from this informative and helpful site. Inside the same envelope I also printed off a CCA request letter addressed to BC and enclosed a postal order for £1 stating it should be used for purposes of providing CCA only but I forgot to state that I did not acknowledge the debt on this letter but am hoping that my proof of debt letter also enclosed will cover me as I clearly stated this in the body of this letter. I asked someone to kindly post this recorded delivery today ( I am agoraphobic and have not left my home for over 4 years). Can someone kindly confirm that this is the correct initial response to the BC letter? Do you think it is likely that the threat of legal action may be halted on 7/4/14 when they receive my letters tomorrow? Many thanks.
  13. Hi All I'm hoping that someone has used a good litigation solicitor that they highly recommend. I need to commence court proceedings against the house builder of a new property I purchased as I've had constant problems with the boiler and they have not bothered to respond to my last email. It has cost a small fortune to sort out the problems but I want to get good advice before filing a claim. Your help would be much appreciated as this has dragged on for a little while now.
  14. Was "sued" by a finance company for an outstanding debt. Counter "sued" them and came to a settlement that was agreed via litigation. Have now received a letter stating that the debt has been sold to a DCA. On the letter, the outstanding balance is somewhat larger than what was agreed via the court order. Payments are currently being made to the original creditors solicitors. I assume, that even though the outstanding balance quoted on the new correspondence is clearly not what was agreed through the court, that the DCA has to accept the original payments? I dont actually understand why, when a court writ is in place for the full payment and there is literally only months to go, that the original creditor would sell the debt. It is probably just an act to try and pi** me off. They are in for a shock once it is paid in full as their is a hefty PPI claim going in! Keep stirring that hornets nest!
  15. Hi All, Read on the forum that the OC's and DCA's are becoming very litigious of late. Was wondering is there any particular reason for this or is it the way forward for them.
  16. I need some good advice on making a civil case. Is there any experts on here that know about this and how I proceed?
  17. Hi Everyone, i'm after some advice. I took out an unsecured loan with Alliance & Leicester back in September 2008. Unfortunately I was unable to make the repayments after 10 months as my ex-partner was made unemployed and we were facing repossession on our home. The last payment I made was in July 2009. The company then became Santander and the last letter asking for repayment I had was October 2010. I had been unable to make any repayments on it since the last one in 2009. Fast forward to yesterday....... I come home after staying away with family for a couple of weeks to have received two letters from moorcroft debt recovery. The first one asking to confirm whether i indeed at an outstanding debt with Santander. As i was away they didn't get any response. I also had another letter saying i owed just under £5,000 and were threatening litigation. It said they "may" have no other alternative but to pursue legal action against me. I now don't know what to do. I am currently unemployed and every single spare penny i have already goes to other more important debts. Can they really take me to court straight away, only a couple of weeks after the first letter? Any advice much appreciated, thanks.
  18. Ive been sent 2 letters from Capquest advising that they "may be passing on my case to their solicitors" and "to contact them to avoid litigation." The debt was originally with Tesco personal finance ( a credit card ) but i was unable to pay it as i lost my job around 4 years ago, they were actually really good and froze the interest for me and took a minimum payment for about 6 months but then got fed up and passed my debt on, I decided not to pay any other company as i thought they did not own the debt and if they did they bought it for a couple of quid, i was also struggling for money. I now have a job and have around £50 spare a month but i am unsure of what to do, should i pay Capquest and try and resolve the debt with them?? I dont want to end up in court!! Ive signed up to the CreditExpert to try and view my credit rating and possibly who owns the dept but im waiting for a pin number to arrive in the post before i can access it. The amount is £2094.17 owed i am unsure of any extra charges or late fees added on as it was 4 years ago. Your help will be greatly appreciated, thank you in advance.
  19. Hello everyone, I am new here so please bear with me if I get some of this a bit mixed up. My case against this odious little bank now goes back over 2 years and I am looking for ideas and / or help to take the bank to it's knees - and I have the ability and information to do just that - it's just I feel a little "alone" in my fight and could do with some help. Right - a VERY brief description of the case to date. In October 2008, I was running a number of very successful businesses here in the West Country and, by anyone's standards flourishing. I have been a Lloyds customer for over 12 years at this point and had done many "deals" with them - all of which had been repaid in full and had a platinum credit rating (so far so good - in short, I know what I am doing). In that month, the bank agreed a further £70K cash injection to fulfill orders from one of my companies (from "blue chip" companies I must add). To "cover this" (and the,then total of £135,000 in other loans and the like - all up to date and perfectly serviced), they had over £500K in free equity on 2 of my 7 properties - in short, even they agreed that all was well "geared" and working fine. The new injection was agreed (in front of witnesses) with my business manager and we were told that the funds would be available in the next few days. I should say that I had worked with them on MANY occasions in the past in this way and had had no problems whatsoever. So - ahead we went (based on this) but, after a week, the money was NOT there. I then phoned the bank and asked what was happening and was told not to worry - so I didn't. After 3 weeks, I called the manager back in to find out what the hell was happening and he said "I don't know" (truly useful) - so I said, just let me know the amounts on the accounts and I will get the funds elsewhere (as I then easily could have). Cutting a VERY long story short, after 6 MONTHS of writing, phoning and pleading, these figures were still not produced (and, in fact, were not produced until 2 months ago - over 2 YEARS after being asked for) and one of my businesses had been closed down. During this time, I also tried to raise funds to clear the second charges on the properties (so that I could either sell or actually use the capital I had tied up in them) - but the bank simply IGNORED all requests for details of these charges (details I still do not have to this day). Early on, I wrote to each and every Group Board member and involved Eric Daniels personally (in fact, for 6 months, he was the ONLY person I would deal with - and I did - often), warning them that, as they were now PERSONALLY aware of the situation, that I held them PERSONALLY responsible for any subsequent losses - not one of them even replied!! Sadly, during this time, I also broke my back and, because I no longer had BUPA cover (I could not access my capital because of the bank), by the time the NHS found the new break, it was too late and I am now confined to a wheelchair for life. This would NOT have been the case (according to my spinal surgeon) had I been seen at once. Our situation now is that our credit rating has been destroyed, we still have most of our assets (but cannot sell or use the capital tied up), I am crippled for life and my health has collapsed along with my 20 year marriage. I have had several "without prejudice" meetings with Lloyds and their solicitors (I have had to change my legal team twice now after the bank, locally and without knowledge of head office, have threatened to simply withdraw banking facilities from them if they continue with my case - which is "perverting the course of justice" - a criminal act). Our situation now is that they will accept a lower figure, at terms that are linked to when I sell the properties (it will still leave me sufficient - but .....) or I commence litigation based on Estopell and their clear breach of contract. The Daily Mail have already carried my story (and are keen for part 2) and Channel 5 wish to do a documentary about my treatment. In short, I probably have enough to make the front pages at the very least and do massive damage to the banks public standing (if it has any left) and that of it's ex-chairman and board of directors personally. I have detailed the entire history of all of this (there is MUCH more) and have copies of all letters, meetings and the like (which is more than the bank's solicitors seem to have been given) and am claiming that, not only do they write off anything they believe "owing" (I have explained that I am aware of fractional reserve banking and would ask them to prove their losses if required) but make payment in compensation of £250K for my losses and damages. All of this is all well and good but, as I explained, I am just a bloke, with a lot of "dirt" to dish, the knowledge of how to do it but am sat alone, exhausted and crippled. I could really do with some help here anyone. I have decided to commence litigation shortly BUT - I am not sure that I can actually survive doing it alone - and the bank is relying on this fact (and this fact alone) to prevent me from opening the flood gates of similar claims. To say that I feel vulnerable would be an understatement. Anyone "up" for giving me a hand with this thorny issue? I do hope so. As I said, this is a VERY "potted" history of the case to date - but suffice it to say, I have enough to severely damage the bank and it's employees and clear lack of proper local control - but- well, there is now only me fighting this. Cheers
  20. A word of advice to anyone who has a debt with these organisations. Don't expect to get any Justice or reasonable behaviour from them. Thier first priorty is to use any means possible, including illegal means, to make you home less even for a small ammount. Never trust what they tell you it's all lies any way. Most Importantly watch out for their mates who are District Judges. When dealing with them allways remember they are above the Law and authorised by the courts to act how ever they like in order to extract the maximum ammount of money from you. this includes redicouls charges like £1500 a month intrest on a debt of £1,300. If what ever reason you do not beleive that they should enjoy this immunity from the Law then please please write to your MP and quote this case. You can quote the FOS referance ref: 9525388 so they can see for themselfs the poor state of affairs with unregulated banks. Act now. You never know when Reston's solicitors might buy your debt or if you are not in debt now then their is no doubt that you may well be in debt one day. Don't waite till it's to late take action now. Reston's solicitors are not fit to hold a consumer credit licence. Make your viwes know to FOS and your MP.
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