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What happens when you actually go to court?


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As well as the capquest bankruptcy threat I mentioned on another thread, I've got Bryan Carter solicitors trying to get a CCJ against me for a debt of £2,407.33 originally owed to egg banking.

 

I've sent them the 'unenforceable agreements' letter from this site and, also mentioned the following facts - was sent via registered post.

 

I owe approx £65,000 in unsecured debts to about 10 different creditors (including the inland revenue)

I don't own any property or other assets

My business has gone downhill due to the recession and I'm currently claiming WTC and Housing Benefit (sent proof of both of these)

 

I also sent a defence to Northampton bulk court (citing that BC they hadn't sent me copies of all the relevant documents etc)

 

Anyway, on the 18th March I got a letter saying that they were offering me a 'full and final offer' of £1506.40 (which I can't pay anyway - I can hardly survive from week to week as it is!)

 

Now however, I've just had a letter from my local County Court (which I take more seriously than Bryan Carter's letters!) sending me an Allocation Questionnaire

 

It also says

 

IT IS ORDERED THAT

 

The claimant (ie, Bryan Carter/Egg) having failed to file the allocation questionnaire as directed IT IS ORDERED that unless the claimaint files the allocation questionnaire by 4pm on 6th April 2010 the claim shall be sturck out

 

The defendant (ie, me) having failed to file the allocation questionnaire as directed IT IS ORDERED that unless the defendent files the allocation questionnaire by 4pm on 6th April 2010 the defence and any part 20 counterclaim will be struck out and judgement entered for the claimant.

 

Now, clearly, I do need to answer this, but I'm not sure what to say.

 

In my earlier communications with BC I sent off the 'unenforceable debt' letter mentioned here. But the thing is, the thought of standing up in court and saying all that terrifies me - lots of the people on here seem to have good legal minds (and I'm very grateful for them!!) but I just haven't and find it all very difficult to understand...

 

My questions are...

 

Do you think BC are bluffing? Will they actually take me to court?

If they do, (ie, there's a hearing, and I turn up) - will they turn up too?

 

What will I be expected to say or do?

 

What exactly is a CCJ? - I don't mind that much having one in terms of it being a blot on my record, as I've got loads of defaults and it's a mess already. Does a CCJ mean that the judge orders that you should pay the money or bailiffs get sent in (not that I've got much to take!!) Or do you set up a payment plan via the CCJ? Given that I'm on benefits, I can't imagine the judge setting that very high. And especially since I owe the Inland Revenue money, so they should come first.

 

The questions they ask on the allocations form are...

 

Would you like to use the free small claims mediation service provided by the Court service?

Should I? Would this be a good idea?

 

Track

Do you agree that the small claims track is the most suitable track for this claim?

Is it? I don't know?

 

They ask if I want to us witnesses or experts

 

Then they ask about dates in the next four months when I will/won't be available

Would it be a good idea to put lots of dates? Say I'm going away for a month, or something?

 

Then they ask for 'other information' to help the judge manage or clarify the claim, including information that should be supplied by the other party

 

Should I put stuff in here about my limited income, and other debts

 

 

Fee

then they ask if i've attached the fee for filing this allocation questionairre... it says 'an allocation fee is payable if your claim or counterclaim exceeds £1,500 - well, clearly the claim that BC are making does, (I'm not making a counterclaim) - so I assume I'm not meant to pay anything... I wouldn't be able to anyway!

 

 

To be honest, I'm amazed that Bryan Carter are still ploughing on with this... I've sent them enough information for them to know I've got huge debts and no money in the pot, so really it's a waste of their time.

 

Any help you can give me on filling in this Allocation Questionnaire much appreciated!

 

Many thanks

 

Pinkpencilcase

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Hi,

 

Well the bad news is that they have taken you to court because the Judge has made an order for the AQ to be filed by both parties.

 

Are you able to scan up any documents?

 

We can help with this but you need to be quick!

 

VJ

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Many thanks for your response... what sort of documents should I scan?

 

Thing is, I don't know why they're bothering taking me to court when it's clear I've got no money (no property, on benefits etc) - what could the judge decide to take from me to give to them?

 

And what about the inland revenue debt? Surely that should come first?

 

Many thanks again.

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Hi

 

The issue for you is not whether they have any point in taking you to court but whether they "should" be able to ;-)

 

Documents you should scan? Everything you possibly can... do you know how to blot out your personal details?

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I went down to the post to pick up the registered letter and turns out wasn't from Bryan Carter at all, but a parcel related to work!

 

That means they still haven't supplied me with the Credit card agreement and related documents - but I have to fill in the Allocation Questionnaire and have it with the Court by 6th April - which means posting it registered mail tomorrow. Any advice you can offer as to what I should put in all those boxes much appreciated - Many thanks

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Why do you need to post it tommorrow? There is still a substantial part of the week to get the docs through from them. Have you tried to call them to find out where the docs are?

 

The AQ is not "crucial" to your case... it's simply a questionnaire on how you want the claim handled.

 

That said if you do not get ANY docs from BC you can request them in the AQ.

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Hi PPC, just wanted to add that at this stage and given your, forgive me, uncertainty about how these matters work you'll need to follow the good directions given by VJohn as quickly as possible, both now and in the immediate future ;).

 

From the limited info on here already it appears as if BC might be doing their usual, however that still means you need to robustly defend their claim and to do that you need paperwork. Of course if they can't provide certain paperwork that's in your favour too but time is fairly short and would hate to see you getting a raw deal when you might have had every opportunity to defend successfully.

 

Now I've posted on here I'll be kept up to date on your thread so will follow this closely and assist where I can. Keep us posted!

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Looking at your overall situation, have you considered bankruptcy? Or is there any possibility that the Revenue might make you bankrupt (they're not particularly imaginitive when it comes to debt enforcement and bankruptcy is still their default course of action)?

 

If you don't own any substantial assets, work in a sensitive profession such as financial services or have a landlord who might evict you for it (most will not), bankruptcy can be a relatively hassle free way to get rid of all your debts.

 

The main drawbacks are:-

 

The cost - £360 for the deposit even if you are on benefits although you should qualify for exemption from the additional court fee of £150 if you are on income support (this is why the Revenue might be doing you a favour if they were considering bankruptcy)

 

Credit file - even though most people are discharged after a year (you have to have done something like gambling or deliberately incurring debts prior to the bankruptcy for it to last any longer) the bankruptcy remains on your credit file for six years. However, any Defaults or CCJ's registered would also be on there for six years and have nearly as much effect.

 

Not all debts can be included - common exclusions are student loans, court fines and maintenance or CSA payments.

 

You cannot be a company director - it sounds as though you are/were self-employed so this could be an issue if you operate a limited company.

 

Your bank account may be frozen - when your bank first finds out you are bankrupt your accounts will usually be frozen so it is wise to move any regular payments in and out of the account of someone you can trust so you still have access to your money. Generally the account will be unfrozen when the official receiver has checked you don't have millions stashed away and given permission but it can cause problems with paying bills etc.

 

Just a suggestion for an alternative way of dealing with things without having to defend a potential 10 claims from various creditors. If you would like more information the insolvency service website is very helpful (although not always easy to navigate):-

www.insolvency.gov.uk

 

Alternatively you might just want a look at the specific leaflets relating to personal bankruptcy:-

http://www.insolvency.gov.uk/pdfs/guidanceleafletspdf/guidetobankruptcy.pdf

http://www.insolvency.gov.uk/pdfs/guidanceleafletspdf/howtopetition.pdf

 

Good luck with everything.

 

KC :)

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