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Judge J. F. Appleton - Distress for Rent Rules 1988 (Form 4 complaint) Determination

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A Distress for Rent Rules 1988 (Form 4 complaint) was made against a Rossendales' bailiff, the Judge ruled in the favour of the bailiff.


John Fortnam Appleton, designated Judge for Lancashire and Cumbria determined that he was not of the view that the bailiff’s fitness was in question. This determination was made despite a blatant illegal levy on a vehicle which did not belong to me, which in turn resulted in an attempt to defraud me of the levy fee (and another illegal invented fee he added for good measure) which I knew nothing about at the time.


Q.1 - Is this Judge and the bailiff complaints system totally corrupt?


Q.2 - Does the Judge believe the bailiffs explanation without question?


Q.3 - Is the Judge obliged to inform the complainant of the bailiffs explanation?


I wonder if anyone with knowledge or experience of these issues could answer any of the above.

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The Form 4 complaint system doesnt work, it never has. Use the Small claims instead.


I had a tenant, a businessman who had a Mercedes nicked by a bailiff for a neigbours debt, and a form 4 was thrown out. This was after the bailiff had sold the car in a mock auction to another bailiff who was moonlighting as a motor trader (who was discovered was not declaring this for income tax), who then sold it on to another motor trader who then sold it on to a new driver who promptly took it to a Mercedes dealership trying to get new keys. Mercedes UK impounded the car, it was theirs and was a contract car but police said the car is not stolen. HPI did record the car nicked but the motor traders disregarded it. The DVLA just said the RK was Mercedes UK and the bailiff "deemed" to be owned by the debtor.


The driver lost his £54K bankers draft and reported it to police but its all one big civil matter. Solicitors for the bailiffs, the council, the police, Mercedes Benz UK and several motor traders are still negotiating.

Professional property investor and conveyancer

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If you look under the STICKY section you will see that I have posted a sticky regarding bailiffs "levying" against a car that is not owned by you and frankly, such a complaint should NOT in my opinion be the subject of a Form 4 Complaint but should instead be brought to the attention of the relevant local authority.


In deciding a Form 4 Complaint the Judge has to consider whether the complaint is so serious as to warrant having the bailiff certificate removed from the bailiff and thereby leaving the bailiff without a form of employment.


Sadly, it is the BAILIFF COMPANY who instruct their bailiffs to "levy" upon a car parked close to the house. The bailiff COMPANY of course have no such certification and therefore there is no route to make a complaint against them.

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Originally Posted by fork-it

The driver lost his £54K bankers draft and reported it to police but its all one big civil matter.


I can't believe they've got Scotland Yard inquiring into Pakistan's cricket scandal, (a game) while the Police turn a blind eye, to an industry that's systamatically defrauding 100,s of 100,000's of UK citizens each year.


Originally Posted by ploddertom

Did you exhaust all lines of complaint before entering the Form 4?

Yes, 4 stages of formal complaint to council, LGO, LGO appeal, Police, Police complaint, Magistrates court for the council, Distress for Rent Rules 1988 (time barred, 6 months rule), and more recently the Independent Police Complaints Commission. All resulted in a cover up.


Originally Posted by tomtubby

Sadly, it is the BAILIFF COMPANY who instruct their bailiffs to "levy" upon a car parked close to the house. The bailiff COMPANY of course have no such certification and therefore there is no route to make a complaint against them.

In addition to levying the wrong vehicle, which the bailiff had no good reason to believe belonged to me, there was no notice of Seizure of Goods & Inventory handed to me or left with me. I believe Regulation 45 SI 1992/613 requires a bailiff to hand the debtor a copy of the regulation, a memo of the amount due and a copy of any agreement.

My formal complaint to North East Lincolnshire Council in which I was lied to by a Mr. Neil Smith (Court enforcement manager) was effectively a cover up, and the LGO even if they uphold a complaint (which they rarely do) can effectively do nothing.

And as a final note, do readers think it is appropriate that the above mentioned "Court enforcement manager", should be allowed to influence a judges decision when prosecuting for the Council in a Magistrates court, when it is known he lies in replies to formal complaints about the council?

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  • 7 months later...

It seems this Judge Appleton is a hot potato:


HM Courts

& Tribunals Service


18th April 2011


Dear Sir


Burnley County Court

Judge Appleton's Form 4 Decision


Thank you for your letter of 16th March received by Lancashire Area Director's Office on 21 st March and forwarded to this office on 28th March.


You wish to make a complaint in relation to your Form 4 application made at Burnley County Court. You have previously made a complaint to the court and you remain dissatisfied with their response. You state that you wish to be advised how His Honour Judge (HHJ) Appleton came to his decision and on what information was this based.


I have reviewed the documentation that both you and the court have provided and I am now in a position to respond to your complaint.


I understand that you have previously been advised by the court that following your complaint against Mr Singh, HHJ Appleton considered the information that was provided by you in Form 4.


Following consideration of this information HHJ Appleton determined that the Mr Singh's behaviour was not in question.


While I can understand your frustration at HHJ Appleton's decision, I have to explain that no one has the authority to intervene since judges are independent of Government and the administration. However, if you feel that the judge's decision was wrong you might wish to consider appealing that decision. I would, however, suggest that you seek professional advice before embarking on such a route.


Furthermore I note that you were advised in the court's response of 9th August 2010, that your complaint against RJ Hall had not been referred to HHJ Appleton nor had the court received a response from Mr Russell as he had left his employers prior to your complaint being lodged and is no longer a certificated bailiff.


I am sorry that this is not a response that you would have hoped to have received and if you wish the matter to be considered further you may contact the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. Their contact address is PHSO, MillbankTower, Millbank, London SW1 P 4QP and telephone 0345 015 4033. You will have to ask your local MP to refer your complaint to the PHSO, if you do not know who your MP is, they can assist.


Yours sincerely


Senior Caseworker

Complaints Handling and Enquiries Team

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