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LSC/ Rossendales demanding £1400 for legal aid out of the blue, very upset, advice **Resolved**?


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Hello all, I feel like my head is going to implode under stress of whats happening to me.. hoping someone has some ideas ..

 

I'll try to keep it brief.

Oct 2011 Drove my much treasured 1960s classic car to one of those German supermarkets East Grinstead (Sussex) Branch. Left store got into car, some guy follows me to car and accuses me of stealing something from shop (didn't!) I try to ignore him and try to leave but he then KICKED my car, damaging a rear lamp etc. I got VERY angry and shouted at him and he ran off, I caught up with him and grabbed him. Really felt like beating the living you know what out of him but I somehow managed to stop myself from doing anything like that, and just grabbed his wrist, but he complained to the police that I had assaulted him, and completely denied doing anything to my car. I had to explain to the police what happened and really didn't think anything would become of it but low and behold, CPS took the case and I got charged with the assault, mainly as other members of staff backed his story and he had cctv showing me restraining him, but no cctv of other end of car park where he kicked car.

 

Anyways, I was offered legal aid so I thought why not and took it. The firm solicitors helped me fill out the paperwork and I gave them my bank statements and house details etc. I was subsequently advised to put in a guilty plea as there would be a conditional discharge (mitigating circumstances etc) and that would be the end of it, so that's what I did. (+£70 court costs) . I was glad to have it all behind me although traumatised and I still had a damaged car and was annoyed about the police not doing anything about that whatsoever.

 

EIGHT MONTHS LATER ( Jan 21st 2013) a bill from some people called Rossendales (on behalf of Legal Services) demands I pay £1407.50 for my legal aid. Mentions bailiffs etc.I was absolutely flabberghasted and shocked and it made me so angry, and after a day or two trying to work out what to do I was getting very depressed and in fact had to have an emergency appointment with my doctor as I was so emotionally unwell.

 

Apparently in some (long ago discarded) paperwork there was something along the lines if 'IF FOUND GUILTY' and if you have equity over £30,000 you MIGHT be asked to pay a CONTRIBUTION towards your defence costs.

 

I DO have more than 30K equity in my house. I am proud to say I have worked hard for 20+ years , having NEVER ONCE been in debt, and have scrimped and saved to get that house, I have never had any benefits etc. I am a self employed car mechanic, I love my job so I stick at it despite the economic situation, I only make around £6000 a year. About half of minimum wage! I make ends meet by having a very modest lifestyle, no holidays, no television, heat my place with scrap wood, buy everything 2nd hand including clothes, home grown veg, Freecycle, you get the picture.

 

My point is:

*Why didnt ANYONE tell me I wouldnt qualify for free legal aid, when it was clear to people who are in the know right from the start that I had a house therefore don't qualify. Do I have a case against the solicitors if nothing else?

 

*Surely entering a guilty plea is not being 'found guilty'

 

*Why did it take them EIGHT MONTHS to decide I had to make a contribution.

 

*Why is the paperwork worded 'MIGHT' if the rules are that if you have over 30K you HAVE TO pay for the defence costs.

 

*Why is my 'CONTRIBUTION' actually the TOTAL COST of the defence, that's the most misleading thing I've ever seen on some legal paperwork! Can this be NULLIFIED somehow due to this? I was even told by LSC yesterday that they are aware of the problem and are correcting their documentation soon.

 

*Can my low income not somehow count as to offset that fact that I'm fortunate enough to have a house (paying for it on a low monthly mortgage) as £1400 is a lot of money to someone like me, who was told something was free, and would have managed WITHOUT A SOLICITOR had I had any idea it wasn't free. £1400 is a quarter of a years work for me!

 

So far I have managed to speak to the manager of legal Services Commission who made sympathedic noises but said those are the rules, hands tied , all that. Managed to get him to put Rossendales on hold for their bailiffs threats etc.but thats as far as I got.

 

If anyone has some insight on this I would absolutely love to hear some suggestions of what I can do as I feel so wronged by the entire justice system right now and its ruining my life.

 

If there is a lawyer reading this who really knows LSC contribution cases and can definately get this retracted I wouldn't mind paying them , once i'm off it of course! Happy to donate to this site too.

 

Thankyou!!!

Edited by Classic-car-lover
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Classis car lover.

 

I cannot read the letters as they are far too samll. Can you retry to copy them. Also, you need to ensure that you have removed all person info (your name and address etc).

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The FOI request is interesting but personally I would have been asking for details of the fee structure they are able to charge or what payment they are receiving from the government to run this contract.

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Hi , large scans but forum shrunk them. Tried to link directly to hosted files but I don't have enough posts to be able to link apparently. Thanks for the replies so far..

 

try this URL for pics of letter (copy and paste into a browser window) thankyou

freespace.virgin.net/nissan.patrol/rossend-letter1m.jpg

freespace.virgin.net/nissan.patrol/rossend-letter2.jpg

Edited by Classic-car-lover
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Hello all, I feel like my head is going to implode under stress of whats happening to me.. hoping someone has some ideas ..

 

I'll try to keep it brief.

Oct 2011 Drove my much treasured 1960s classic car to one of those German supermarkets East Grinstead (Sussex) Branch. Left store got into car, some guy follows me to car and accuses me of stealing something from shop (didn't!) I try to ignore him and try to leave but he then KICKED my car, damaging a rear lamp etc. I got VERY angry and shouted at him and he ran off, I caught up with him and grabbed him. Really felt like beating the living you know what out of him but I somehow managed to stop myself from doing anything like that, and just grabbed his wrist, but he complained to the police that I had assaulted him, and completely denied doing anything to my car. I had to explain to the police what happened and really didn't think anything would become of it but low and behold, CPS took the case and I got charged with the assault, mainly as other members of staff backed his story and he had cctv showing me restraining him, but no cctv of other end of car park where he kicked car.

 

Anyways, I was offered legal aid so I thought why not and took it. The firm solicitors helped me fill out the paperwork and I gave them my bank statements and house details etc. I was subsequently advised to put in a guilty plea as there would be a conditional discharge (mitigating circumstances etc) and that would be the end of it, so that's what I did. (+£70 court costs) . I was glad to have it all behind me although traumatised and I still had a damaged car and was annoyed about the police not doing anything about that whatsoever.

 

EIGHT MONTHS LATER ( Jan 21st 2013) a bill from some people called Rossendales (on behalf of Legal Services) demands I pay £1407.50 for my legal aid. Mentions bailiffs etc.I was absolutely flabberghasted and shocked and it made me so angry, and after a day or two trying to work out what to do I was getting very depressed and in fact had to have an emergency appointment with my doctor as I was so emotionally unwell.

 

Apparently in some (long ago discarded) paperwork there was something along the lines if 'IF FOUND GUILTY' and if you have equity over £30,000 you MIGHT be asked to pay a CONTRIBUTION towards your defence costs.

 

I DO have more than 30K equity in my house. I am proud to say I have worked hard for 20+ years , having NEVER ONCE been in debt, and have scrimped and saved to get that house, I have never had any benefits etc. I am a self employed car mechanic, I love my job so I stick at it despite the economic situation, I only make around £6000 a year. About half of minimum wage! I make ends meet by having a very modest lifestyle, no holidays, no television, heat my place with scrap wood, buy everything 2nd hand including clothes, home grown veg, Freecycle, you get the picture.

 

My point is:

*Why didnt ANYONE tell me I wouldnt qualify for free legal aid, when it was clear to people who are in the know right from the start that I had a house therefore don't qualify. Do I have a case against the solicitors if nothing else?

 

*Surely entering a guilty plea is not being 'found guilty'

 

*Why did it take them EIGHT MONTHS to decide I had to make a contribution.

 

*Why is the paperwork worded 'MIGHT' if the rules are that if you have over 30K you HAVE TO pay for the defence costs.

 

*Why is my 'CONTRIBUTION' actually the TOTAL COST of the defence, that's the most misleading thing I've ever seen on some legal paperwork! Can this be NULLIFIED somehow due to this? I was even told by LSC yesterday that they are aware of the problem and are correcting their documentation soon.

 

*Can my low income not somehow count as to offset that fact that I'm fortunate enough to have a house (paying for it on a low monthly mortgage) as £1400 is a lot of money to someone like me, who was told something was free, and would have managed WITHOUT A SOLICITOR had I had any idea it wasn't free. £1400 is a quarter of a years work for me!

 

So far I have managed to speak to the manager of legal Services Commission who made sympathedic noises but said those are the rules, hands tied , all that. Managed to get him to put Rossendales on hold for their bailiffs threats etc.but thats as far as I got.

 

If anyone has some insight on this I would absolutely love to hear some suggestions of what I can do as I feel so wronged by the entire justice system right now and its ruining my life.

 

If there is a lawyer reading this who really knows LSC contribution cases and can definately get this retracted I wouldn't mind paying them , once i'm off it of course! Happy to donate to this site too.

 

Thankyou!!!

Hello Classic Car Lover

 

Regrettably by pleading guilty you have 'admitted your guilt' and therefore found 'yourself guilty'. However you do not have to deal with the bailiff and they are not allowed to threaten, or intimidate you. Rossendales are notorious for flouting their 'authority' and have been exposed on numerous occasions for doing so. I would advise that you contact the Legal Aid office and offer a payment plan, or just send them affordable regular payments by Cheque, or Postal Order.

 

I note you say you are "getting very depressed"(that comes as no surprise) and the fact you have had to have an emergency appointment with your doctor as you are so emotionally unwell. You don't give your age, or any other health status, but your current depression and emotional state ARE factors that have to be considered if for example they make you vulnerable. If you have secure place for your car keep it there - on a locked drive, or in anattached garage.

Good Luck

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Thankyou :) I'm 40 next month.

On another note, if I were to at least try to get the car damage paid for (£600) should I persue the bloke, or the company that he works for, as it happened on their premesis, which would I have more luck with in small claims court? I have contacted Aldi on many occasions asking them to pay for the damage.

 

Heres that letter now.

rossend-letter1m.jpg

 

rossend-letter2.jpg

Edited by Classic-car-lover
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I would have thought any pursuit of the £600 damages would have to be against the person you say committed the criminal damage.(Remember the burden of proof in the County Court is different to the Criminal Court and in order to defend your claim, the respondent has to respond. (If he ignores it the case will be awarded to you.)

Aldi, I doubt could, or would be held liable unless it could be proved that they instigated the attack with some sort of inducement, coercion, conspiracy, or duress which I think they would be highly unlikely to do.

However if you were forthright and honest when presenting your bank statements and house details and concealed nothing as to your wealth, I would have thought any half decent solicitor should have been able to work out the threshold of your entitlement.

In essence the solicitor should have realised the equity in your property as being a bar to ANY entitlement to legal aid.

A complaint to the firm’s partners perhaps about being misinformed. If you get no satisfaction with that then maybe the LAW SOCIETY. (Like doctors and other professionals, Solicitors carry insurances to cover such eventualities.)

I note you have contacted Aldi on many occasions asking them to pay for the damage presumably because this person is an employee? If thats the case and should it come to light that his 'colleagues''misinformed' the police as to what actually occured in order to 'assist' him then that would be Perverting the Course of Justice

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Thankyou SO much! YOu have given me some avenues to explore. Yes the person is the STORE MANAGER and he got everying believing his story, grrr.

Today I got a breakdown of what the £1400 is made up of. Tried to PM you but it forum wouldnt allow because under 30 posts!

For anyone thats interested:

Solicitors received £362.00 plus £72.40 vat

Counsel received £811.02 plus £162.20 vat

I am quite astonished by this since the councel must have talked to me for all of 20 minutes and there was no trial. I'm a mechanic. I wouldn't fit a bulb to someones car and charge them enough to buy another car!

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Hello Classic Car Lover - the manager eh well thats poses a most interesting scenario, for should this situation reverse I would imagine that his employer may consider his action to have brought them -ALDI - into disrepute. AFTERALL Government Ministers and Lords are subject to the same rules as mechanics and shop managers. I sincerely urge you to consider recovering that £600 for it would be on the' balance of probability' and not 'beyond a reasoable doubt'. Stretching things slightly further what of the original 'defamatious' allegation? As you know a minister was recently 'forced' to resign because of lies and your situation smacks of this!

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From what I can gather, they do not think he is putting them in disrepute because they believe him when he says 'I didn't vandalise the customers car' or whatever, however, a court summons directed towards Aldi might make them think 'hang on, maybe the customer is telling the truth else they wouldn't go to all this trouble' etc. Wouldn't it be lovely if i could make them responsible for my incurred defence costs after it happened as well ,*sigh* .

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi classic-car-lover. I'm sorry that I cannot help you with your problem but I am desperately trying to find out how to contact the LSC and I notice that you say that you spoke to the manager at the LSC. Would you be able to give me the contact details please.

 

Thank you in advance and I hope you get sorted.

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  • 2 months later...
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