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Advice needed please.

 

I had to attend a Crown Court in 2010 relating to a criminal offence. At the time I was granted legal aid, as this is means tested I am guessing the Legal Aid Agency (LAA) had done all the necessary checks.

 

In 2011 I relocated to Amsterdam, Holland where I remained until November 2013.

 

In September 2013, whilst I was residing in Holland, I was sent a letter by the LAA stating that according to their calculations I had equity above the value of £30,000 and therefore required to pay a contribution towards my legal fees. This amounted to £1800.

 

I only discovered the correspondence whilst on a visit to the UK in October 2013. At this stage the LAA had already passed the "debt" to a collection agency, so I also had letters from them demanding payment or face legal enforcement (bailiffs, court etc).

 

The equity the LAA were referring to is my mothers property. As per Land Registry records I am a co-owner of the property. This is correct, however, the LAA failed to investigate any further. Had they done so they would have discovered that I only have a 1% interest/share of the property. Since it is my mothers property, we had deeds drawn up outlining our share of the property (mine 1%, mother 99%).

 

I wrote to the collection agency early November 2013 explaining that the LAA equity calculation was incorrect as I only have a 1% interest/share in the property. The collection agency requested evidence of the 1% share. Since so much time had passed since drawing up the property deeds I had a hard time finding the paperwork.

 

In February 2014, I received letters from the Land Registry and a County Court advising me of court proceedings by the collection agency to recover the so called debt. After much searching I eventually found the property deeds and sent the document to the collection agency so that they could reassess my financial situation.

 

Towards the end of March 2014 I received a letter from the collection agency stating that they were satisfied with the evidence I had provided (the property deeds) and that the county court case will be revoked. In a second paragraph they also stated that I am liable for the legal fees (£360) they had incurred!

 

To date (03/04/14) I have not yet received any confirmation from the court that the case has been discontinued. I guess that will come is due course.

 

Can they do this? If the LAA had done their job correctly in the first instance there would have been no need to pursue a debt that did not exist. And I now feel that I am having to pay for their incompetency.

 

And CPR 38.6? Will this apply to me? I stumbled across this rule whilst doing a little research regarding my situation with the LAA/collection agency.

 

Any help/advice anyone can provide will be greatly appreciated.

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Thread moved to the appropriate forum.

 

Regards

 

Andy

We could do with some help from you.

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38.6 does not apply to small claims track. Although the case has not yet been formally allocated it would usually still be treated as a small claim.

 

You should only be liable for their costs if the court makes an order to that effect. If they just discontinue its difficult to see how you could be liable for anything. Since you did not provide the deeds until after they issued proceedings it seems to me that they would have a strong reason to ask the court for an order you pay their costs, but I think its very unlikely they would seek an order like this over £360.

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38.6 does not apply to small claims track. Although the case has not yet been formally allocated it would usually still be treated as a small claim.

 

You should only be liable for their costs if the court makes an order to that effect. If they just discontinue its difficult to see how you could be liable for anything. Since you did not provide the deeds until after they issued proceedings it seems to me that they would have a strong reason to ask the court for an order you pay their costs, but I think its very unlikely they would seek an order like this over £360.

 

Thanks for the info. I have not received a court order for the costs. However, correspondence from the collection agency did state that interest will be added to the debt and costs of any enforcement action.

 

But I had already advised them of my share in the property? No further action should have been taken....They could have investigated a little further?...but I guess the onus is on me to provide the evidence. They seemed to be steam powered (excuse the pun! lol) given the fact that it took a couple of years to get back to me and then fast track to legal proceedings only to get nowhere.

 

They did not take into consideration my situation...I had advised them as soon as I could that I had been out of the country for 2 years and that I have only 1% share in the property.

 

I have been to the CAB and they advised me to contact the LAA to explain the situation. Not too sure if that's going to get me anywhere!

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They could not find out what share you hold in the property as this information is not shown on the land register. Although to be honest this now doesn't really matter. Personally I would sit tight and wait for them to discontinue.

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Thanks for the info. I have not received a court order for the costs. However, correspondence from the collection agency did state that interest will be added to the debt and costs of any enforcement action.

 

But I had already advised them of my share in the property? No further action should have been taken....They could have investigated a little further?...but I guess the onus is on me to provide the evidence. They seemed to be steam powered (excuse the pun! lol) given the fact that it took a couple of years to get back to me and then fast track to legal proceedings only to get nowhere.

 

They did not take into consideration my situation...I had advised them as soon as I could that I had been out of the country for 2 years and that I have only 1% share in the property.

 

I have been to the CAB and they advised me to contact the LAA to explain the situation. Not too sure if that's going to get me anywhere!

 

And if I do receive a court order for the costs...can I dispute it?

 

Afterall, I was granted Legal Aid based on their (LAA) means testing. Any savings/assets/equity I allegedly had should have been identified at the time of approving Legal Aid.

 

Instead I was contacted 2 years later when I was no longer resident in the UK.

 

It just seems very unfair. I have to pay costs for enforcing a debt that never was.:mad2:

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