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I picked up a bus lane ticket from Nottingham council last year. 

hands up, I got lost, it’s a fair cop.

I didn’t receive the initial notice of the ticket, but I DID receive the second.

i appealed on the basis of the discount being revoked as I hadn’t received the initial notice.

While awaiting a response, I have had had 3 x 3 day hospital attendances along with a couple of surgeries and other medical issues. 

The next lot of notices I must have missed due to my medical and home circumstances as I then received an Equita enforcement notice.

i immediately filed an out of time notice after discussing it over the phone with Nottingham council and providing them with my medical issues paperwork by email while I was on the phone.

They informed me they would accept it once I filed that notice and I would be able to sort it back at the initial level.

All good at this point you’d think.

Not Really.

I had surgery on my left leg again twice recently, once on 7th December, once on 21st January.

I came off my crutches on 31st January, and had stitches removed the same day but was not solid on my feet at all as to be expected. 

Then comes 1st febuary. 
 

Im in my living room next to my hallway and see a sheet of paper come through my door and see a dude dressed all in black hotfooting it to his car over the road.

No knock on the door, No envelope for the letter just an open sheet of paper.

I grab it and sure enough, enforcement notice levying another £235 despite the guy not even knocking to identify himself, work the case, assess, identify correct address nothing. (for informative purposes, my house is covered by full cctv)

I immediately go out and have it out with this guy who has a body cam but no identification or uniform other than black combats and a black jacket.

i ask him what he thinks he’s doing trying to make a £235 enforcement charge when he hasn’t actually knocked or worked the case, and why he is trying to enforce a case under declaration. 
 

EA gets VERY mouthy, ‘what’s it got to do with you, who even are you?’

I respond ‘well you’ve just put an open letter through my door breaching data protection, and you’ve tried to make a charge when you haven’t knocked on or identified yourself, you know full well that’s not on’

EA ‘I did knock on so what’s it got to do with you’

Me ‘you’re lying pal, my home has CCTV and shows you didn’t, tell you what, let’s give equita and Nottingham council a call and see what they make of it’

EA at this point gets VERY aggressive, swearing at me, saying stuff like if you want it let’s go round the corner where there’s no cameras and we’ll have it, who are you talking to like that’

EA then makes to get out of his car and come at me.

I throw the sheet of paper in his face to make him flinch, and snatch his car keys from his ignition as he has opened his door.

I  start to walk back to my door telling the EA ok pal you can sit right there till the police get here as you aren’t threatening and attacking anyone and getting away with it. 

As I am walking away, bearing in mind I can barely walk at this point, EA has attacked me from behind. 

He has shoved me into a hedge, then applied a choke hold directly across my neck lifting me off my feet with his forearm directly across my throat.

I have managed to release myself by pushing his arm up and off my throat, and tried to grab my wife’s car parked on the pavement to stay on my feet. 

As I do so, EA has again seized me in a chokehold from behind, with that much force and pressure directly across my throat that I start to see spots. 

Desperately I try to free myself by grabbing the hedge, the fence, anything I can. 

Managing that, the EA then lunges forward and grabs my hair (long, tied back) and yanks my head down while attacking again with knee strikes to my face, chest, and headbutts me in the back of my head.

I pull Myself backward trying to get my head released, unsuccessfully.

EA then yanks my jumper and my hair, taking me off my only good leg and as my bad left leg plants, I feel a snap in my knee and I know he’s just broken my leg.

I manage to leverage myself backward and to where I’m facing him with him still having hold of my head. 
 

I launch a left handed punch that misses, but manage to get my hand to the side of his head and then punch him twice as hard as I can in the directly in the nose with my right hand.

as I do this, I manage to get my right arm up and around his head and start to turn him round to force him to release my hair.

he uses his left hand to then gouge my face, ripping my glasses off my face and giving me serious cuts and grazes right across my face and my glasses cut deeply into my face millimetres from my left eye.

As I manage to turn him, I seize a railing outside my house and managed to drag myself over the threshold of my property as he tries to seize me round the throat again.

as I get over the threshold to my front garden, he immediately releases me and pushes me away and returns to his car.

of course I immediately ring 999 and police attend within minutes. 

initially they aren’t too set on acting as of course EA has his own story of woe.

luckily, my CCTV captured the entire thing and it shows clear as day him repeatedly attacking from behind and the entire assault.

Instantly there’s a total 180 degree attitude change from the police and they immediately realise this is clearly a serious unprovoked assault by the EA.

they call an ambulance for me and the when that arrives, EA is arrested for ABH and put in the van and taken away. 

I am transported to hospital where injuries are logged, serious facial injuries, throat swollen and inflamed and grazed and a snapped bone in the back of my knee that is confirmed after comparing to scans and x rays taken only weeks before during my previous surgery.

Police confirm that a charging decision has been sent to the CPS as it’s clearly too serious for them to charge and there is suggestion of the charge being upgraded to GBH from ABH and they aren’t allowed to make that charging decision in custody. 

Over the next 3 days I am chasing Equita as the manager I need to speak to is suddenly ‘unavailable’ or ‘just going into a meeting’ or ‘just left for the day’

After FINALLY getting her on the phone, she refuses to give me any information as obviously I don’t have the letter now, (stupidly having lost it at the time of the incident when I threw it at him)

I make a formal written complaint, along with a DSAR demand for the agents info.

Equita respond saying due to the ongoing police matter they can’t correspond about my complaint, but the do furnish me with the EA’s last name.

I have lodged an EAC2 with his certifying court and had a response saying he has been informed and has his 14 days to respond.

I have not had any update from the police other than informing me when the EA was released from custody. 

They drove him back to my address and escorted him away to keep my family safe as I was still in hospital at this point.

He has bail conditions to stay away from my home and to not attend anywhere he knows I will be (not quite sure why that one was applied as I’ve never seen him in my life before the day) and  Equita confirm he has been removed from my case.

I have taken advice from a solicitor who specialises in police actions who is only to eager to take the case having seen the truly sickening footage that is absolutely open and shut in terms of what happened.

I informed Nottingham council of the incident and they have taken a formal complaint having seen the footage and they are utterly horrified. They came back to me saying they will await the outcome of the criminal matter before making a decision but that Equita have told them they are investigating at their end and have apparently written to me on the 5th for my footage. They haven’t. 

It seems that despite all the hoopla about firms behaving better etc, they really aren’t. 

granted this guy is on the register as self employed but Equita are still vicariously liable and I intend to have pursue the matter fully, being I’m currently coming at the EA from 4 different angles.

He really picked the wrong case to display this level of violence.

granted I’m now back in a full leg brace, back on crutches and back to worse than square one from my original leg issues, and I’m due back for more scans on 14th Feb but I’m going to be to be pushing this all the way, I will not allow someone to behave like this when they should know better. 

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Not much to say here except that the reduction of vicarious refers to the "proxy" legal liability for the wrongdoings of their employees. I don't know if the doctrine has evolved/developed but my understanding is that employers are not responsible for the wrongdoings of their independent contractors.
You need to check this out but if I'm right, then you would have to proceed against the EA directly and as delicious as it might be, you would not be able to hold Equita to account

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I am very sorry you have been through this and I hope that the CCTV evidence will be admitted in court and if it does show what's described above, I would expect that to be GBH rather than ABH which holds a much more serious punishment.

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did you get a notice of enforcement before he turned up at your home.?

PS they dont have to knock FWIW on visits, 

but if you didn't get a NOE then the £310 fees (£75+£235) are not allowed either.

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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could save you £310.

 

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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As this matter is the subject of a criminal enquiry, I will not be commenting about the incident itself (and I would suggest that the same applies to other viewers). 

You mention that you have been in contact with a solicitor who you say is eager to represent you. Have you informed him that you have made your complaint public?

Back to the debt itself; you said in your post that you HAD received an enforcement notice from Equita and that following this...you 'immediately filed an Out of Time' application. 

What date was the Enforcement Notice from Equita?

What date (and time) was your Out of Time Application submitted to the Traffic Enforcement Centre?

Were your Out of Time forms sent by email or by post? If email, did you receive an acknowledgment from the Traffic Enforcement Centre?

Most importantly, upon receiving the Enforcement Notice from Equita, did you contact Equita to inform that of your vulnerability (operation, hospital stay, crutches etc)?

Edited by Bailiff Advice
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In respect of "granted this guy is on the register as self employed but Equita are still vicariously liable", it is likely they will claim they are not. 

This was the finding in the Kafagi v JBW Group Ltd [2018] EWCA Civ 115] case.

The Court of Appeal ruled that because of the regulatory regime in Taking Control of Goods and the structure of the relationship between the enforcement agency and the self-employed EAs, the agency was not vicariously liable for the acts of its self-employed EAs.

Lord Justice Singh agreed with the JBW’s defence that the self-employed EA was at liberty to conduct the collection of a debt in whatever legal manner he saw fit, without control from JBW (who were the contracting company); he could ‘cherry-pick’ the work he wanted to do and could share that work with another person (even though that other person may not be known to JBW or the client).

In terms of applying the enforcement stage fee, the trigger is "... the first attendance at the premises in relation to the instructions....".  While it is clearly unethical to apply the fee by just posting something through the letterbox without even trying to make contact or take control of goods, the regulation failed to stipulate any action required. 

It would have been better to word it in the same way as the trigger for the sale stage by stating, "... the first attendance at the premises for the purpose of taking control of goods...". That way, simply posting a notice without trying to make contact would fail in being able to apply the fee.  If no one was in, then fair enough but this is clearly a postman job to get around as many properties as possible and add fees without doing any actual work!

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I’m struggling to upload an image of the letter even tho I’ve converted it to pdf but I received a letter from Nottingham council today saying the following

Further to updates from the Enforcement Agents and their internal investigation into the matter you have raised with the Enforcement Agent I would advised that Nottingham City Council have cancelled the above Penalty Charge Notice.

seems to me they want to be as faaaaaaaaaaar away from this one as they can….

In relation to the above questions from bailiff advice, what I said was I didn’t receive the initial notice in relation to the ticket where upon I could pay at a discounted rate.

the notice I DID receive was the follow up where the discount rate had elapsed, but at that point from my perspective, that was the first notice I even knew I’d gotten a ticket.

I appealed at that point and was rejected as my offer to pay the discounted rate was rejected as my appeal arrived outside the window that they would accept an appeal, mostly due to my not being home consistently and when I was home, I wasn’t in a great state to be 100% on top of admin, which granted and fair enough isn’t their problem.

I have searched for an initial Equita enforcement notice for the compliance fee stage but haven’t found one. But again in fairness I’m not able to say 100% that one won’t have arrived as again, consistent admin hasn’t been to of my list of priorities.

my first contact with Equita was with the agent so no they weren’t informed of any disability I have until my complaint went in at the point that he’d already broken my leg.

They now are fully informed of my registered disabled status, (in receipt of industrial injuries disablement benefit, in receipt of esa and a blue badge holder, and currently at tribunal stage for PIP) and they have told me in writing that while they cannot enter into correspondence with me at the moment, that the agent has been removed from my case.

they also refer to my case (still fully feed) of course even though their fees were what caused the row, as still being open without a payment plan in place, but as you see above, Nottingham council have cancelled the entirety of the charge anyway at this point. 

I notice the bit you refer to above as the equita enforcement notice, I can’t lay my hands on it at the moment but what I do have is emails from the council telling me the form to fill out so it’s somewhere between those two, I’m sure the notice will be here somewhere if that’s the one I do remember getting after the initial appeal 

I think I’ve figured out the upload of the letter today, let me know if it doesn’t work or show! 

Nottingham.pdf

In response to BLFUK1 above, having briefly researched the case you reference, I’m inclined to agree with you (insofar as much as a legal layman can) being it’s not my area of specific expertise, however there is 2 caveats that present themselves potentially that I see.

the case above ruled with weight applied that the agent in that case had a bond which is required but also his own indemnity which would suggest of course he saw himself as outside the scope of a direct employee. 

I wonder if the agent in my case has the same, or if he had insurance provided through a contract with Equita if that would present a different perspective on that ruling. 

secondly Equita have put in writing that they have removed the agent, which to me would suggest they have the authority and responsibility to do so due to his actions, which would mean acceptance of an employer relationship. 

If not surely they would say instantly at the outset ‘he doesn’t work for us, what do you expect us to do, go talk to him’

id be interested to hear what thoughts are of that train of thought. 

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You may wish to have a read of paragraph 66 of Schedule 12 of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007.

My interpretation is that there is no ability to go after Equita although there is an option to bring proceedings against the creditor - In this case the council.

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I don't think s.66 of Schedule 12 is of any help as it is a remedy where the EA breaches a provision of the Schedule - not where an EA does something which is not about the Schedule or executing the warrant, such as assaulting someone..... it's more about, for example, not sending the Notice of Enforcement or using force to re-enter without having given notice.

While the alleged assault may have occurred during the attendance in relation to the warrant, can an employer be liable for something an individual does which is not part of the process.  For example, if a bus driver has a road rage incident, gets out of the bus and assaults another driver, is the bus company liable for his actions as he's paid to drive a bus..... I doubt it.

I don't think any legal action against the creditor will succeed as the local authority contracted the EA's 'employer' to execute the warrant in accordance with Schedule 12, nothing more.

Also, as he is 'self-employed', the findings in Kafagi seem fairly persuasive anyway.

It seems to me the only recourse is criminal proceedings against an individual for his [alleged] criminal offence.  While a complaint about the EAs conduct while he was dealing with a warrant may result in apologies and reparations, I simply can't see any further liability on their part for this particular type of incident which is not part of the process for executing a warrant of control.  

 

 

 

 

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Paragraph 66 is relevant because the EA has breached Schedule 12 by using force against a person. It follows that the option is there (as prescribed) to initiate proceedings against the creditor. It is pointless comparing EAs with bus drivers or any other industry as they are bound by their own specific, strict rules and regulations. That said, I personally couldn’t see the point of pursuing a creditor.

As in all scenarios, there are always at least 2 sides to any story and we do not know for example if the debtor was still holding the EAs car keys when the first altercation occurred. The case clearly isn’t “open and shut” because the EA still hasn’t been charged with anything.

Issuing a complaint (EAC2) sounds good on paper but people need to understand what they are letting themselves in for - It is not a complaint as such as it can lead to a court hearing where the losing party will almost certainly be ordered to pay the winning Side’s costs.

The best course of action here is is to await the police investigation and then see what the solicitor who is keen on acting has to say. I think everyone is in agreement that pursuing Equita is a non-starter.

 

 

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