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  • FIRST POST
    • ZBanfield
    • By ZBanfield 21st Sep 16, 2:45 PM
    • 6Posts
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    ZBanfield
    Not Sure where to post this - Small Claims Court lost all my paperwork - compensation
    • #1
    • 21st Sep 16, 2:45 PM
    Not Sure where to post this - Small Claims Court lost all my paperwork - compensation 21st Sep 16 at 2:45 PM
    Hi MoneysavingExpert Team,

    I have a dilemma and can't seem to find a suitable post area and not sure how to post.

    I need advice on how to reply to a court letter.

    After two long years of battling, I had a small claims court hearing against a fraudulent building firm.

    When I arrived at the court for the hearing, the judge advised me he had none of my exhibit bundle - 129 pages or witness statements

    I have made a complaint to the court and am doing one for the judge's behavior.

    The court replied to my complaint offering £50 "without predjudice". Can I accept this but still take it further? I assume I need to word my letter carefully and legally correctly and need help

    Also, the reply to my complaint letter from the court said the following statements:

    "I am unable to explain why the documents you filed were not on file for the hearing."

    "All the documents you referred to in your complaint letter have been logged onto our electronic file as being received by the court."

    " I have located your particulars of claim on the court file although these appear to have no date stamp."

    "I understand the frustration and disappointment you must feel and I am personally locating all the documents you refer to in your complaint."

    So, there appears to be contradicting statements...they are saying that they do have the Particulars Of Claim and Exhibit Bundle. Nowhere in the letter does she confirm she has my exhibit bundle or found it?

    How should I work my letter?

    Many thanks in advance,
Page 1
    • lincroft1710
    • By lincroft1710 21st Sep 16, 3:11 PM
    • 8,205 Posts
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    lincroft1710
    • #2
    • 21st Sep 16, 3:11 PM
    • #2
    • 21st Sep 16, 3:11 PM
    Usually if you accept money offered, the matter is deemed to be closed. Do be aware that a "without prejudice" offer can be withdrawn at any time.

    Only you and the court can solve the mystery of the missing bundle. You need to ask them if they have found your bundle or not, and if not did they originally scan it so it can be printed out. Unless someone has burnt/shredded them, or taken them home your papers must be somewhere in the court office.
    • naedanger
    • By naedanger 21st Sep 16, 3:16 PM
    • 1,659 Posts
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    naedanger
    • #3
    • 21st Sep 16, 3:16 PM
    • #3
    • 21st Sep 16, 3:16 PM
    Hi MoneysavingExpert Team,

    I have a dilemma and can't seem to find a suitable post area and not sure how to post.

    I need advice on how to reply to a court letter.

    After two long years of battling, I had a small claims court hearing against a fraudulent building firm.

    When I arrived at the court for the hearing, the judge advised me he had none of my exhibit bundle - 129 pages or witness statements

    I have made a complaint to the court and am doing one for the judge's behavior.

    The court replied to my complaint offering £50 "without predjudice". Can I accept this but still take it further? I assume I need to word my letter carefully and legally correctly and need help

    Also, the reply to my complaint letter from the court said the following statements:

    "I am unable to explain why the documents you filed were not on file for the hearing."

    "All the documents you referred to in your complaint letter have been logged onto our electronic file as being received by the court."

    " I have located your particulars of claim on the court file although these appear to have no date stamp."

    "I understand the frustration and disappointment you must feel and I am personally locating all the documents you refer to in your complaint."

    So, there appears to be contradicting statements...they are saying that they do have the Particulars Of Claim and Exhibit Bundle. Nowhere in the letter does she confirm she has my exhibit bundle or found it?

    How should I work my letter?

    Many thanks in advance,
    Originally posted by ZBanfield
    Has your court action finished? If not, might you be better waiting until your claim is finished before continuing with your complaint about the court's administration? (My reason for suggesting you wait is twofold. Firstly is it not better focusing on one complaint at a time, and secondly if your claim is not yet finished you may have more to add to your complaint about the court's administration if they make any further mistakes.)

    I would be surprised if you can accept the £50 and still pursue a complaint about this matter. I would have thought their letter would say something along the line of offering this amount to settle your complaint in full.
    Last edited by naedanger; 21-09-2016 at 4:46 PM. Reason: Removed my interpretation of court letter as I think it was wrong.
    • bod1467
    • By bod1467 21st Sep 16, 4:36 PM
    • 14,735 Posts
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    bod1467
    • #4
    • 21st Sep 16, 4:36 PM
    • #4
    • 21st Sep 16, 4:36 PM
    " I have located your particulars of claim on the court file although these appear to have no date stamp."
    So they've found the PoC

    "I understand the frustration and disappointment you must feel and I am personally locating all the documents you refer to in your complaint."
    But they haven't yet found your evidence bundle

    So, there appears to be contradicting statements...they are saying that they do have the Particulars Of Claim and Exhibit Bundle. (No they don't - see above) Nowhere in the letter does she confirm she has my exhibit bundle or found it?
    Originally posted by ZBanfield
    Based on your post, you've misunderstood what they've told you.

    Question though ... why don't YOU have a copy of your PoC and evidence bundle? Or do you, but the judge wouldn't proceed with the claim because the court (thought they) didn't have the bundle?
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    • Manxman in exile
    • By Manxman in exile 21st Sep 16, 4:56 PM
    • 186 Posts
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    Manxman in exile
    • #5
    • 21st Sep 16, 4:56 PM
    • #5
    • 21st Sep 16, 4:56 PM
    I may be mistaken but I think the OP has posted elsewhere on another forum.


    The OP did have his evidence bundle but had(?) to give his copy to the judge. I think the OP felt that this hampered his ability to present his case effectively as it was difficult for him and the judge to refer to the same bundle at the same time.


    I think the OP only got partial judgement in his favour which he partly blames on the court's loss of its copy of the evidence. I can understand his frustration.


    OP also wants to "complain" to someone about how the judge considered the evidence and reached his/her judgement.


    Apols if I've got this wrong.
    • agrinnall
    • By agrinnall 21st Sep 16, 6:25 PM
    • 14,950 Posts
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    agrinnall
    • #6
    • 21st Sep 16, 6:25 PM
    • #6
    • 21st Sep 16, 6:25 PM
    I may be mistaken but I think the OP has posted elsewhere on another forum.

    ...

    Apols if I've got this wrong.
    Originally posted by Manxman in exile
    This is the OP's only other post, which I guess is about the case under discussion here. However, it doesn't really support your thinking, so unless the OP has also posted under another user name you may not be right.

    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5239311
    • wealdroam
    • By wealdroam 21st Sep 16, 6:44 PM
    • 17,100 Posts
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    wealdroam
    • #7
    • 21st Sep 16, 6:44 PM
    • #7
    • 21st Sep 16, 6:44 PM
    This is the OP's only other post, which I guess is about the case under discussion here. However, it doesn't really support your thinking, so unless the OP has also posted under another user name you may not be right.

    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5239311
    Originally posted by agrinnall
    But Manxman in exile said:
    ...elsewhere on another forum.
    Originally posted by Manxman in exile
    For some reason he chose not to tell us where 'elsewhere' might be.
    • NeilCr
    • By NeilCr 21st Sep 16, 7:02 PM
    • 174 Posts
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    NeilCr
    • #8
    • 21st Sep 16, 7:02 PM
    • #8
    • 21st Sep 16, 7:02 PM
    Decided against it!
    Last edited by NeilCr; 21-09-2016 at 7:17 PM.
    • Manxman in exile
    • By Manxman in exile 21st Sep 16, 7:52 PM
    • 186 Posts
    • 94 Thanks
    Manxman in exile
    • #9
    • 21st Sep 16, 7:52 PM
    • #9
    • 21st Sep 16, 7:52 PM
    The OP's other post I was referring to wasn't on this site but on the Consumer Action Group one. I didn't specify this because I wasn't sure it was the same poster. (I may still be wrong).


    I made my post because somebody else here questioned whether the OP had his evidence bundle. It seemed clear to me that he had, so I was trying to clarify that point. The OP (according to the other forum which I may be wrong about if this thread is unrelated) had served all the papers correctly but the court had "lost" their copy. On the other forum the OP seemed a bit miffed in that he thought the judge initially was blaming the OP for not serving papers correctly, and that it was the OP's fault that the court did not have his evidence.


    I was simply trying to clarify that point, but may have muddied the waters if the different posts are unrelated. But they seem remarkably similar.


    If this thread is about the same matter then I would say I'd be pretty hacked off if the court lost my papers and I thought that had been instrumental in me not getting full judgment in my favour.


    In answer to the OP's actual question, I don't remember if he has any grounds (or indeed avenue) for appeal, so I'm not sure how, or to whom, he complains about the perceived conduct of the judge.


    Again, apologies if I've veered off at a tangent but I was trying to help the OP (if it's the same person).
    • NeilCr
    • By NeilCr 21st Sep 16, 7:55 PM
    • 174 Posts
    • 178 Thanks
    NeilCr
    I saw it there too. It does very much look like the same case. Same username if I recall correctly
    • Manxman in exile
    • By Manxman in exile 21st Sep 16, 8:24 PM
    • 186 Posts
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    Manxman in exile
    Thank you NeilCr.


    I've no idea what level of court this was, but to lose an evidence bundle seems like incredible incompetence (assuming the "other" OP's recollection of the facts is correct). But I'm sure it happens.


    I would have thought an adjournment appropriate (to find the "lost" bundle) but perhaps not possible at this level of proceedings.


    I have no view on how the OP perceives either the conduct of the judge or the outcome of the case (I wasn't there and neither have I read the evidence) but I do think the court's mismanagement of the evidence is wholly unacceptable (assuming what the OP says is true, and I have no reason to disbelieve them).


    I can't advise, OP, but others on here may be able to do so.
    • NeilCr
    • By NeilCr 21st Sep 16, 8:29 PM
    • 174 Posts
    • 178 Thanks
    NeilCr
    No I can't help either. It certainly doesn't sound good but whether or not the outcome was affected at all I have no idea

    I would say, though, that having read the thread the OP looks like they were getting good advice there.
    • Manxman in exile
    • By Manxman in exile 21st Sep 16, 8:48 PM
    • 186 Posts
    • 94 Thanks
    Manxman in exile
    Yes.


    I think the OP might be better served for now sticking to CAG rather than starting a new thread here and everybody here having to get up to speed, with the OP not revealing the full story about the case.


    I say "might" because I don't see this forum as being about giving advice about the conduct of legal proceedings. No offence intended to the consumer rights experts on here.


    But there may be other legal experts here who can give good advice to OP?


    (For other CAG watchers - I'm waiting with anticipation for user Callum1999 to turn up on this site!)
    • unholyangel
    • By unholyangel 21st Sep 16, 11:03 PM
    • 9,945 Posts
    • 7,149 Thanks
    unholyangel
    Thank you NeilCr.


    I've no idea what level of court this was, but to lose an evidence bundle seems like incredible incompetence (assuming the "other" OP's recollection of the facts is correct). But I'm sure it happens.


    I would have thought an adjournment appropriate (to find the "lost" bundle) but perhaps not possible at this level of proceedings.


    I have no view on how the OP perceives either the conduct of the judge or the outcome of the case (I wasn't there and neither have I read the evidence) but I do think the court's mismanagement of the evidence is wholly unacceptable (assuming what the OP says is true, and I have no reason to disbelieve them).


    I can't advise, OP, but others on here may be able to do so.
    Originally posted by Manxman in exile
    I didn't read the whole of the thread over on CAG but it seems it was a small claim. The judge ideally would have asked the court staff to copy OP's bundle and dealt with what issues they could until it had been compiled but perhaps they were pressed for time so decided against that as copying near 200 pages takes quite a bit of time. Solicitors will usually prepare an extra copy or two just in case they're needed.

    But regarding the complaint of the judges handling - if OP feels that the judge did not handle the case in accordance with the law and that caused her to only be awarded partially, the correct step there would be to appeal the judgement rather than complain about his conduct.

    OP's post over on CAG states that the judge asking for the evidence bundle at the start of the hearing "threw" her and that is why she was only awarded partially. Which to me, doesn't imply any wrongdoing on the part of the judge. OP seems to have taken issue with the judge believing the other party in some aspects (even where there was a lack of proof) but thats not enough to appeal on as that relates to the facts of the case rather than an error in applying the law.


    However, as for the OP's question surrounding the £50. Do they offer the amount in full & final settlement? I'd also ask you to bear in mind that if you push this, you may end up with £0. Unless you can prove they were negligence and that negligence caused you a loss that you would not otherwise have suffered, what they're offering is a goodwill gesture rather than damages.
    Money doesn't solve poverty.....it creates it.
    • bod1467
    • By bod1467 22nd Sep 16, 8:44 AM
    • 14,735 Posts
    • 13,379 Thanks
    bod1467
    How does the £50 offer correlate with the amount "lost" due to only receiving a partial award?

    As it was a partial award, did OP still have to cover their own costs in bringing the claim? (Usually the winner gets their [limited] costs covered by the losing party).

    Bottom line ... OP needs to do a risk/reward assessment and determine whether it is worth the time spent in pursuing this further.
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    • ZBanfield
    • By ZBanfield 22nd Sep 16, 9:41 AM
    • 6 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    ZBanfield
    Thank you to everyone and explanation
    Hi everyone who responded to my post.

    Many thanks.

    Hopefully this answers all the questions...


    As some of the posters mentioned, I did indeed post on another forum CAG - in short, the case related to a work colleague who I still have to work with sadly. They overheard me discussing building works as I had been ripped off before and said they ran a building firm. Unfortunately, hat was a lie.....they ran a sham as Director of a Ltd Company pretending to be a building form and destroyed my home, ransacked and stole belongings and kept thousands of pounds for work never done. I have had to live in te aftermath for the past two years as I am broke. I have been battling this since June 2014! I could not afford a solicitor.

    The court hearing was heard in August this year and on the day I was told they lost all my paperwork.

    I complained to the court and they replied. I am also trying to draft a letter to complain about the judge too.

    I did post on CAG forum who have been really helpful through the process getting to court.

    This posting is about the complaint letters - court and judge. I was waiting fro a response, but have not had any to these queries yet and have a time limit to submit the complaint letter about judge and respond to the court complaint offer letter.

    My court complaint letter offer requested reimbursement of two days pay as I sacrificed this to deliver the documents which they have lost and payment to court for the hearing. The hearing and judgement has been made and I was told that an appeal would get me nowhere as the judge has to agree ti it first and would cost more money. The case is finished.

    Below is a copy of the contents of the court letter - seems to be generic. I am Miss X but it starts "Dear Sir"...see below:

    "
    Dear Sir,

    I am writing in response to your complaint received at X County Court on the xth August
    2016.
    I would like to apologise that the service provided by the court has not been to the
    expected standard. I have taken the opportunity to look into this matter and I am unable to
    explain why the documents you filed with the court were not on file for the hearing. All the
    documents you refer to have been logged onto our electronic file as being received by the
    court. I have located your particulars of claim on the court file although these appear to
    have no date stamp on. I understand the frustration and disappointment you must feel with
    regards to the service we have provided to you and I am personally locating all the
    documents you refer to in your complaint. With regards to the email you received from the
    court about your receipt it is common practice for all cash received through our drop box to
    be issued with a receipt. I have spoken to the member of staff concerned and explained
    the procedure to them and they apologise for the misleading information. I have also
    located the duplicate of your receipt and enclose a photocopy for your records to show that
    one was issued and sent to you by royal mail.
    In recognition of the level of service you have received, I would like to offer you a payment
    of £50 as a goodwill gesture. If you are happy to accept this offer please let me know in
    writing and I will contact our finance team.
    I hope that this letter satisfies your complaint and will be a step forward in concluding your
    case. If you feel that this isn't the case then you can write to Mrs XXXX at the above
    address who will carry out a separate review. "


    I was going to reply stating the following in relation to the £50 offer but am unsure if this negates me taking the matter further....

    "
    Thank you for your goodwill gesture of £50. I am writing to inform you that I accept the £50 as a partial payment without prejudice but that I intend to escalate the proceedings further with my complaint for the full amount originally requested. I feel £50 is financially inadequate and does not reflect the level of distress caused to me at the hearing and the gravity of the situation.

    I am not yet satisfied my complaint has been resolved and wish further investigation and a separate review to be conducted by Mrs X (Court Manager). I have sent a letter to Mrs. X under separate cover. "
    Last edited by ZBanfield; 22-09-2016 at 9:51 AM.
    • ZBanfield
    • By ZBanfield 22nd Sep 16, 9:56 AM
    • 6 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    ZBanfield
    Reply to bod1467 questions - Small Claims Court lost all my paperwork - compensation
    Based on your post, you've misunderstood what they've told you.

    Question though ... why don't YOU have a copy of your PoC and evidence bundle? Or do you, but the judge wouldn't proceed with the claim because the court (thought they) didn't have the bundle?
    Originally posted by bod1467
    Hi bod1467,

    Thank you for your post.

    I hand delivered the exhibit bundle and PoC for the judge it was a requirement but when I arrived for the hearing, he said he had neither and made me give him my copy.

    They still haven't found the exhibit bundle...over 200 pages??
    • ZBanfield
    • By ZBanfield 22nd Sep 16, 10:25 AM
    • 6 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    ZBanfield
    .....to explain.....I didn't mention the other forum CAG as I thought it might complicate the advice I am asking for - I saw some "without predjudice offers " on this site and thought I could get some help here as this matter relates to "without predjudice offers ".
    • Manxman in exile
    • By Manxman in exile 22nd Sep 16, 12:08 PM
    • 186 Posts
    • 94 Thanks
    Manxman in exile
    Your OP here mentions that you've been offered £50 "without prejudice" but the wording of the letter from the court you've posted here doesn't say without prejudice. Or have I mis-read it?


    I thought you were asking whether it was a good idea for you to write back and accept £50 on a "without prejudice" basis and reserve the right to escalate the complaint? Personally I wouldn't, although that's not to say you shouldn't. The court letter tells you who to write to next if you want to carry it further. I would. I don't know how much you are claiming but in the circumstances £50 is a poor offer. But better than nothing!


    You mention a timescale for complaining about the judge. I assume you have discovered a procedure for complaining about the judge? To whom do you complain? What can you complain about? How does it escalate? What would be the outcome if you aren't appealing against the judge's decision?


    As others have said you can't complain that the judge thought some of your evidence didn't support your claim. The judge decides that, not you (even if you don't like it).


    Assuming there is a procedure for complaining about judges, I think the only possible thing you could complain about (and this may be doubtful) is that the judge shouldn't have allowed the case to continue until the evidence was found or copied? You might be able to argue that not being able to refer to the physical documents (and any notes, points or arguments you'd annotated them with) unfairly prejudiced your ability to effectively present your claim to the court. But I wasn't there so don't know if that is true or not.


    I don't know if it's possible to even adjourn a small claims case because of logistical/scheduling problems and knock-on effects. But if it is possible, I think it's a pity the court didn't do so in your case.


    (Edit: I would also ensure that you include the bit about unfairly prejudicing your ability to present your claim effectively in the escalating complaint to the court about the lost bundle. It might give you more leverage to get a better offer from them)
    Last edited by Manxman in exile; 22-09-2016 at 12:14 PM. Reason: Add a bit more
    • Manxman in exile
    • By Manxman in exile 22nd Sep 16, 12:44 PM
    • 186 Posts
    • 94 Thanks
    Manxman in exile
    Ah. Just looked on CAG and the court's letter was headed without prejudice. I should have realised.


    I still think £50 a poor offer and would hold out for more if you can. Think about how the court's loss of the bundle unfairly prejudiced your presentation of your claim (if it did). The court ought to treat claimants fairly.


    I'm not a member on CAG so can't post there, but re one of the points you've asked: when the court realised the papers were missing did they know that you'd filed them correctly but that they had lost them? When the judge decided to proceed anyway, and took your bundle, were you given the opportunity to agree to this, or did you feel you were given no option but to agree? I would have thought (although I may be wrong) the case should have been adjourned until the papers were found or yours copied. But maybe this isn't possible in small claims? That all seems so wrong to me...


    I tend to agree with the posters on CAG who don't see much point complaining about the judge. I can't see that getting anywhere for all the trouble it will take. But again, I wasn't there, so may be wrong.


    The advice you're getting on CAG seems good so I'll stop now as it's too confusing reading across two sites.


    Good luck!
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