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  • FIRST POST
    • ZBanfield
    • By ZBanfield 21st Sep 16, 2:45 PM
    • 6Posts
    • 1Thanks
    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 2
    • unholyangel
    • By unholyangel 22nd Sep 16, 1:07 PM
    • 9,944 Posts
    • 7,149 Thanks
    unholyangel
    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??
    Originally posted by ZBanfield
    I don't believe thats what bod was asking. He was asking what loss have you suffered that you wouldn't have suffered had they not lost your bundle?

    Had they not lost your bundle, you still would have hand delivered it so that is not a loss caused by their mistake.
    Money doesn't solve poverty.....it creates it.
    • naedanger
    • By naedanger 22nd Sep 16, 1:17 PM
    • 1,659 Posts
    • 1,262 Thanks
    naedanger
    "
    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. "
    Originally posted by ZBanfield
    If you were to send the above letter I believe the recipient could withdraw their existing offer. So you might get nothing. On the other hand they may increase their offer. But I cannot see why they would go ahead and pay £50 in response to the above letter because they will get nothing in return for their £50. If you are unhappy with their offer my suggestion would be to respond with a counter offer e.g. thank them for their offer, explain why you believe it is inadequate given the circumstances, but offer to end your complaint if they increase their offer to £x. Then see how they respond.

    Regarding your complaint about or to the judge. I think this is a waste of time. In almost every case the judge will reach a conclusion that one or more parties will think is wrong. So I suspect the judge will be neither surprised or interested that one of the parties thinks he made the wrong judgement in your case. If you think the judge made a mistake in law or there was a serious irregularity in the proceedings you can appeal (which costs money).

    By the way I am sympathetic to your situation. I would be very annoyed in your circumstances. (I just think you don't have a good case for demanding compensation as a legal right. So, in my view, you may need to settle for less than what you might believe is a reasonable amount or risk a lot more hassle and possibly get nothing in return.)
    • Manxman in exile
    • By Manxman in exile 22nd Sep 16, 4:39 PM
    • 186 Posts
    • 94 Thanks
    Manxman in exile
    I'm back. Sorry.


    OP - This isn't about consumer rights, it's not about compensation (except insofar as you incurred extra expense as a direct result of loss of the documents - if you did), and it's not about whether the judge came to the right decision (although I suspect they probably did).


    The apparent consensus here is that you should accept the 50 quid in case they decide to withdraw it altogether and offer you nothing. That might well be the best advice you'll get. So if you need £50 accept it, but be aware you may not be able to take the complaint any further.


    I personally would not accept it if I were in your position. But that's because (1) I'm stupid enough and pig-headed enough to do so for fun, and (2) I get really worked up about "justice being seen to be done", or not done (mutter mutter). Perhaps I should start a new rant on the Vent board...


    I wish you good luck
    • FOREVER21
    • By FOREVER21 22nd Sep 16, 5:34 PM
    • 1,354 Posts
    • 868 Thanks
    FOREVER21
    OP

    You may have already looked at this, but if not I think you will find it helpful.

    HM COURTS & TRIBUNALS-- Complaints procedures.
    • Bogalot
    • By Bogalot 22nd Sep 16, 6:58 PM
    • 153 Posts
    • 281 Thanks
    Bogalot
    OP

    You may have already looked at this, but if not I think you will find it helpful.

    HM COURTS & TRIBUNALS-- Complaints procedures.
    Originally posted by FOREVER21
    This would be more helpful

    Complaints

    Although reading the OP suggests they are already pursuing the relevant complaints procedure.
    • FOREVER21
    • By FOREVER21 22nd Sep 16, 7:10 PM
    • 1,354 Posts
    • 868 Thanks
    FOREVER21
    This would be more helpful

    Complaints

    Although reading the OP suggests they are already pursuing the relevant complaints procedure.
    Originally posted by Bogalot
    I think you will find it is the same page, clever d$$k
    Last edited by FOREVER21; 22-09-2016 at 7:28 PM.
    • Moneyineptitude
    • By Moneyineptitude 22nd Sep 16, 7:32 PM
    • 16,792 Posts
    • 7,442 Thanks
    Moneyineptitude
    I think you will find it is the same page
    Originally posted by FOREVER21
    You didn't provide an actual link...
    • FOREVER21
    • By FOREVER21 22nd Sep 16, 7:36 PM
    • 1,354 Posts
    • 868 Thanks
    FOREVER21
    You didn't provide an actual link...
    Originally posted by Moneyineptitude
    How very observant you are.
    Last edited by FOREVER21; 22-09-2016 at 7:41 PM.
    • agrinnall
    • By agrinnall 22nd Sep 16, 10:05 PM
    • 14,948 Posts
    • 10,702 Thanks
    agrinnall
    How very observant you are.
    Originally posted by FOREVER21
    Certainly more observant than you were.
    • ZBanfield
    • By ZBanfield 23rd Sep 16, 9:16 AM
    • 6 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    ZBanfield
    Reply to 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!
    Originally posted by Manxman in exile

    Many thanks Manxman In Exile for your advice. Apologies, I didn't state the court letter was titled "Without Predjudice"

    Yes, I agree with you. The judge didn't offer me any options or even speak to the court staff at the time and having never been to a small claims court before, I did not know my rights. He was very rude and difficult. The time limit to complain about a judge is 3 months from the court hearing date.

    I will continue as you advised on the CAG site.

    This was the letter I sent to the court if it helps....


    "
    Dear Court Manager,

    Re: Complaint - Claim No. X
    Official Complaint by Claimant: Miss X
    Loss of Particulars of the Claim and Exhibit Bundle by Bow County Court
    Action against: First Defendant X Ltd
    Second Defendant Mr. X
    My name is Miss X and I am the claimant in the case X which was heard on xth August 2016 at xam at Bow County Court.

    I am writing to make an official complaint about the way my case was handled by your staff at Bow County Court.

    Bow County Court lost:

    1. My “Particulars of the Claim”

    2. My “Exhibit Bundle”

    I was only made aware of this by the Judge at the start of the hearing.
    I had taken a day’s leave at my own expense to deliver the Exhibit Bundle to the court on 1st April 2016 and this was placed into the drop box as requested.
    The Exhibit bundle contained:
    1. Exhibit Bundle Indexed Contents Page, three pages
    2. Witness Statement of Claimant: Miss x; thirteern pages
    3. Witness Statement of Mr x, two pages
    4. Evidence Documents; ninety eight pages.

    A further day’s leave was taken to make a cash payment of £ 335 for the hearing fee on 11th April 2016 and again, placed into the drop box as requested at the court. This was due to the fact that I was advised by staff at Bow County Court I could not make payment by debit or credit card.

    I then sent an email on 12th April 2016 at 2.40pm requesting a receipt for this payment and a receipt for the exhibit bundle. (Please see attached ‘Email No. 1’).

    No response was received and a further email was sent on 13th April 2016 at 14:46 pm (please see attached ‘Email No.2’)

    A reply was received 13th April 2016 at 15:33 pm only confirming receipt of £335, advising “…that the court does not issue formal receipt for such payment”. (Please see attached ‘Email No. 3’)

    Following this email, a General Form Of Judgement or Order dated 25 April 2016 from Bow County Court was received, advising that: " upon reading a letter from the Claimant (myself - Miss x) it is ordered that
    “1. Time for compliance with paragraph 7 of the Order dated 4 March 2016 is extended to 4pm on 1 July 2016."
    On 30th June 2016 at 11:09am I sent Bow County Court an email containing:
    1. Witness Statement of Mrs. x
    2. Witness Statement of Mr. x
    3. A copy of the updated Exhibit bundle contents page, incorporating these statements.
    I also explained in the email that these were to be added to the “Exhibit Bundle” previously submitted to Bow County Court on 1st April 2016 to support my case. I requested a confirmation of receipt of these documents and whether any further information was required. (Please see attached ‘Email No. 4’). No response was received and a further email was sent on 1st July 2016 at 10:13am (please see attached ‘Email No. 5’). No acknowledgements were received.
    On entering the court on 8th August 2016 at 10:00am for the hearing, the Judge questioned me regarding the “Further Particulars of allegation of fraud by Second Defendant” and how this related to my case.
    I explained to the Judge the background of the case and that the “Particulars of Claim” and “Exhibit Bundle” contained all the details. The Judge confirmed that he only had the “Further Particulars of allegation of fraud by Second Defendant” but neither of these documents.
    The Judge was missing:
    • My Particulars of Claim
    • The entire Exhibit Bundle
    Having already submitted the document bundle as requested, I was now concerned and surprised at the Judge not being in receipt of these.
    I had spent considerable time, money and effort to ensure these documents were completed and delivered to the court in time and despite chasing , had not received any response.
    Due to this situation, I passed the Judge my own copy of the documents for him to use for the hearing. This left me without key documents to refer to during the hearing.
    The result from this had now prevented me from presenting my case in the manner that I had prepared for and left me feeling the outcome of the case would have been more beneficial if the Judge had been in possession of the missing documents and better prepared for the hearing.
    This has caused me considerable distress and I am now out of pocket to the value of £225.96 for delivering documents that have since been lost at Bow County Court.
    I did report this to the ‘desk’ at the time following the hearing and again to date, I have had no response from the court on this mater.

    Yours Sincerely

    "




    I was going to send these two letters:


    LETTER 1 - to the Customer Services Team Leader

    Dear Customer Services Team Leader,

    Re: Your Ref: Case A6
    Re: Acceptance of £50 as a partial payment without prejudice but I intend to escalate the proceedings further with my complaint.
    Re: Request to escalate complaint to Mrs. C - Claim No. B

    Official Complaint by Claimant
    Loss of Particulars of the Claim and Exhibit Bundle by Bow County Court
    Action against: First Defendant Limited
    Second Defendant Mr. X
    Thank you for your letter dated 6th September 2016 in response to my complaint received at Bow County Court on 24th August 2016.

    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 C. I have sent a letter to Mrs. C under separate cover.

    I have several further questions and issues regarding my complaint and the hearing which I would like to be answered and resolved as follows:

    1. I note that your letter dated 6th September 2016 advised the following:
    "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."
    Please can you clarify that you have the entire Exhibit Bundle or have still been unable to locate the Exhibit Bundle?

    I kindly request that all the documents I referred to in my complaint be returned to me at the address on this letter, especially the entire exhibit bundle complete with folder as originally submitted.

    2. I am unclear and would like clarification on the correct procedure and/or options which should have been made available to me by the judge and / or court staff on the day of the hearing.

    Please can you clarify what the correct procedure and / or options should have been actioned under the circumstances when the Judge confirmed at the hearing to myself, the claimant that he only had the “Further Particulars of allegation of fraud by Second Defendant” but neither of the following documents:
    • My Particulars of Claim
    • The entire Exhibit Bundle containing:
    1. Exhibit Bundle Indexed Contents Page, three pages
    2. Witness Statement of Claimant: thirteern pages
    3. Witness Statement of Mr X, two pages
    4. Evidence Documents; ninety eight pages.


    3. I have received the judgment on 14th September from the hearing 8th August 2016 and note that it does not state the name of the judge who presided over the hearing.

    Please can you send me the name of the judge who presided over the Case Ref: B which was heard on Xth August 2016 at Xam at Bow County Court.

    4. Please can I request a copy of the judge’s transcript regarding his ruling and findings in the case as I wish to review this information to pursue the matter further.

    Yours Sincerely,



    LETTER 2 - to the Court Manager

    Dear Court Manager,

    Re: Your Ref: Case A
    Re: Request to escalate complaint to Mrs. C- Claim No. B
    Official Complaint by Claimant:
    Loss of Particulars of the Claim and Exhibit Bundle by Bow County Court
    Action against: First Defendant X Limited
    Second Defendant Mr. X
    Thank you for your letter dated 6th September from Customer Services Team Leader in response to my complaint received at Bow County Court on 24th August 2016.
    I have written a response to Customer Services Team Leader under separate cover to her letter dated 6th September 2016. I thanked Customer Services Team Leader for the goodwill gesture of £50. I am writing to inform you that I accept the £50 as a partial payment without prejudice but 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 am writing to you for further investigation and a separate review to be conducted.
    I have several further questions and issues regarding my complaint and the hearing which I would like to be answered and resolved as follows:


    1. Customer Services Team Leader’s letter dated 6th September 2016 advised the following:
    "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."
    Please can you clarify that you have the entire Exhibit Bundle or have still been unable to locate the Exhibit Bundle?

    I kindly request that all the documents I referred to in my complaint be returned to me at the address on this letter, especially the entire exhibit bundle complete with folder as originally submitted.

    2. I am unclear and would like clarification on the correct procedure and/or options which should have been made available to me by the judge and / or court staff on the day of the hearing.

    3. Please can you clarify what the correct procedure and / or options should have been actioned under the circumstances when the Judge confirmed at the hearing to the claimant that he only had the “Further Particulars of allegation of fraud by Second Defendant” but neither of the following documents:
    • My Particulars of Claim
    • The entire Exhibit Bundle containing:
    1. Exhibit Bundle Indexed Contents Page, three pages
    2. Witness Statement of Claimant:thirteern pages
    3. Witness Statement of Mr X, two pages
    4. Evidence Documents; ninety eight pages.


    4. I have received the judgment on 14th September from the hearing 8th August 2016 and note that it does not state the name of the judge who presided over the hearing.

    Please can you send me the name of the judge who presided over the Case Ref: B which was heard on Xth August 2016 at Xam at Bow County Court.

    5. Please can I request a copy of the judge’s transcript regarding his ruling and findings in the case as I wish to review this information to pursue the matter further.

    Yours Sincerely,
    • Manxman in exile
    • By Manxman in exile 23rd Sep 16, 4:13 PM
    • 186 Posts
    • 94 Thanks
    Manxman in exile
    The problem with forums is that you can get a lot of conflicting advice in situations outside the norm.


    I don't want to give any advice on your letters as I'm not sufficiently familiar with the details. But the people on CAG seem(?) to be giving reasonable advice. Likewise I don't want to comment re the judge as I wasn't there. I think that's a non-starter, but what do I know.


    Re the £50 you seem to have three choices. First, accept it and draw a line under it.


    Second, accept it "without prejudice" (on your part) to you escalating the claim further. Some posters on CAG see no problem in you doing that, but some on here are concerned that if you try to do this the court's offer will be withdrawn. If you go down this route make sure you do not accept the payment if it's offered "in full and final settlement of your complaint". Otherwise it's the same result as the first choice.


    Third. Do not accept the offer at this point and escalate further.


    The first choice gives you 100% guaranteed certainty of getting £50. The second two give no certainty of anything. You might get more than £50 or you might get less (or even nothing). Personally I'd go for the third choice as I'm really pig-headed about this sort of thing and I might value £50 less than you do. But I'm not necessarily advising you to do what I'd do.


    I see that some posters on CAG seem to be familiar with your particular court's reputation concerning lost papers etc. If you do decide to pursue your complaint further, I wonder whether there might be some way (eg FOI requests) of discovering more about this? For example, How many times have papers been lost? Does the court normally adjourn or proceed regardless? How many claimants have complained? How were those complaints resolved?


    I'll admit I'm desperately clutching at straws there, and don't even know if it's possible, but you may want to float the idea on CAG. There is also a website ("Whatdotheyknowaboutus" I think) where there may be a record of similar requests.


    Two real bits of advice. Don't raise your hopes too high. And don't become obsessed with this if it doesn't turn out to your satisfaction. There's a 1000 post thread on GAG with an OP who just can't accept they have no remedy.


    Good luck.
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