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Telephone Hearings re parking firm claims - can we all discuss strategy and outcomes here

edited 16 April 2020 at 10:52PM in Parking Tickets, Fines & Parking
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edited 16 April 2020 at 10:52PM in Parking Tickets, Fines & Parking
Thanks to bargepole who shared with me a redacted copy of a notice of a telephone hearing.

This clarifies several points, including:

1. It makes it absolutely clear that the hearing must not be recorded (it's a criminal offence).

2. It also states that parties must assume that the Judge will not have access to the case file, and the parties must liaise to agree and email a bundle of all relevant documents. 


The worry now is that we can't let Defendants miss that direction or think they can just refuse and not engage. 

That would let the PPC legal reps lead them a merry dance and make it look like the C acted reasonably and the D did not, by trying to argue and by being seen as obstructive, unreasonable and not complying with their Order.

If you get such an Order, read every word in the directions very carefully, and if you wish to object and have good grounds, act very quickly and by email to the court, in the format the Order tells you and within the time it tells you that you can object (7 days). 

For example, 'good grounds' in my view, would be a frontline NHS keyworker would have cause to quickly email the court to object to the telephone hearing and state that they have no time to liaise with the Claimant about key documents or make themselves available on the telephone in the current Covid_19 crisis and they would need time to prepare such documents after the lockdown.  And that they do not want a hearing on the papers either because they are well aware that parking firms are known to put in last minute ambush supplementary or late witness statements.  As such, the fear is that the Parking industry's experienced robo-claim litgation teams might take advantage of NHS frontline Defendants and other vulnerable people who simply cannot liaise at the present time; people who otherwise have very good evidence that they really wish for the court to see, in a face to face hearing later in the year giving them a fair opportunity to prepare and to benefit from visual cues that undoubtedly help a litigant in person.

If you don't have good grounds to object, then I think we are going to have to tell Ds to tackle this head on and act in accordance with the instructions. 

The good thing is it will save them any printing and if they are the first to liaise with the parking firm's solicitor and talk reasonably about liaising and put forward an attachment with THEIR key documents as essential, first, then they could to seize an advantage and be more in control than refusing to engage.  Also, as PPCs handle so many cases there is a chance they will drop the ball and not be seen to liaise and reach agreement - then the D can email the court to state what has happened and they THEY instigated discussions but got obstructive refusals and the parking firm's reps tried to insist on their own 56 pages instead of 'key documents' and so the D ''would like the Judge to consider a costs order on the indemnity basis for this unreasonable disregard for the court process and vexatious treatment of the public during lockdown''.

The Order I saw, warned that:

 ''any request for adjournment, which is not by consent, regardless of how many days notice is given, will require a notice fee of £255.''

and:

''failure to provide a telephone number may be treated as a failure to attend the hearing when an order may be made in the absence of that party''

and:

''it should be assumed that the Judge will NOT have access to the case file''... ''prior to the hearing the parties are expected to liaise to agree the key documents required by the Judge essential for that hearing.  In default of agreement the parties may identify their own key documents but will need to justify the absence of agreement to the Judge who may make costs orders consequent upon the failure to agree''.

This may well be standard wording from several or all courts...and we need to advise everyone properly so that they know that their printed out evidence WILL NOT be in front of the Judge in these cases unless they engage fully with the process.  So far we've been telling everyone to object but that seems untenable for people with no good grounds.

Also, maybe people who are about to file their WS and evidence could be told NOT to print it at all at the moment, but to just email it to the local court and the claimant's solicitor, with a covering note explaining that they have emailed it in anticipation of the planned face to face hearing not taking place, and wait further instructions...

What does everyone think?
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Replies

  • zhonguonurenzhonguonuren Forumite
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    I think seriously thank you Coupon-mad and Bargepole for the legwork.  I am one of the fortunate who was taking the scamsters on - win or lose (but hoping to add to my 300+wins 😎) but this is a completely different playing field.  I am obviously up for the fight and will follow your sound advice.  Anybody who does not win always has the opportunity to reclaim the parking charges as I did with Highview (even though I had paid up without the benefit of your expertise). Highview then paid me back - very satisfying!
  • zhonguonurenzhonguonuren Forumite
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    am assuming my case will be heard remotely  :'(
  • zhonguonurenzhonguonuren Forumite
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    I hit the Thanks - but thank you bargepole - so useful as my witness statement was a killer and I would have relied on that alone.
  • henrik777henrik777 Forumite
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    It is usually the claimant who compiles the bundle as i recall.

    Make sure they put in all the stuff you want to rely on but don't ask for nonsense to be added.

    Make sure they haven't snuck something in you weren't aware of.

    Have back up PDF/word versions of your own stuff ready to email if required, just in case of "technical issues".
  • edited 17 April 2020 at 9:16AM
    D_P_DanceD_P_Dance Forumite
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    edited 17 April 2020 at 9:16AM
    Why should anyone agree to a telephone hearing in the first place?  There seems to be a lot more preparation required, and some of our clients would have difficulty preparing a laundry list.


    You never know how far you can go until you go too far.
  • UmkomaasUmkomaas Forumite
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    D_P_Dance said:
    Why should anyone agree to a telephone hearing in the first place?  There seems to be a lot more preparation required, and some of our clients would have difficulty preparing a laundry list.


    They don't have to - they can pay £255 and apply for an adjournment!
    Please note, we are not a legal advice forum. I personally don't get involved in critiquing court case Defences/Witness Statements, so unable to help on that front. Please don't ask. .
    I provide only my personal opinion, it is not a legal opinion, it is simply a personal one. I am not a lawyer.
    Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; show him how to catch fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.
  • edited 17 April 2020 at 9:46AM
    D_P_DanceD_P_Dance Forumite
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    edited 17 April 2020 at 9:46AM
    .., they can pay £255 and apply for an adjournment!

    Surely that discriminates against poor people, the poorly educated., and the ill informed.  Does Keir know about this?

    However, there are many ways in which one can frustrate a telephone conversation, .   some of which I have mentioned else where.  My choice would be to bring two handsets into close proximity, the interferance, (whining) makes it impossible to hear a word.

    I am sure that this will frowned on by the accountants and auditors amongst us, but I do not see how an offence could be proven without considerable expence. 
    You never know how far you can go until you go too far.
  • edited 17 April 2020 at 9:41AM
    UmkomaasUmkomaas Forumite
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    edited 17 April 2020 at 9:41AM
    D_P_Dance said:
    I did not know no that. 
    It's in C-m's opening post and bargepole's link. You must have missed them. 

    Unusual for a meticulous Civil Servant! 
    Please note, we are not a legal advice forum. I personally don't get involved in critiquing court case Defences/Witness Statements, so unable to help on that front. Please don't ask. .
    I provide only my personal opinion, it is not a legal opinion, it is simply a personal one. I am not a lawyer.
    Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; show him how to catch fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.
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