Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

Search
  • FIRST POST
    • TobyZ
    • By TobyZ 19th Aug 17, 12:07 PM
    • 48Posts
    • 43Thanks
    TobyZ
    CCJ from BE Legal/Excel relating to incident in 2012
    • #1
    • 19th Aug 17, 12:07 PM
    CCJ from BE Legal/Excel relating to incident in 2012 19th Aug 17 at 12:07 PM
    Hi all,

    So, yesterday was fun...Had what I have now discovered is the familiar shock of discovering a CCJ on my credit record about which I had no knowledge prior to a CCJ. Have spent a day reading all the amazing material on here, peppipoo and the Parking Prankster, which has made me realise I'm far from alone in this. Less anxious, but now more angry!

    The situation, based on the info I've been able to gather, is this - I am the registered keeper of a vehicle which they allege committed an offence in Chorlton Square car park in March 2012. It seems from the forums that this location is a pretty notorious one as it has a road running through it which is treated as part of the car park but is not properly marked as such.

    I honestly have no idea who was driving the car then or what happened (and I have no paperwork to go on either at present). I moved house in July 2012, and then again in July 2013. The CCJ was served to my old (nearly 5 yrs out of date) address in March 2017. Obviously, I never found out anything until yesterday when the check on Experian started a long day of panicky phone calls and reading on this forum. In addition, I sold the car the incident relates to in February 2016, so I wasn't even the registered keeper any more when the CCJ was issued.

    My initial intention was to apply for set aside without consent. Indeed, I have already paid the 255 court fee for a set aside without consent application as I was super-worried about all the stuff saying that an application had to be made quickly, and the Court advised over the phone that paying the fee would be treated as notice of an intention to make an application.

    I do think, based on my reading here, that I would have a strong case to get the set aside and to dispute the ticket, in particular as it relates to an alleged offense which dates to before the FOPA 2012 legislation.However, there are a couple complications regarding my case (which I'd be keen to discuss in PMs if someone is willing but don't want to mention here at present) which I am anxious could impact on my ability to get the contested set aside granted. The main concern for me (as with many) is the impact this would have on my credit record - paying the fine is not an issue financially, though I do hate to reward bottom feeding behaviour.

    I am wondering if my best course of action might be to lodge the contested set aside paperwork, to demonstrate that I'm serious and know how to contest, while also contacting BW Legal or Excel to see if they will agree to an uncontested set aside. It seems from what I've read on here that this is the "play it safe" and "low time cost" option - if you can get them to agree to it (which appears not to be too hard), then you pay up, the CCJ gets wiped off and you can go on with your life. I'm also tempted by this option because I'm going to be very busy with work and family stuff in the next couple of months so I could do without having to set aside lots of time to prepare for and attend court hearings etc.

    What do you guys think? Is this a viable strategy? What's the best way to go about getting BW Legal or Excel to agree to the uncontested set-aside if so? How do I make sure that everyone follows through and wipes the CCJ off my credit record (which is my primary concern here)? Is it possible to withdraw my contested set aside application if I get the Claimants to agree to an uncontested set aside, and if so do I get some of the money back?

    I've also prepared a draft Witness Statement based on successful contested set asides I've read on here and peppipoo - if it is worth at least starting the contested set aside process then I'd be really keen to get advice/feedback from you guys on this.

    Thanks in advance for all your help - these forums have been a godsend for me already. So much information, and its amazing to know that there are smart hard working people who have your back when the cowboys ride into town!
Page 6
    • Coupon-mad
    • By Coupon-mad 14th Feb 18, 12:03 PM
    • 59,521 Posts
    • 72,691 Thanks
    Coupon-mad
    Hooray, well done! A win is a win, this stage counts too!

    Watch out in case BW Legal try to appeal that order and say they did provide the further POC, but I doubt it.
    PRIVATE PCN? DON'T PAY BUT DO NOT IGNORE IT TWO Clicks needed for advice:
    Top of the page: Home>>Forums>Household & Travel>Motoring>Parking Tickets, Fines & Parking - read the 'NEWBIES' FAQS thread!
    Advice to ignore is WRONG, unless in Scotland/NI.

    • TobyZ
    • By TobyZ 11th May 18, 2:59 PM
    • 48 Posts
    • 43 Thanks
    TobyZ
    Hi all,

    Afraid this one has come back from the dead - BW Legal did appeal it and the Court gave them another go...I was hoping they'd forget to pay the hearing fee, which would mean it would get struck out, but unfortunately they remembered so its all going ahead at the end of the month. Have resubmitted all my documents same as before, fingers crossed...
    • Coupon-mad
    • By Coupon-mad 11th May 18, 3:08 PM
    • 59,521 Posts
    • 72,691 Thanks
    Coupon-mad
    You cannot lose this pre-POFA case. Steer the Judge, be VERY clear on 'no liability' and lean on your transcripts that point the Judge in the right direction. Then go for punitive costs.

    Have you drawn up a nice 4 figure set of costs to try to argue through? Like the example by sassi?
    PRIVATE PCN? DON'T PAY BUT DO NOT IGNORE IT TWO Clicks needed for advice:
    Top of the page: Home>>Forums>Household & Travel>Motoring>Parking Tickets, Fines & Parking - read the 'NEWBIES' FAQS thread!
    Advice to ignore is WRONG, unless in Scotland/NI.

    • Loadsofchildren123
    • By Loadsofchildren123 11th May 18, 3:29 PM
    • 2,224 Posts
    • 3,727 Thanks
    Loadsofchildren123
    Just catching up on this after a long absence. I'm not sure why you did your WS at the same time as your defence. Normally the timetable is they do the PoC, you do your defence, both of you do the DQs, case gets transferred to your local court (but it's already been transferred by virtue of the set aside), local court then issues order with a trial date and dates for exchange of WS and documents.


    I'm guessing the order made on your set aside included a date for the WSs/evidence bundles, so you just drafted them both together.


    Your Skeleton Argument is like a crib sheet. For both you and the judge. In it you summarise your case, cross referenced by tab and page/paragraph number to your defence and WS/documents and cite from the authorities you want to rely on. There is no requirement to file a SA - although it is usually required in other non-small claims cases. It is useful because it is a one-stop shop for the judge to see what your case is and where each relevant piece of evidence is. ~For you, it is a crib sheet. You just take the judge through it paragraph by paragraph in your oral submissions on the day. Serve it 2-3 days before the hearing and file it at court by email or hard copy, and make it clear when you do that that the document is for a hearing on x date so that it reaches the judge. Take spare copies on the day in case it hasn't reached the judge/other side's representative. When you arrive, find the usher for your court and ask him if the SA reached the judge and, if not, give him a spare copy. If you search other threads for Skeleton Arguments you'll find lots of examples, I was commenting on one just last week or the week before. Make it as brief as you can, you don't need to write in whole sentences because it's essentially a cross-referencing document.


    You can also cover any new issues raised by their WS in your SA and make a meal of how these issues should have come to light at a much earlier stage rather than at close of pleadings (ie at a date when there was no further provision for you to file evidence in response to their case).


    For the day, make a bundle of authorities (you'll remember from your last visit that they like to have these). Many of the cases you will rely on are what we call "first instance" cases - ie unreported county court cases. These are "persuasive" rather than binding (decisions of the higher courts are binding, ie the judge HAS to follow them, decisions of lower courts are merely "persuasive" although many judges will follow their brethren's previous decisions). Include things like POFA in your bundle. If the BPA/IPC CoP is an issue you've raised then include that too. If you are relying on documents which are long, only include the relevant parts to avoid the bundle being too big.


    There will probably be a Rights of Audience issue relating to the other side's advocate, but most judges choose to gloss over this and it's hard for litigants in person to argue.


    Lastly, prepare, serve and file at court at least 24 hours in advance a costs schedule - you can find lots of examples on here. The one on Sassii's thread is a good one, if I say so myself - even the judge complimented it. Gem up on R27.14(2)(g) unreasonable behaviour costs. Plus there is the power to award costs under paras 13-16 of the Practice Direction - Pre-Action Conduct.


    It is clear that, because you were unaware of the proceedings, you missed any LBC. They could and should have made some attempt after set aside to explain the claim to you. They'll say that the pre-action phase is long gone, but I'd argue that it still applies in this sort of scenario and common sense dictates that they should have made some attempt, albeit retrospectively, to comply with their obligation to explain the claim and how they will evidence in it, so that you may understand it in order to consider settling or so that you may properly understand it if you come to defend it (these obligations used to be the ones in paras 3, 6 and 8 of the Practice Direction, but those parts of the PD have now been replaced by similar and more stringent obligations set out in the new Protocol for Debt Claims. Argue that their failure to engage meaningfully with you should be punished (see paras 13-16 of the Practice Direction - Pre-Action Conduct for the courts powers to sanction). The point is that it was not until the WS stage that you had any real understanding of their claim, because their PoC were so completely deficient.


    Set out your costs arguments at the foot of your SA.
    Although a practising Solicitor, my posts here are NOT legal advice, but are personal opinion based on limited facts provided anonymously by forum users. I accept no liability for the accuracy of any such posts and users are advised that, if they wish to obtain formal legal advice specific to their case, they must seek instruct and pay a solicitor.
    • TobyZ
    • By TobyZ 11th May 18, 3:36 PM
    • 48 Posts
    • 43 Thanks
    TobyZ
    Thanks LoadsOfChildren, that's a huge help - I will get on with all of what you suggest and will return if any queries arise while I'm doing it.
    • Loadsofchildren123
    • By Loadsofchildren123 11th May 18, 3:45 PM
    • 2,224 Posts
    • 3,727 Thanks
    Loadsofchildren123
    Unreasonable costs orders, and costs orders for failing to comply with pre-action obligations are rarely made. Worth raising anyway. Same thing with the Rights of Audience issue - raise it if you're confident you understand it, but with the expectation it's going to be rejected.
    Last edited by Loadsofchildren123; 15-05-2018 at 3:58 PM.
    Although a practising Solicitor, my posts here are NOT legal advice, but are personal opinion based on limited facts provided anonymously by forum users. I accept no liability for the accuracy of any such posts and users are advised that, if they wish to obtain formal legal advice specific to their case, they must seek instruct and pay a solicitor.
    • TobyZ
    • By TobyZ 17th May 18, 12:26 PM
    • 48 Posts
    • 43 Thanks
    TobyZ
    Have just received the witness statement from BW legal - the deadline for this was 14th May, but the statement arrived in an envelope postmarked 16th May, which arrived at my house this morning (17th May). Can I appeal to have this evidence struck off as it is impossible for me to respond to it in my own evidence (which I submitted ahead of deadline over the weekend)?
    • Johnersh
    • By Johnersh 17th May 18, 1:06 PM
    • 1,105 Posts
    • 2,127 Thanks
    Johnersh
    Strictly speaking they're debarred from relying on it, but they'll probably get cut some slack.

    Google "relief from sanctions..."
    "The best advice I ever got was that knowledge is power and to keep reading."
    DISCLAIMER: I post thoughts as & when they occur. I don't advise. You are your own person and decision-maker. I'm unlikely to respond to DMs seeking personal advice. It's ill-advised & you lose the benefit of a group "take" on events.
    • TobyZ
    • By TobyZ 17th May 18, 2:48 PM
    • 48 Posts
    • 43 Thanks
    TobyZ
    Thanks Johnersh - in this case, the late submission comes after the initial case was originally struck out for the same reason - BW Legal submitted their evidence late then also - and only restored on appeal. Should I refer to that in arguing that they have persistently failed to meet court deadlines, despite being a law firm, even while I meet them easily despite being a defendent in person? Would that strengthen the case for having them struck out again?

    EDIT - they also included documents which were not in the initial exchange of documents months ago, or in the documents in the CCJ hearing last year, and which they have made no previous mention they would be disclosing. Seems from my initial reading of some of the cases here that this might be relevant. Thoughts?
    Last edited by TobyZ; 17-05-2018 at 2:57 PM. Reason: Additional info
    • Coupon-mad
    • By Coupon-mad 18th May 18, 1:42 AM
    • 59,521 Posts
    • 72,691 Thanks
    Coupon-mad
    This OP just won in court re a pre-POFA Excel claim:

    https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5785805

    ...with a baby in tow and the BW Legal rep sitting next to her to read her bundle!

    Should I refer to that in arguing that they have persistently failed to meet court deadlines, despite being a law firm, even while I meet them easily despite being a defendent in person? Would that strengthen the case for having them struck out again?

    EDIT - they also included documents which were not in the initial exchange of documents months ago, or in the documents in the CCJ hearing last year, and which they have made no previous mention they would be disclosing.
    At the hearing, point out all the omissions and late documents, their clear attempt to ambush you with documents and arguments never previously pleaded, etc.

    And go for punitive costs on the indemnity basis.

    You do need a rehearsed spiel as to why the Claimant's conduct from start to finish has been wholly unreasonable and vexatious, and a pre-POFA case thrown at a keeper is one of the easier cases to make that argument.
    Last edited by Coupon-mad; 20-05-2018 at 12:01 AM.
    PRIVATE PCN? DON'T PAY BUT DO NOT IGNORE IT TWO Clicks needed for advice:
    Top of the page: Home>>Forums>Household & Travel>Motoring>Parking Tickets, Fines & Parking - read the 'NEWBIES' FAQS thread!
    Advice to ignore is WRONG, unless in Scotland/NI.

    • TobyZ
    • By TobyZ 19th May 18, 12:16 PM
    • 48 Posts
    • 43 Thanks
    TobyZ
    Hi all, I'm working on my skeleton argument. Something else I've realised is they make reference to emails I sent after the initial claim (which I had completely forgotten about). But they never made any reference to these emails at any stage before in this process, or (I think crucially) in the CCJ set-aside hearing, where they claimed they knew of no other means to contact me except the out of date address where the car was registered. The email used is still my current email.

    This seems pretty important to me - they withheld information which demonstrated they knew of an alternative means of contacting me all along. Had they disclosed this information, which they clearly had, their whole CCJ case would have collapsed. Surely that's obstruction of justice, or at least abuse of the court system? Plus, of course, it means I never saw this evidence which they now make a great deal of, at any earlier stage, undermining my ability to properly build a defence.

    What's the best way of using this against them?
    • Johnersh
    • By Johnersh 19th May 18, 12:35 PM
    • 1,105 Posts
    • 2,127 Thanks
    Johnersh
    +1 coupon mad. Signpost the breaches, what amounts to documents by the backdoor and what is, in essence, ambush with new materials.
    These are all matters the court rules (CPR) was brought in to prevent.

    The claimant could, if aware you'd moved or suspicious that you might have done, have affected service by alternative means, namely a current email address. That requires a court order but is quite possible. Even without an order, they could have served by post and emailed a copy to ensure you received it.
    "The best advice I ever got was that knowledge is power and to keep reading."
    DISCLAIMER: I post thoughts as & when they occur. I don't advise. You are your own person and decision-maker. I'm unlikely to respond to DMs seeking personal advice. It's ill-advised & you lose the benefit of a group "take" on events.
    • TobyZ
    • By TobyZ 20th May 18, 7:38 PM
    • 48 Posts
    • 43 Thanks
    TobyZ
    Something else I've noticed - to demonstrate their rights to operate the car park, Excel are relying on a letter on their own letter head paper, signed by their own commercial director, dating from 2015 (three years *after* the claim incident) - they have provided nothing at all from the actual landowners or the relevant point in time. My initial search suggests judges have taken a very dim view of this practice - what's the best way to attack it? Also, would welcome any suggestions of whether to hammer them on the withholding of the email exchanges, and if so how?
    • Umkomaas
    • By Umkomaas 20th May 18, 8:09 PM
    • 18,384 Posts
    • 29,106 Thanks
    Umkomaas
    Something else I've noticed - to demonstrate their rights to operate the car park, Excel are relying on a letter on their own letter head paper, signed by their own commercial director, dating from 2015 (three years *after* the claim incident) - they have provided nothing at all from the actual landowners or the relevant point in time.
    I preface my comments with the fact that I've not read back over the 113-posts thread.

    Just do some further research on this - notwithstanding that the date is 3 years after the incident - but Excel do lease some car parks and the signing of a Witness Statement/contract by one of their own often suggests that the car park in question is one they have leased.

    But do please dig deeper on this as I might be off the mark in your particular case. Don't leave yourself exposed to having egg on your face.
    We cannot provide you with a silver bullet to get you out of this. You have to be in for the long run, and need to involve yourself in research and work for you to get rid of this. It is not simple. We will help, but can't do it for you.

    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.
    • TobyZ
    • By TobyZ 20th May 18, 8:25 PM
    • 48 Posts
    • 43 Thanks
    TobyZ
    Hi Unkomaas, I was relying on the report of this case, which seem to involve the same car park, and the same kind of paperwork produced to demonstrate rights of contract - the judge does not seem to have been impressed! I was going to refer to this case name and number to underline the argument:

    http://parking-prankster.blogspot.co.uk/2017/07/excel-lose-in-count-witness-irrelevant.html
    • Coupon-mad
    • By Coupon-mad 20th May 18, 9:43 PM
    • 59,521 Posts
    • 72,691 Thanks
    Coupon-mad
    Yes and you can file a printout of a PP Blog as evidence; people do.
    PRIVATE PCN? DON'T PAY BUT DO NOT IGNORE IT TWO Clicks needed for advice:
    Top of the page: Home>>Forums>Household & Travel>Motoring>Parking Tickets, Fines & Parking - read the 'NEWBIES' FAQS thread!
    Advice to ignore is WRONG, unless in Scotland/NI.

    • TobyZ
    • By TobyZ 24th May 18, 2:15 PM
    • 48 Posts
    • 43 Thanks
    TobyZ
    Hi all, I've submitted my Skeleton Argument today by email to the court. One thing I'm not clear on is whether I also need to send this to BW Legal - as it is not a required document, but something to assist the court am I obliged to send it to them as well?
    • nosferatu1001
    • By nosferatu1001 24th May 18, 3:58 PM
    • 2,851 Posts
    • 3,546 Thanks
    nosferatu1001
    Yes, you always send to both parties.
    • TobyZ
    • By TobyZ 29th May 18, 1:32 PM
    • 48 Posts
    • 43 Thanks
    TobyZ
    Good news everyone - I won my case this morning! Was all a bit of a blur, but basically everything went my way. Judge seemingly knew Mr Pickup and was v familiar with parking charges and not at all impressed by BW Legal's behaviour.

    Quick summary:

    Case heard at Manchester courts. BW Legal represented by Mr Pickup, who was friendly enough and seemed to be known to everyone there (including the judge). Guess he does a lot of business at Manchester. Called in after about an hour. Judge had read my skeleton arg thoroughly and complimented it - "rather more robust than most of the parking charges we see".

    He moved straight to the issue of the late submission of Witness Statement by BW Legal, about which he was not impressed at all. Said it was a serious matter and no explanation had been given. Seems documents were served late on the court as well as on me. He asked Mr Pickup if we wanted to apply for Relief from Sanction? Pickup said yes, but couldn't offer any explanation and talked about standards of evidence. Judge was having none of that either. Said it wasn't a standards of evidence matter but a court rules matter. Said when considering application for relief from sanction he had to consider seriousness, explanation and contextual circumstances (the framework I had laid out in my skeleton!) Said it was serious, there was no excuse, and there were no relevant contextual circumstances, so relief of sanction denied and Witness Statement struck out.

    We then proceeded to the claim. Judge said it seemed pretty straightforward - case was pre-POFA, I had no recollection of who drove, clearly it could have been my wife or I as we both were insured, or others, Claimant had to prove driver, did BW Legal have any evidence of driver? Mr Pickup, looking rather crestfallen after having the bulk of his evidence struck out and having to rely on the very basic info in the particulars of claim, tried to get the evidence back in via the backdoor by saying I'd referred to it in my skeleton argument. Judge wasn't having any of that either, and (after a dramatic pause, he was given to those) said claim dismissed.

    We then moved to costs. I applied for lost wages and for punitive costs, on basis of BW Legal's repeated bad behaviour. I got the lost wages (and travel) adn Judge considered the punitive costs issue for a while, but came down against it on basis the costs I claimed was stuff I would have had to do preparing the case anyway.

    Mr Pickup then asked leave to appeal on basis claim was dismissed "on a technicality". Judge's face suggested he didn't like that much, either. Leave to appeal denied (after another dramatic pause). Mr Pickup then tried one last gambit, asking if he could make a separate appeal re the claim itself rather than re the CPR sanction striking evidence. Judge did another dramatic pause then said something like "Leave to appeal sanctions: Denied.....Leave to appeal of Claim: Denied. Is that clear enough for you Mr Pickup?" Judge then added that Mr Pickup had been poorly served by his clients, and emphasised he didn't think Mr Pickup had done anything wrong.

    Mr Pickup, who seems a decent enough sort, came over after and said "nothing personal meant by that appeal business, I have to check". I said I understood he was just doing his job. He said there was still a chance an appeal could happen, would depend on what Excel and BW Legal decide, but court would contact me if it happened

    Was all over in about 15 minutes, after an hour of waiting while the judge did his reading. Phew! Was incredibly nervous beforehand but the process wasn't too bad really - judge was very clear and relaxed. Finally got this monkey off my back after nearly a year!! (touch wood, I guess they could appeal...) Thanks once again to everyone who helped on this case, the advice you've provided has been invaluable. Excel/BW Legal are now 2-0 down and 450 out of pocket on this one : )
    Last edited by TobyZ; 29-05-2018 at 1:36 PM.
    • Loadsofchildren123
    • By Loadsofchildren123 29th May 18, 1:55 PM
    • 2,224 Posts
    • 3,727 Thanks
    Loadsofchildren123
    great news, well done! And obviously a good Skeleton
    Although a practising Solicitor, my posts here are NOT legal advice, but are personal opinion based on limited facts provided anonymously by forum users. I accept no liability for the accuracy of any such posts and users are advised that, if they wish to obtain formal legal advice specific to their case, they must seek instruct and pay a solicitor.
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

288Posts Today

4,107Users online

Martin's Twitter