The new procedure for issuing money claims out of Salford Business Centre makes no provision for proceedings which are up against the limitation date.
I received instructions in respect of a claim which had to be issued by the following working day. It was damages for nuisance not exceeding £15,000. I took the claim form down to our local county court but it would not accept it. I then telephoned Salford and asked it to confirm that, if I sent the form by guaranteed next-day delivery, it would stamp it as having been received that day. Salford would not do so. I therefore issued an unliquidated damages claim online, at least thereby protecting my client’s claim, or so I thought. I served my particulars of claim separately, the claim was not answered, so I applied for judgment in default with damages to be assessed.
The papers were returned to me and I was told the claim could not proceed as I had used the online procedure incorrectly. I explained why I had used it and, eventually, as a ‘one off’ I was told to make an application in form N244 seeking judgment and explaining why I had used the online procedure for the claim. I have done so and now await hearing from the court. I have been warned that the district judge may decide to strike out my client’s claim altogether.
In another matter, I issued a possession claim in our local court under the accelerated procedure. I received notice of issue but with no date for service. The notice said I would receive another notice shortly informing me of the date for service. I waited but no notice arrived. I telephoned the court and spoke to its call centre which passed on my message.
I was called back and informed that the court did not now tell claimants the date for service of possession claims and so no notice would be sent to me. I enquired as to when I was supposed to calculate when I could submit a ‘request a possession order’ and certify that 14 days had expired if I had no idea whether it had or not. There was no response. I was simply told to submit my request and the judge would deal with it.
Has anyone else encountered these or similar difficulties? Perhaps our representative body can assist by putting pressure on the courts to resolve these very obvious flaws in their procedures if our own entreaties fail to make a difference.
Alexandra Adam, Gregsons, London SW19
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