Our first monthly ‘Chairman’s review’

Welcome to the first blog, as I am personally technically challenged this is a big step but one that needs to be taken. During the coming months I will provide details of what we have been doing and what is occurring in the future. Please do not hesitate to let me have your comments.

December and January have been very busy with time taken up on the fees issue and the latest insolvency consultation paper.

A Legal & Technical meeting looked at the fees issue as communication with the Ministry has not raised any written response. Jeremy Chaplin is putting together a plan to move the issue forward and members will be able to read the views on the website shortly.

Insolvency has raised its head in relation to the latest consultation paper and there has been overwhelming opposition to the plans. The Associations’ response will be posted on the website shortly but it appears to members that the scheme is merely a money saving exercise and another example of the “dumbing down” of the importance of bankruptcy. It was good to see so many people attending the meeting to discuss the matter and for the views provided.

The Association strongly believes that a proper system of justice is a fundamental component of our constitution.  It believes that creditors and debtors are entitled to a fair and proportionate system to address the question of indebtedness.

January has been busy with meetings which have been like buses, nothing for a while and then they all turn up at once.

I have already mentioned the KPMG seminar on insolvency and this was followed by our half yearly meeting with the HM Association of District Judges. My notes of the meeting are on the members ‘ area of the website. We value this relationship greatly and I am pleased that this view appears to be shared by the District Judges .

I then attended a meeting of the Credit Industry Working Group on Recovery Matters to review the data accuracy section of the OFT debt collection guidelines.

We discussed the requirements and Jane Shepherd from the OFT spoke to us about the issues. It is something that has been a cause of concern and has been addressed by the Lending Standards Board who have amended their code and outlined how they expect the new obligations to work in practice.

At our Council meeting in January we were advised that the Association is in a strong financial position and the initiative to provide more information to members is proceeding. Council is concerned to ensure that details of the work done by officers is transmitted to members.

I hope to meet more of you over the coming months to explain what is being done and would encourage you all to attend regional meetings and get involved in our aim to improve the service we receive from the courts.

Finally I would like to thank Rob Burke and the members of the editorial board for the excellent newsletter produced in December; the next edition is due in March.

Warm regards

Brian Havercroft
Chairman – Civil Court Users Association