The New Alternative to PCOL

An interesting meeting at the Ministry of Justice was held to review the online claims procedure and in particular the PCOL system.


The Government website states “Government Digital Strategy and Departmental Digital Strategies commit us to the redesigning and rebuilding of 25 significant ‘exemplar’ services. We’re going to make them simpler, clearer and faster to use. All these are to meet the Digital By Default Service Standard by April 2014 and be completed by March 2015.

The 22nd exemplar in the transformation process is civil claims. Further information can be found at:

Discussion Group

The purpose of the discussion group was for members to provide information in respect of users requirements of PCOL so a completely new system can be produced rather than an improvement to the existing one. It appears at present that courts are still reliant on papers files as the current functionality of the system means a large proportion of contact with the court is still via paper and telephone calls.

It was interesting to hear the views of others on how the system could be improved and in particular the need to eradicate the use of paper claims. Currently PCOL is limited in its function and therefore a new system will need to be able to deal with a variety of scenarios such as deceased and term expired possession claims.

Another interesting feature discussed was the possibility of adding a Title Number to the property address details to assist with identification of the property which would be of use in respect of properties with garages or additional land.

Going forward

The meeting really showed how much needs to be discussed, as the allotted time passed so quickly, but hopefully further discussions will be held to ensure the success of the new system.

Further feedback from members on any functions they would like to have available on the system would be beneficial to all concerned and ensure the CCUA is at the forefront of promoting a user friendly, time saving, modern claims system.

Now time for summer hols and sunshine (I hope!).

Author – Christine Power FCILEx – specialising in Debt Recovery at Lightfoots LLP


Is the economic cake now rising?

Signs of recovery

We all know what happens when you bake a cake with plain flour and forget to put the baking powder into it. It comes out rather flat, leaden and unappetising.

Just like our economy over the past few years. However, I’m beginning to see signs of recovery, are you?  Confidence is to the economy what baking powder is to cakes.  It’s the tiniest ingredient, but absolutely essential for success.

Rising figures

I noted recently that the Council of Mortgage Lenders’ June figures show that lending was up a huge 26% on the same month in 2012.  The quantity of goods sold at retail level is up 2.2% to June (ONS), small yet significant if sustained across the whole sector. So it looks hopeful.

At Lovetts, we’ve seen more companies prepared to ‘get tough’ with their customers, with our July Claims showing the strongest month since mid 2011. This makes me think that companies are more confident in their own future, and that they can safely take legal action against their customers, without that ‘fear’ of finding themselves bereft of business.

‘Fear’ and ‘confidence’ are probably more significant in business than anything else.  It is easy to blame the banks and rightly so. Even today’s headlines show that the cost of putting right the PPI scandal is over £18 billion, twice the entire cost of the Olympic Games!  But even without bank support for business, confidence can lead to winning ways.

It is the same in Credit control.  How confident is the CEO in getting future business, so he/she will allow the FD and credit manager to go strong on recovering outstanding funds?  More confident now, it seems to me.


But beware – companies, particularly SMEs, are prone to struggle for cash as they start growing again.  Most small businesses underestimate the liquidity required for even single figure % growth in Sales. So they’ll hold onto the creditor’s money for longer, particularly as their banks will not yet have loosened their lending strings.

So the cake is cooking nicely we trust, but none of us can afford to take our eyes off ledger overdues lest we get our fingers burnt just when things look more positive.

Author: Charles Wilson, CEO of Lovetts plc, Debt recovery solicitors