Happy New Year – what’s coming up for the CCUA in 2014…

 

May I somewhat belatedly wish all CCUA members a Happy New Year! I don’t know where the time has gone since our offices reopened after the Christmas break but I’m sure we are all now back in the swing of things ready to continue lobbying for improvements in the court service.

Court Fee Consultation

The Consultation closed on 21 January 2014 after being rushed through in seven weeks which included the Christmas and New Year period.

Rob Thompson, Chair of the CCUA Lobbying Committee, drafted a clear and concise summary of the situation and I hope everyone managed to get a chance to read it . Should the fees be increased as proposed, past experience would seem to indicate that this will result in a reduction in the issue of money claims. As Rob points out, there was a decrease in the issue of Warrants of Execution when the fee doubled, showing the cost of action can be prohibitive.

Also, could the timing of the consultation be worse? As users of the court service, I am sure most of us are dissatisfied and in some cases, extremely frustrated with the inadequate service provided not only by CCMCC but by the court service as a whole. We can only hope the Ministry of Justice give careful consideration to the CCUA’s response on behalf of the members.

Regional meetings February….

South West Region – next meeting will take place on 5 February at the offices of Burges Salmon, Bristol at 10.30am for 11am start.

Greater London/South East Region – next meeting will take place on 20 February 2014 at BDO offices in Baker Street, London, at 10.30am for 11am start. The guest speaker is Alan Smith, Director – Corporate Governance, High Court Enforcement Group. His presentation will be on ‘The future regulations for execution against goods’ which will come into force as part of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 Order 2013 in April 2014.

Diary dates March

6 March 2014 – Northern Region meeting to be held at CCMCC (sponsored by Shoosmiths)

Simon Hardy, Chair of the Northern Region, says “The focus of the meeting will be the CCMCC and will include a tour of the operation and an opportunity for questions and answers.  Good attendance at this meeting would be much appreciated as HMCTS/CCMCC are genuinely keen to work with us and do welcome feedback”.

What a great opportunity to see inside the CCMCC and identify their main problem areas. Such a visit may help us, to help them, improve the service provided and gain a better understanding of their systems and procedures.

14 March 2014 – House of Lords dinner.

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News from the CCUA Conference

Conference

As always the CCUA conference was a great success and this was followed by a hugely enjoyable gala dinner.  Although I was unfortunately unable to attend I managed to keep up to date with the events via  Twitter which proved very successful. I particularly enjoyed the photos and thought the celebratory cupcakes looked delicious!

Congratulations And Thanks

I am sure you will join with me in congratulating Central Region member, Jeremy Chaplin as he takes up his post as Chairman of the CCUA and Amir Ali, as he continues in his role as Vice-Chair. With changes coming into force next year with the new PCOL  and MCOL systems and continued issues with the court service, it will be a busy year for all concerned and ‘as many hands make light work’ if we all pull together we can make the work load a little lighter for all concerned.

A huge thank you must go to Brian Havercroft for all the hard work and dedication he brought to the role of Chair and although he will no doubt be kept busy, he may be able to take it a bit easier.

Another thank you must go to Anthony Sharp as he steps down from role as conference Chair and congratulations to Lisa Keating as she takes on this role.

Regional meetings

Looking forward now to the regional meetings for November…

Greater London and South East Region – next meeting will be taking place at BDO offices in Baker Street, London on Thursday 21 November starting at 10.30am. David Philpott, Conduct Redress and Standards at The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has agreed to come and address the meeting.

South West Region – next meeting will be on Wednesday 27 November also starting at 10.30am and will take place at the Offices of Burgess Salmon in Bristol.

Diary dates for December

The Northern Region meeting – 5 December 2013

Central Region meeting – 10 December 2013.

 

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

Salford Business Centre – The Highs and (more often that not!) the Lows

I thought that this month would be good time for a review of the Salford Business Centre as myself and my colleagues are continuing to experience problems with the service provided.

Unfortunately this would indicate no improvement has been made in respect of the service they provide despite the hard work of Brian Havercroft and the CCUA team which is somewhat disheartening.

A few incidents

Maybe I’m being too harsh on Salford and maybe improvements have been made but from where I’m sitting, I have yet to find them.

l’ll start with a few incidents that have occurred in our office over the last couple of months:

  • Two requests for judgment sent in respect of two defendants. Only one Judgment Order received, so we chased to see if the second judgment request had been dealt with. In response we received a further copy of the Judgment Order we already had and a letter with no reference to our query.
  • Request for judgment in respect of the first Defendant sent on 20 March 2013 and chased up on two occasions in April.  Received a response from Wakefield County Court on 7 May 2013 to advise judgment has not been entered in respect of the first Defendant. It appears Salford sent our letters chasing for the Judgment Order to Wakefield as the case had been transferred out for enforcement in respect of the second Defendant. Letter of complaint sent to Salford 10 May 2013.
  • Judgment in default entered and application for Charging Order made. Subsequently received a Varied Order as it appears an admission form was received by them and not dealt with appropriately.

I’m sure the above examples are not isolated incidents but look forward to being corrected if they are.

The next step

However, moving on, the next step is to look at how the service can be improved and how we can assist with this process. Is further training required? Do they need more staff? Is the process of work allocation flawed?

One idea we came up with in our office was that it would be really useful if any correspondence could be logged on their system as soon as they receive it to ensure actions are carried out in chronological order.

At least then if we need to call them, they could inform us if they have received the relevant document and we can continue with action accordingly.

And on a positive note…

To finish on a positive note and to show light at the end of the tunnel, I have one example of very good service. A  Judgment Order was received whereby the defendant’s name was spelled incorrectly.

A telephone call was made to the Business Centre to inform them of this and two days later we received a informing us the incorrect spelling had been amended.

Maybe in a few months time, we can write a list of positive comments!

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