CIVIL COURT USERS ASSOCIATION PromotING A BEttEr CoUrt SErVICE • A view of the CCUA Annual Conference • Regional Round-up • Lobbying / Legal & Technical Committee Updates • Homework is not just for Schoolchildren TEL 0845 052 5336 www.CCUA.ORg.Uk INfO@CCUA.ORg.Uk
CCUA Newsletter Winter 2011 CONTENTS Editor’s Notes 5-8 regional roundup when I saw our Chairman’s Thanks to all contributors for spending their 3 editor’s WelCome 4 Chairman’s notes roB Burke welcomes readers to tHe 2011 Brian Havercroft produces an update of reports from ccua regional cHairman telephone number flash up own time writing and submitting articles, to winter edition tHe association’s activities on my mobile some weeks my editorial board for their assistance and to ago, instead of listening to Claire for basically doing everything as usual. my inner voice telling me to finally big thanks to Linetime for their continued press ‘ignore’, I answered support in sponsoring the Newsletters. Please it. I thought it would be circulate the newsletter amongst your colleagues nice to speak to Brian and and associates. Happy reading! hear one or two of his hilarious jokes in order to Rob Burke, Editor 13 l&t Committee update momentarily escape the 9-10 annual ConferenCe 11-12 lobbying Commitee Jeremy cHaplin provides a round up of doom and gloom of yet The Editor, Rob Burke, can be contacted by email; a look at tHe ccua annual conference amir ali provides a round up of recent recent legal & tecHnical committee activity another euro zone financial crisis. Yet instead of email@example.com. All contributions 2011 in pictures loBBying committee activity adding to my collection of bad jokes I now find and letters welcome. myself welcoming you all to the winter 2011 CCUA Newsletter as its new Editor. I did ask Brian if the job would involve ‘Hacking’ but was told that our President was far too busy to help! (Don’t worry I won’t give up the day job). 16 homeWork is not just Now down to serious editorial business. In this 14-15 salford business Centre for sChoolChildren 17-18 bankruptCy martin Huudleston introduces tHe new louise kirBy discusses tHe insolvency edition we discover what’s been happening antHony sHarp asks wHetHer tHe salford Business centre service’s Bankruptcy consultation paper around the regions and have reports from the busy government are doing tHeir Homework Legal & Technical and Lobbying Committees. Martin Huddleston, Lead Operational Manager at HMCTS Salford Business Centre tells us about the workings of the Centre and Louise kirby summarises the Insolvency Service consultation paper and offers her own thoughts. This will hopefully remind members to respond to the Legal & Technical Committee with your views. 19 member profile 20 if i Could Change one laW 21 happy retirement! caroline knowles-ley talk to tHe editor tanzeela aslam discusses wHicH law sHe Brian Havercroft gives a fond farewell to In our new ‘If I could change one law’ feature, would cHange Jeremy sutcliffe wHo retires tHis year Tanzeela Aslam, issues a vain plea to change the law on driving licence photographs. what law Introducing the Market Leader would you change? get in touch. in Debt Recovery Software DebtimeSQL In our ‘member profile’ I dodge bullets with DebtimeSQL is recognised by leading law practices throughout the country as being the best-in-class collections and County and High Court debt recovery software available today. Caroline knowles-Ley of Lloyds Banking group. I will be profiling members at random and as Specially developed to meet the changing needs of the modern debt recovery department Liberate DebtimeSQL is suitable for high or low volume work and for processing consumer or commercial debt. Includes: life’s a lottery remember next time “it could be 22 linetime Screen layouts, documents & workflows 23 dates for your diary 24 merry Christmas Pre-legal processes you!” advertorial from our sponsors of tHe Have your diary ready, 2012 is already Enforcement procedures Interest calculator Client billing wisHing all our readers a very merry2 3 Complete electronic debt history Being planned! cHristmas and a Happy new year Unlimited number of co-defendants newsletter Multiple (parallel) workflows Interactive user workbox Links to o CPC/CCBC o NLIS o London Gazette o PCOL o CallML o AFD Postcode lookup o Call recording o Genius Dialler Liberate BI is the latest business intelligence tool available within the Liberate legal software suite.
CCUA Newsletter Winter 2011 Chairman’s Notes Regional Roundup - GLSE Region I was pleased to see so many to have responsibility for administration and the In this Roundup for the the Ministry of Justice, throughout the year. There is members at the conference secretarial duties. Greater London and South obviously a lot of interest generated because of the and from comments received East Region (GLSE), I thought direct impact these Consultations have on members’ it was one of the best we At our recent liaison meeting with the MOJ & HMCTS I would give a summary of day-to-day workings. I must thank Robert who, as have held. Congratulations we were impressed with their plans for the future and the past year. a very proactive member of the Legal & Technical to Amir Ali and his team for their wish to include the Association in moving forward. Committee, produces a concise report at each meeting providing such an interesting Amir Ali and Simon Hardy were amongst delegates to We have held three meetings on the various statuses of each Consultation during the programme. visit the new Salford National Money Claims Service in the year where I have been given period. and I know they were very impressed with what they ably supported by my Vice- Many thanks to Linetime, High saw and the management they met. Chair, Robert Thompson of It is also beneficial to the regional members to see Court Enforcement Officers Brachers. Whilst I am sure Council members, outside of their own regions, Association and LPC for At the liaison meeting we were provided with an the membership are keen to attending our meetings to heighten their visibility and sponsoring the event. update concerning the “quick wins” we had suggested hear what Rob and myself have to say, I am always eager I would like to thank Brian Havercroft, Amir Ali and and there are several that are being looked at. Presently to invite speakers, on varied topics, to the meetings Jeremy Chaplin for giving up their time as well as Claire I know that the introduction of Payment by Account their priority is to get Salford right but there appears to and 2011 has been no exception. Havercroft, our Administrator, for her assistance in will benefit many of our members and we await be a willingness to listen to what we have to say and compiling the minutes. Overall 32 different members, details of the “roll out” date. However I was aware of work on the suggestions. In February – Fuat Emin, Senior Fraud Lawyer Crown including a couple of guests, attended the meetings in the sense of frustration from members over what was Prosecution Service, In June – Paul Mawson, Project 2011 and we are looking to build on that in 2012. seen as a repetition of plans from the MOJ & HMCTS The meeting is normally held every six months but at Manager Liberata (working for HMCTS), In November representatives. their request it will for the time being be held quarterly – Andy Fyfe, Detective Inspector City of London Police. Finally thanks to my own Company, BDO LLP, for hosting which I would suggest confirms their readiness to listen All different in style and topic, but well appreciated by the meetings at our Baker Street offices and providing At the Annual General Meeting the following day to our views. all attendees. interesting buffets! Council was given a mandate to be more assertive in our dealings with government and you can be assured However it must be considered that all the plans are I feel it is important for any region to develop their Anthony Whitman, GLSE Regional Chairman that we will continue to press for improvements. subject to finance but presently they are moving members for the benefit of the Association on a regular forward. basis and, with this in mind, I must mention Kelly As I said in my opening comments at the conference, Young of Southern Water in Worthing. Kelly has really whilst the Association is working hard on behalf of As an Association we are committed to see an come to the fore in 2011 by not only being elected - she members we are not good at advertising that fact. As improvement in the service offered by the courts; rest did volunteer! - to the Legal & Technical Committee, a result we have now introduced a Communications assured we will continue to look after the best interests but also being invited to present the Creditor ‘slot’ at Committee under the chairmanship of Ron Lack. We of our members. the Annual Conference. Without wishing to embarrass will utilise a new website and LinkedIn to provide Kelly, but I will, over 90% of delegates rated her speech more detailed information and further details will be Finally may I wish you and your families a very Happy either Excellent or Very Good. Well done Kelly!! provided early in the New Year. Christmas and a prosperous New Year. A lot of our discussion at meetings revolves around In addition I have taken responsibility for the Brian Havercroft, Chairman the various Consultation Papers, issued primarily by Lobbying and the Legal & Technical committees under the respective chairmanship of Amir Ali and Jeremy Chaplin. Amir will have responsibility for the Conference committee, which is now being, renamed the Events committee. Jacky Cooper will continue4 5
CCUA Newsletter Winter 2011 Regional Roundup - Central Region Regional Roundup - Northern Region The Central Region of meetings and provide an update report. This has a great This year we have had a the operation and to meet the staff. That takes account The CCUA has a rather benefit both for the HMCTS and members in being able variety of speakers attend of one meeting but who do you want to hear speak at vague set of boundaries- to raise and resolve local issues and get them sorted meetings to give talks/ future meetings? Have members from other regions probably from Norfolk to out and for the HMCTS to provide the meeting with presentations on various had speakers who have been particularly interesting the Welsh coast and Derby current news and information. subjects. In March Mark and that other regions would benefit from hearing, to the M25. I don’t think Danks from the Insolvency or are there speakers you would like to hear again to anyone has quite drawn Together with the able assistance I receive from the Service addressed the provide an update on their subject? I know that all lines, but I reckon that Deputy Chair - Sat Singh of HSBC - we are also fortunate meeting about insolvency regional chairs would welcome your suggestions as we this is approximately the to have Brian Havercroft, CCUA Chair and Jeremy matters. In June we had an want to meet your needs. correct area. Chaplin , Chair of the Legal & Technical Committee as interesting talk by District members of Central Region and therefore to supply up- Judge Jordan, which was Regional meetings also provide the ideal opportunity As with all other regions, to- date reports of CCUA activities. very informative and in to network, make new friends and to air issues. On Central Region, which I have the privilege to Chair, September we heard about Paymen by Account (PbA) several occasions I have gone to a meeting with an meets quarterly. The venue has for the last five years The dates of the Central Region meetinga for 2012 will from Paul Mawson, Project Manager at Liberata, a issue or problem thinking it was unique to me, but have been the excellent offices of KPMG in the centre of be found at the end of this newsletter. Birmingham. Thanks to Mike Sargeant of KPMG who government outsourcing specialist. soon discovered that it is a problem common to many. kindly organises the venue, our meetings are morning May I take this opportunity of wishing all readers a By identifying common problems we as an Association meetings and are followed by a very nice buffet lunch Happy Christmas and dare I say a Happy New Year. At our December meeting, which hasn’t taken place can take up the issues with the appropriate authorities provided by KPMG. How long this arrangement will at the time of writing this article but will have done or, as we now have our new Lobbying Committee, last, we are not certain. We normally get an attendance Anthony Sharp, Central Region Chairman so by the time you read this, Cid Spooner, Operations lobby for change. of about 25-30 delegates at our meetings and during Manager at the CCBC/CPC will have given us an update 2011 as I have said, we have held four meetings and the on matters at the CCBC/CPC and on the data transfer I would also like to take this opportunity to say “thank main agenda items have been as follows. work. Jason Latham, National Back office Manager with you”, on behalf of all Northern Regional members, to responsibilities for CCBC/CPC, Salford and Haywards those organisations which host our meetings. We meet These have included:- Heath Business Centres and several of the Tribunal at some excellent venues, are provided with wonderful back offices, will have provided an overview of where lunches and are always made to feel most welcome – March: An Open Forum session for members’ technical HMCTS are with their business and contact centre thank you to all concerned. queries and to consider current matters of concern network. and interest to members. Finally I want to wish all readers and their families a Attendance at the Northern Regional meetings has very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Peaceful New June: The Ministry of Justice’s Payment By Account been good with the exception of September when the Year. I look forward to seeing you at regional meetings Service. Speaker: Paul Mawson, Project Manager- date of our meeting clashed with the CSA conference. in 2012. Payment by Account, Payment Solution Programme, However, we still managed to average 28 attendees at LIBERATA. each of the meetings. Simon Hardy, Northern Region Chairman October: “Fraud, how to be a victim.” Speaker: Fuat I know that time is precious to us all and it is becoming Emin. Central Fraud Group, CPS central casework. more and more difficult to find the time to “escape” December- Jane Shepherd, Principal Debt Policy from the office. That is why we, as an Association, need Officer, Credit Policy, Corporate Services, Office of Fair to ensure that the regional meetings are informative, Trading gave us an important update on current work meaningful and beneficial to all. in the personal debt arena being undertaken by the Office of Fair Trading. I recently visited the Salford Business Centre and had a tour of the operation which was most impressive. They We are delighted that The Birmingham Civil Justice have very kindly offered to host one of our meetings Centre remain keen to be regularly represented at our in 2012. This will be an excellent opportunity to see6 7
CCUA Newsletter Winter 2011 Regional Roundup - South West Region Annual Conference & Gala Dinner - Over the year the region has held a variety of excellent In Pictures meetings especially one by the Deputy District Judge which brought forward many interesting scenarios faced and provoked much discussion. The Association is very grateful to all the speakers and would thank Burgess Salmon for kindly providing the venue throughout the year. Sadly Deborah Poynter has found it necessary to resign as Chair and Martin Wood has kindly agreed to replace her. The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 1st February when the Association Chairman Brian Havercroft will be there to speak about issues faced by members. An invitation is made for members to bring a ‘friend’ to join the discussion. Rob Burke, Editor8 9
CCUA Newsletter Winter 2011 Lobbying Committee - An update The inaugural Meeting of the Lobbying Committee took place in Leicester at the Leicester Marriott on the 27th July 2011. The Committee is made up of the following members: Amir Ali CCUA Vice Chair / Lobbying Committee Chair – CR Andrew Aspell Office Depot – CR Tamsin Cooper Drydens – NR Darren Devoile Coltman Warner Cranston – CR Jo Frisby British Gas Business – CR Jonathan Pyke RBS – CR Peter Wordsworth Fairfax Solicitors – NR Anthony Sharp Central Region Chair / AS Associates - CR Jeremy Chaplin Geoffrey Parker Bourne Solicitors - CR Charles Wilson Lovett’s - GLSE Claire Havercroft CCUA Administrator – NT CR – Central Region NR – Northern Region GLSE – London & South Eastern Region NT – Note Taker I highlighted that the initial proposal for lobbying had been accepted and approved by the National Council in January 2011. This first meeting would be approached as a ‘think tank’ to generate ideas and discuss how the topic of lobbying should be tackled. I encouraged the committee members to highlight any issues which they felt should be debated as all ideas were welcome. I highlighted the success achieved with Payment by Account; I explained that I had initially been approached by Paul Mawson at the CCUA Conference in 2010 to discuss how the CCUA may be involved in promoting and highlighting a need for a different payment system. I held weekly meetings and lobbied heavily with emails to Kevin Sadler and Jonathan Djanogly. As such the PbA was kept alive and the pilot was a success, a business case was made and the Ministry of Justice in turn confirmed that they would announce the official launch of the facility at the Civil Court Users Association Annual Conference in September 2011. The meeting discussed how the Association should undertake lobbying in a professional and consistent manner. It was agreed that it needed to be more proactive and not too concerned if our views are controversial. It was suggested that in order to lobby effectively we needed the assistance of other bodies. This should include developing a better relationship with other trade bodies so that a similar set of views could be expressed to Government. An example could well be the Association linking with organisations such as the Institute of Credit Management and The Credit Services Association at Legal & Technical level. Leicester Marriott Hotel 20th September 2011 Also the development of a good working relationship with the various government departments was essential – something that CCUA did indeed enjoy.10 The Committee agreed that lobbying needed to be dealt with in a more organised fashion than had been carried 11 out before so as to produce the most beneficial effect for the Association.
CCUA Newsletter Winter 2011 The committee felt that consideration should be given by the Legal & Technical Committee to the circulation of the Association’s responses to Government Consultation Papers to the membership as a whole to help to ensure that there is a consistency, amongst members in such responses. Legal & Technical Committee - Issues to be considered: The Committee felt that the membership should be kept up to date with the activities of the Lobbying An update Committee. The following subjects were proposed as priorities for lobbying: • Solicitors Costs. During the first half of 2011 the work of the Legal & the Courts out of the bankruptcy process where there Technical Committee was dominated by the “Solving is no dispute. (Members are urged to let the Legal & • Judiciary preventing sole traders from being pursued for business debts. Disputes in the County Courts” paper published by the Technical Committee have comments on this paper as Ministry of Justice. indicated in the communication dated 17th November • Rights of entry – proposed by British Gas 2011). This was one of the most important papers to appear • Scale of Costs and general costs in Small Claims for some years – possibly since the Woolf Reform – as it The main function of the Legal & Technical Committee represented a starting point for reform of Civil Justice is to respond to consultation papers published by the • Consumer Credit restriction on use of High Court and their Enforcement Officers. by the current Government. The paper contained Ministry of Justice and other relevant Government many items that were visited by the last Government departments and regulatory bodies in terms which • County Court Bailiffs, require value for money. which were not taken to any proper conclusion. An will secure the best outcome for members. As all example of this is in relation to the proposed threshold committee members are involved in the industry, it is • Absence of understanding within judiciary regarding serial non payment on orders for sale following charging orders. Having usually quite easy to gauge what the general feeling regard to the importance of the paper members of of the membership will be about a particular paper. • Financial Statements of the debtor at the point of Admission & Offer the Association were invited to attend a consultation Occasionally there are conflicting views which are workshop which took place on 1st June 2011 in usually based upon self interest. There are occasions • Interpretation of Guidance’s issued by Regulators Birmingham. The outcome of the consultation is, at when members can come up with a point which is to the time of preparation of this note, still outstanding the benefit of the entire membership and which has • A better dissemination of Court Forms – Consumer / Commercial e.g. the Forms do not differentiate and it is believed that the Ministry of Justice is awaiting not been identified by the Committee. This is why it is between consumer and commercial. You do not need a date of birth for a commercial debt! clearance from No 10 Downing Street. absolutely essential for members to feed in their views about various papers all of which are easily accessible • A consistency of Hearings with the Judiciary. More recently the Legal & Technical Committee has on the internet. All comments are welcome. been concerned with two papers from the Office of Fair • Fixed Costs - As we are all aware, the fixed costs have remained unchanged for many years now and this Trading – Draft Guidance for Debt Management and On behalf of the Civil Court Users Association I would is despite the fact that we have seen significant increases in the Court fees. It has further been suggested Draft Guidance for Debt Collection. like to record the Association’s sincere thanks to John that Court fees perhaps be increased year on year in line with inflation. It was felt that the approach to White and his staff at Hendersons Chambers for so the increase in the fixed costs should be looked at from a completely fresh and new angle. Further details There are other papers in the pipeline including an generously hosting the Committees meetings. will follow on this point. important paper from the Insolvency Service on the Reform of the Process to Apply for Bankruptcy and Compulsory Winding Up. Members will already have The Management Group of the Lobbying Committee which consists of Anthony Sharp, Jeremy Chaplin and I met seen a note about this paper which proposes to take on the 28/10/11 to consider fully all the above and are due to present the same to the National Council shortly in order that a strategy can then be drawn up for lobbying activity over the next 12 months. Further details will follow, so please watch this space. Amir Ali is Chair of the Lobbying Committee for the Jeremy Chaplin is Chair of the Legal & Technical Civil Court Users Association. Committee for the Civil Court Users Association.12 13
CCUA Newsletter Winter 2011 National Business Centre - Salford National Business Centre Salford did increase and did result in a consequent delay in being sent to the business centre. This adds the first point of contact with remaining queries passed processing the work. However, in the last four months delay to processing claims and documents, to the business centre which will then contact the The Salford Business Centre was set up in 2010 the business centre has undertaken a considerable which we are asking for your support to help customer direct. The business centre will also continue and is central to Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal amount of work to improve systems and address the us remove, by sending the business centre just to operate dedicated email services for customers Service’s (HMCTS) strategy to improve the efficiency, arrears with the result it is currently processing work one copy of the defence or correspondence with queries and for the service of documents to the effectiveness and responsiveness of the administrative within four working days of receipt with the aim of using one of the methods of communication; business centre. elements of civil courts by centralising the processing getting to one working day in the coming months. This • When you e-mail the court it would help More information on the National Money Claims of the early stages of court claims at the business will ensure that parties are notified of a claim being if the subject line of your mail contained the Service will be available in the New Year. centre. As a first step in the process the business issued within five working days. claim/matter number, the title of the claim/ centres at Salford and Hayward’s Heath have been In terms of workload the centre is currently processing matter (abbreviated if necessary) and the If any one would like any further information or have been processing money claims on behalf of 92 courts. around 5,000 claims; 2,000 defences and 2,000 subject matter (e.g. defence) any queries or feedback regarding the Salford Business The business centre at Hayward’s Heath closes on 9 judgments each week on behalf of the courts. • Solicitor Service – when sending in claims Centre and the service we provide please let us know at December when all work will be carried out at Salford. which you would like returning for service it firstname.lastname@example.org. The move to a centralised business centre operations How to contact the Business Centre would be helpful if the claim form was clearly marked ‘Solicitor Service’ Martin Huddleston has helped HMCTS save £2 million in operating costs • By e-mail: email@example.com. and these savings will increase further with the creation Lead Operational Manager, HMCTS gov.uk. of the national money claims service in March 2012. National Money Claims Service In response to feedback the business centre has now Expansion of the Business Centre set up an e-mail address for customers to use to send When the National Money Claims Service comes into their queries - Staff at the business centre will respond effect in March 2012 it will operate in the name of a The business centre has been expanding rapidly to to email queries within 48 hours. Documents such as single county court. Customers will send Part 7 money absorb the work from Hayward’s Heath and in readiness acknowledgements of service, certificates of service, claims direct to the business centre to be issued. The for national money claims in March 2012. There has defences and requests for judgment can also be sent business centre will manage the preliminary stages been a major recruitment and training exercise. We this way of defended claims up to and including the filing of currently have 106 staff (a figure which has doubled in • By fax: 0161-743-4023 Allocation Questionnaires when the cases will then be the last 4 months) and will double again by March 2012 • By Post: The National Business Centre, PO BOX transferred to the appropriate county court for hearing. when there will be 220 people working at the centre. 527, Salford, M5 OBY (DX: 702634 Salford 5 The County Court Bulk Centre at Northampton will The number of courts covered by Salford has increased Customers can also contact their local county court continue to deal with Money Claims Online users and from 43 to 92 between September and December. by phone with any queries they may have. issuers of bulk money claims. Judgments and warrants of execution will also be where we are now How you can help the Business Centre processed at the business centre. The team at Salford The business centre will be supported by a dedicated Due to implementation difficulties during the early • Duplicate Documents – there has been a telephone contact team who will deal with all queries part of the summer, arrears of outstanding work noted increase in duplicate documents, in relating to cases being processed at the business centre. particular a large number of duplicate defences The contact team will resolve over 90% of queries at14 15
CCUA Newsletter Winter 2011 Homework is not just for Consultancy: Reform of the process to apply schoolchildren for Bankruptcy and Compulsory Winding Up In an editorial of an industry magazine I recently read, it of £25,000, below which Orders for Sale will not be stated “There is a natural tendency in the UK to assume allowed. At the Association’s Conference in September that government has little understanding of the ‘real this year I asked the question of the Question Time Louise Kirby, Advocate with LPC Law, summarises matter would be referred to the County Court for world’ and in particular of the credit industry and its panel in relation to this proposal as to whether the the Insolvency Service consultation paper and gives adjudication. role….But sometimes government lives up to the Government had lost faith in the Judiciary- perhaps her own personal view upon the proposals. Whether stereotype and this can mean trouble for us all.” it is worth reminding ourselves that the granting of 2. Debtors who want to apply for bankruptcy have the you agree with Louise, disagree or have your own choice of submitting electronic or paper applications, an Order for Sale is the decision of The District Judge thoughts please get in touch with the Legal & Technical and the option of making the requisite payment to I completely agree with this view and want to share alone. You will be pleased to learn, I am sure, that the Committee to enable the Association to respond fully. enter the process by instalments. two, perhaps three examples with you that highlight response I got from The Ministry of Justice was that not only the danger of Government not doing its apparently Government has not lost such confidence, Background 3. Where creditors are looking to instigate homework properly but as important, of losing the but they are probably going to do it anyway! proceedings, a new mandatory pre-action process confidence of the sector of industry about whom the On 7 November 2011 Edward Davey, Business would incentivise debtors and creditors to statement is made. Last year there were apparently 507 such orders Minister, issued a consultation paper which proposed communicate with each other to thereby reach a made. Please read that figure again. Why therefore is radical changes to the current application process for mutually satisfactory solution without recourse to At the Conservative Party Conference this year we now Government going to waste everyone’s time legislating bankruptcy and compulsory winding up in England a bankruptcy application. Non compliance with know that the Prime Minister had to change some to stop abuse that does not and will not be allowed to and Wales. This article will focus on the proposed the pre-action process could include either cost or of the wording of his speech relating to UK citizens exist? Get real! changes to the personal bankruptcy regime. criminal sanctions. paying up their credit card debts now. Interestingly I understand it was because it did not make economic Citizens Advice, whose 2009 Report ‘Out of Order’ The paper proposes that the present court based route 4. Where parties were not satisfied with the sense rather than the fact that it would have been a sparked the issue off in the first place, has now conceded for bankruptcy is replaced with an administrative Adjudicator’s decision, they would have the right to very insensitive thing to say unless qualified by some that if such a threshold is introduced, it could well lead procedure. Uncontested applications would be request a review of the decision and to appeal to the important caveats. to an increase in creditor led bankruptcies. One of the determined by an Adjudicator. The role of the court court. first assets to be considered for sale is the house! Ooops! would not be entirely relegated, however; contested In Detail Why may I ask do politicians believe they can make applications would be decided by the courts. The paper such generalist statements without making allowance Of course I have not mentioned the subject of the contends that the vast majority of bankruptcy petitions 1. The court’s role for those to whom such a statement could be offensive? regulation of bailiffs have I- no don’t go there Sharp, you (around 85%) are presented by the debtors themselves There are indeed plenty of people who indeed should might blow a gasket and that would be a horrible sight! and are therefore not contested. Further, only around The effect of the administrative regime would be and could settle their debts now, but equally there is a I will just add that apparently Government’s reaction 5% of those bankruptcy petitions made by third parties two-fold, albeit limited to undisputed cases: the growing number, who may like to but who cannot. At to the issue of “aggressive bailiffs” and The Exposure involve a contested court hearing. court would no longer hear undisputed applications; a time when Government’s understandable policy to Programme on bailiffs of a few weeks ago is to ’tweak’ documents relating to bankruptcy would no longer cut the deficit has brought in its wake a vast increase in the voluntary National Standards for Enforcement The government considers the proposed bankruptcy be filed routinely at court. The person required to unemployment thus increasing the number of people Agents that was produced in 2002. Well that is all right process as a means of alleviating the volume of work produce the key documents (the official receiver or an in serious debt, why do they alienate so many of the then, we can all relax and enjoy Christmas!!! currently carried out by the courts when dealing with appointed insolvency practitioner) would also be the electorate by not being careful with their language. I bankruptcy petitions and reducing the cost and time person required to keep a copy for inspection, thereby, suggest they are not doing their homework. If Government really wants to be trusted, believed and accrued by the current litigation process. the paper contends, significantly lowering the cost supported in its work in our industry, then it must do its of bankruptcy applications as lawyers would not be Equally it now seems that because, incredibly, it was homework- properly. At the moment it most certainly key Changes needed to effect applications. built into the Tory manifesto at the last election, we is not. may well be burdened with the nonsense of a threshold 1. Parties would be able to make electronic applications to an Adjudicator, whose office would be within Where no agreement can be reached between the the Insolvency Service. Broadly speaking, where parties, the court would become involved in the there is no disagreement between the parties the dispute. Anthony Sharp owns Anthony Sharp Associates and is Chair of the CCUA Central Region Adjudicator would decide the outcome of each application. In the event that there is a dispute, the16 17
CCUA Newsletter Winter 2011 2. The Adjudicator The Adjudicator’s role would be akin to that of an requirements. It would set out in clear and plain English what steps the debtor could take in order to resolve the situation. Member Profile - industry expert arbitrating non-disputed cases. Applicants would complete an on-line form and then submit it electronically, together with payment, to Non-compliance with the pre-action process could result in consequences for the non-compliant party which include costs awards and a new criminal offence Caroline Knowles-Ley the Adjudicator. Debtors would have the option of for submitting false information in support of an applying by post. application. Rob Burke meets Caroline and some lovely comments were made! Dealing Knowles-Ley, Practice with solicitors is much like dealing with army officers The Adjudicator would be appointed by the Secretary 5. Third party applications for bankruptcy Manager, Dispute Resolution though – sometimes you have to point them in the of State and would sit within The Insolvency Service. & Contentious Regulatory right direction! Adjudicators would, however, be completely separate The Adjudicator would only make a bankruptcy order (Retail Legal), Lloyds Banking from Official Receivers to ensure independence. in cases where he is satisfied that the application Group. Q. Is it Sargeant or Sarjeant? process has been complied with. The burden of 3. Application fees proof would be on third party applicants to adduce Q. How did you first get A. Actually it’s Staff Sergeant! evidence supporting their contention that the debtor involved in the CCUA? The costs incurred in processing an application would was correctly served with a statutory demand. An Q. If you were in charge of HMCTS for a day be borne by the fees charged and not by the tax payer. application that is made without such evidence would A. Some years ago I attended what would you do? Present court fees would be replaced by application be rejected. the annual conference. fees, which would be significantly lower, possibly Lloyds were members and I have taken over attending A. Improve customer service - set a process in place between £69 and £121. The Adjudicator’s role would be limited to determining the regional meetings and conference. to clear the backlog of post which seem to hound us whether or not the criteria for making a bankruptcy at every turn and ensure the phones are answered The consultation paper proposes that the official order are met. A bankruptcy application by a third party Q. Lloyds Banking group has a number of offices promptly! We don’t mind paying for a service so long receiver’s administration fee would continue to be would result in one of three potential scenarios: consent that handle litigation. what does your team deal as we get a decent service. payable. An applicant would have to pay in full both by the debtor to the application, the application being with? the fee for processing the application and the deposit opposed by the debtor, there being neither consent Q. If you could work shadow anyone in the before the application would be considered by the nor opposition to the application by the debtor. A. Unsecured Recoveries cases – bank accounts, loans world who would it be and why? Adjudicator. However, debtors would have the option Where there has been consent to the application, the and credit cards. We deal with pre-action work through of paying both of these sums by instalments. In Adjudicator would check that the eligibility criteria are to the enforcement of a judgment and we handle all A. I would work shadow the President of the United contrast, third party applicants for bankruptcy would met and, if appropriate, make a bankruptcy order. the cases which are defended internally too. Nations Council – my TA role is that of stabilisation so not have the facility to make payments by instalments the way decisions are reached and how the Council since most are likely to be businesses and therefore Where an application is opposed, the Adjudicator Q. You are a busy person, how do you switch interacts intrigues me and it’s so far removed from unlikely to be disenfranchised. would consider all representations made by the debtor off? what I do every day! and if satisfied that the criteria for making a bankruptcy Debtors would also have a choice about whether to order were met, a bankruptcy order would be made A. My partner and I love to go out and eat at nice places. Thanks make their application electronically or on paper, with unless the debtor made an application for referral to I also have a dog which means we get out walking a the application fee being the same for either method. the court. Where the Adjudicator was not satisfied that lot. I am also a volunteer with Social Services helping You’re welcome! the criteria for making a bankruptcy order was met, the families who have children with difficulties and the 4. Pre-application process debtor and creditor would be notified of this and given rest of the time I spend with the Territorial Army as a reasons. Where the creditor disputed the conclusion reservist, this is my 22nd year! A new mandatory pre-action process would be reached by the Adjudicator, it would have the option of specifically tailored to bankruptcy applications and referring the application to court. Q. You were a speaker at the CCUA Annual would operate alongside the existing pre-petition Conference last year. How did that compare with leading a platoon in a NATO exercise? Louise kirby A. Potentially I could have been dodging bullets of a Advocate verbal nature but it seemed to have been well received LPC Law18 19
CCUA Newsletter Winter 2011 Retirement – If I could Change one law – Jeremy Sutcliffe Tanzeela Aslam At the Northern Region meeting in Leeds on 1st The law I wish to change is Section 99 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 c.52. Under this section December members were advised of the imminent it is an offence not to surrender your licence to update the photograph after 10 years. The retirement of Jeremy Sutcliffe. licence holder is liable to pay a fine of up to £1000 upon conviction. The police will be re- Jeremy was chairman of the Association for 13 years sponsible for the prosecution of this offence. The ability to fine a customer who does not and remains an honorary vice chairman. During his update his or her photograph is captured under Section 99(5) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 period of office he oversaw the Associations’ expansion c.52 to represent the interests of court users and he was instrumental in promoting a closer relationship with Now the legal bit is out of the way let me get back to why I want it changed. The Association of Her Majesty’s Association of District Judges. Quite simple really, vanity. Admittedly, over the years mother nature has not been good to me. University life, 3 kids and the stress of the last 10 years has taken its toll. I am reminded Current chairman, Brian Havercroft, commented “I hope Jeremy will maintain his contact with us. We have of this every morning when I look into the mirror and wonder who that woman is staring a great deal to thank him for including all of the hard back at me. Notwithstanding the fact that it takes longer and longer to put on my make- work he put in on members’ behalf and the status that the association has attained. We wish him a very happy up. No, seriously I feel resentful that I have to change, what is a perfectly fine picture (of retirement.” me looking both youthful and radiant) to one which is showing evidence of wear and tear. At the meeting he was presented with a gift as an Not only am I deprived of the opportunity to have a youthful photo but I now have the appreciation of his efforts by Simon Hardy, Regional privilege to pay for the same. £17.50 every 10 years to be exact. (Talk about rubbing salt Chairman. into the wound.) So I would abolish the above section of law to enable me to keep the cur- rent picture on my driving licence. (For those of you who may not have been aware of the above requirement if the photo- graph has expired on the driving licence the customer is still entitled to drive.) Tanzeela Aslam20 21
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CCUA Newsletter To all Members and Contacts of the Civil Court Users Association I am writing on behalf of the National Council of the CCUA to wish each and every one of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year. Those of you who have been involved with the CCUA will know that for the last few years, we have given a donation to charity instead of buying and sending Christmas cards to CCUA members and our valuable contacts within the Industry. This year is no different and the National Council has decided to make two donations, one to Marie Curie Cancer Care and the other to Cauldwell Children who aim to brighten the lives of young children living with a disability. We are sure you will agree that these are incredibly worthwhile causes that will help brighten the future for a number of families. Thank you for your support in 2011 Brian Havercroft, Chairman24