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Matt Jones
Matt Jones, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 671
Experience:  I am a qualified and practising Solicitor with over 7 years post qualification experience
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While caring for 2 elderly parents and away from home, I did

Customer Question

While caring for 2 elderly parents and away from home, I did not receive paperwork regarding a judgement. I responded as soon as I knew, which was in the form of a letter from Northampton Court.
The Judgement appeared to be for nonpayment of an increased amount, even though there was an agreement in place for payment to be made by a certain date which was met.
In fact the people in question had received a cheque from me for a sum sent before I realised the cheque would not clear in time and was mistakenly for £50 less than agreed. My parents 90+ do not have email. As soon as this was realised, a bank transfer was made more than 24 hours before the deadline expired.
Therefore, they had in hand almost all the sum they subsequently pursued me for, plus the agreed bank transfer. They chose to return this cheque to me after judgement had been made.
No notification was sent to me by the claimant, between the paying of the agreed sum and the money claim online, that it was their intention to go to Judgement despite being in receipt of more than the agreed amount. If they had shown this courtesy, I would have been able to respond showing evidence that the money agreed was paid on time.
There had earlier been mention that they were doing me a favour suggesting a smaller amount and that infact I should have been paying them £850 but they would agree to accept £450.
I was told by the Northampton court I could ask for the Judgement to be set aside. I paid various fees to arrange for this to take place.
I live in the Scottish Borders.
I waited 3 months for a court date at a court just the other side of the border.
I took my evidence; the agreement re payment sum showing the agreed date, the bank statement showing the transfer before the due date, an earlier cheque sent in settlement which they had refused, the cc statement/train tickets showing my departure and return home and my knitting.
At the court, I was the last hearing of the morning, the judge had a large amount of paperwork from the other side which I had not seen, while I could only show the above, which he did not ask to see but would have had copies of. He did ask to see the earlier settlement cheque. When I got it out of the file, he waved it away.
I was not permitted to ask questions or give any context, and did not have experience in these matters. My explanations were cut short while his whole focus was on the other parties paperwork as if they had every right to behave in this way.
To everyone's surprise the Judge decided not to set the Judgement aside but did not give clear reasons for doing so.
I paid the increased sum the day after the hearing. This went unacknowledged.
I discovered in May this year the amount had still not been registered as satisfied.
I have had a remortgage refused, and I now have a judgement against me for 6 years which will impact on us all as the sole breadwinner.
I sent a letter to the court by way of complaint immediately after the hearing. When asked if I wished to make a formal complaint, I did not know what exactly I was complaining about except this was less of a hearing more of a being told.
I approached the ombudsman who said once the court had spoken they could not intervene, I approached the Solicitors Regulatory Authority who have responded in a very vague way. I have not been able to get any information from the court who issued the Judgement, and money claims online say I have to approach the second court directly.
I have written to the court nearby asking to see the papers, they have been reluctant to respond, infact I have had to write twice. I have written to the Law Society, who have not responded to either letter.
Parallell to this, my mother's fall and my father's illness last summer until he died this July has needed my energy in looking after family matters. It did not seem fair to burden any of us with further anxiety by getting involved in a lengthy complaint process which I assumed would be similar to my experience in court in October. Ie. an unhearing.
So far the only port in a storm has been the citizens advice who I am to see on 11th Nov.
I would be grateful if you could let me know what you think?
Kind regards,
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Matt Jones replied 2 years ago.
Matt Jones :

hi i will try and help.

Matt Jones :

can you just clarify, what was the amount of original judgement? (i.e the one that was upheld in your hearing to set aside) and what is the exact amount to have paid to date?

JACUSTOMER-a2y8p8zs- :

Thanks Matt,

JACUSTOMER-a2y8p8zs- :

All the amounts paid in order of payment have been

JACUSTOMER-a2y8p8zs- :

including offers by me 1. £250 cheque sent but refused, 2. £350 offer refused 3. £400 paid by cheque sent special delivery on 8.6.13 arrived 10.5.13, and £450 paid by bank transfer on 11.5.13 before deadline of 12.5.13. ie by 12.5.13 they had potentially £850. I had been asking for clarification about the time spent on my business. This had never been responded to until after payment of the transfer. The time was 4 hours.

JACUSTOMER-a2y8p8zs- :

The £400 cheque was returned to me in August. The Judgement required me to pay £510.00 which was paid immediately after the set aside hearing of 16.10.13 ie 18.10.13 and came out of my account on 25.10.13. Therefore, the total I have paid, excluding court fees is £960.

Matt Jones and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Matt Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hi thanks for this. I will try and deal with your issues in logical order.
Leaving aside for a moment the merits or otherwise of the Claimants original case the matter ended in an application to set aside the judgement. As the Court is dealing with many cases they are not too interested in setting aside judgments unless very good reason (this has become ever more the case in recent years). Therefore the Court at this point is only really concerned with two points. Firstly was there a procedural irregularity that meant that the judgment should never have been entered (i.e it was served at the wrong address, or out of time etc). If this is not the case then they will refuse the application to set aside. If however it was the case then you still have to satisfy a test that you have a good defense. At the point the judge would not "try" the case in the real sense of the word, but would consider that, even if he let the case go forward would it be a potential waste of the courts resources in any event if there is simply no real prospect of defending the original proceedings. This could be the reason you failed in your application to set aside the judgement.
IN my view the ombudsman and SRA do not have the requisite authority to do anything about this. It is a judgement of the court and if you were un-happy with it then you could have applied for permission to appeal the judgement to a higher court (i.e a circuit judge of the County Court). It think its to late to do this anyway and also you have paid the judgement so you have don what the court ordered you to do.
As to the judgement you need to apply for a certificate of satisfaction. You need to write to the Court with evidence you have paid the judgement (i.e copy bank statement, cheque, etc) and a fee of £15 (i believe it is still this amount but you may need to check). They will then mark the CCJ register that the debt has been satisfied. You can then apply to the various credit agencies to get your credit account changed to show this
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you Matt, what a blunderbuss this law machine is. To the point of actually being a tool of harassment itself and therefore eating it's tail. So what went wrong, not being able to make contact with the court in Northampton because I was not there to receive paperwork which could have been sent by email, the address in Scotland being still being considered part of the English legal System, the taking care of hospitalised parents elsewhere, the not making a complaint at a moment of great anxiety, being financially disadvantaged by the judgement for a further 5 years. All because the Court's time is more important than the individual citizens who invests in the process to their own disadvantage. The group taking care of the group yet again. Not a lot more to say is there except time for a change of attitude which I suppose has to be mine given the blindness of the courts and the shackles of the judges . I will be seeing citizens advice with the evidence but given you do not hold out much hope however, I am curious to explore the incongruence further. Thanks

Expert:  Matt Jones replied 2 years ago.
You are welcome. If you think of any further questions later on this subject don't hesitate to ask. All the best