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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
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The local council offered me £300 compensation delays

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The local council offered me £300 compensation for the delays in paying up an overpayment to my landlord after I had a hearing at an independent tribunal last February. They eventually sent a cheque to my landlord after I made an official complaint with the ombudsman to the Chief Executive of the Council in the beginning of August. I contacted the ombudsman again regading the offer of compensation and pointed out that this level of compensation does not reflect my 4,5 year battle with the council to prove that I had never been responsible for a shortfall in rent payments in the first place, but that the fault originated entirely in the Benefit department in the first place. This 1st of November it will be 5 years since that error was made and I have suffered considerable stress because of this. I had to defend myself in court due to legal aid cuts and I put in hundreds of hours of letter writing and phone calls plus meetings during those 5 years to try and proof my innocence. At the independent Tribunal, the judge only took 3 minutes to decide that the Council was at fault, yet I was still left to having to chase after them to comply with court order and to pay up. I am long term disabled and a pensioner. Am I unreasonable to expect more in compensation than £300? If not what is an acceptable level of compensation for such a long drawn out dillemma that at times took over my life entirely? I would like a ballpark figure in order to negotiate something adequate.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am unable to view your little video film as the sound on my system is faulty at the moment. So I can only read your replies.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Hi.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Did you suffer any financial loss that is not covered by the overpayment?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It is almost impossible to calculate how much money I spent over the entire period of 5 years. All correspondence from myself to the Council, the landlord and eventually the Independent Tribunal in Birmingham was posted "registered". Towards the latter part of the case, the files became larger and larger and postage would run up to £15.00 each time. Furthermore, there were the numerous telephone calls, travel to meetings etc. I would guess roughly that the £300 offered to me at this stage might just about cover all the administrative costs. However, this does not take into account the problems I encountered as a consequence of the Council's error in the first place. Relations with my landlord suffered terribly, they were suspicious of me and took me to be a liar or a thief (which obviously I was not, but couldn't prove to them immediately). I suffered emotional distress, sleepless nights and on the whole could not lead "a quiet, peaceful life". I don't know how to place a monetary value on that.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you.
I'm really sorry but you should take the £300.
You may recover at court compensation to cover your actual financial losses but I'm afraid you are not going to recover essentially for anxiety. That is not a head of compensation in the UK and anyway that is a loss that is too remote from the breach of any duty of care that was owed to you.
You can always ask for more. I would always suggest doing that because often they will increase offers from the first that is made. However if that is their final offer then you should accept it I'm afraid.
I'm very sorry if that is bad news.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Jo
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69538
Experience: Over 5 years in practice
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Jo,
Not exactly maybe what I was hoping for but the Council has now upped their offer to £350. The Ombudsman however, is investigating the case further and will get back to me in a few weeks.
My only other question is: if I am dissatisfied with the decision from the Ombudsman, can I still pursue it further through a court?
And would that be advisable? Thanks again, Anne De Rooy.

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