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JimLawyer
JimLawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 13589
Experience:  Senior Associate Solicitor
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I have a question regarding a letter I received from my

Customer Question

Hello I have a question regarding a letter I received from my mother threating to take debt recovery legal action against me
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: Stockport
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: None
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: My mother is saying I owe her £1290.95 for items which she bought for me as gifts, and she also has forged my signature in the past on documents and used an email address in my name to do things unlawfully. I have proof that she was using this email. I was also paying her £140 a month for years which she manipulated out of me, long before this bogus claim that I owe her £1290.95. She says she is taking debt recovery action against me unless I pay her or respond within 14 days
Submitted: 14 days ago.
Category: Law
Customer: replied 14 days ago.
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Customer: replied 14 days ago.
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Expert:  JimLawyer replied 14 days ago.

Hello, this is Jim and welcome to JustAnswer. I will be the lawyer working with you today.
Sorry to hear of the issue. I will set out my written answer shortly.

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 14 days ago.

Your Mother needs to prove her claim on the balance of probabilities, i.e. she needs evidence to show the court that more likely than not, you owe her. Her claim will fail if you can show evidence the items were gifts.

Debt collectors are not bailiffs - they have no powers as such. They will simply try to collect the money their client thinks you owe. You can turn them away if you dispute the debt and they visit you - they can’t enter your home and take goods. They would report back to their client they were unsuccessful and it’s then up to their client whether to take matters further.

If they do sue, you will receive court documents (a response pack) which you must complete and return to the court. It is a tick box exercise for the most part and there is a short section to write a defence which is easy enough though please feel free to come back to this site if you need any more help. A claim will also take 9-12 months to be decided at court. If you lost then you would get 14 days to pay the judgment before the claimant can enforce the order, and 30 days to pay in full before it is registered with credit agencies. The claimant cannot recover legal costs if they win, in a claim under £10K (a small claim), all they can claim are the court fees and interest.

If the claim has no merit then you have an option (after your defence is filed) to apply to strike the claim out. The court will consider an application if the claim has no merit, or is misconceived. The application costs £255 but this is recoverable if your application succeeds. If you are on a low income, have low savings or in receipt of benefits then you can ask the court to waive the court fee. If you won the application, the claim is struck out.

The hearing (if the case gets that far) is likely to be held remotely, it's you, a district judge (who is a practising solicitor or barrister) and someone from the claimant company. The Judge decides and if you lost, you get 14 days to pay the sum. If paid in full within 30 days then nothing goes on your credit record. But certainly I think you would succeed in a defence, just to be clear.

If you lost and if you were unable to pay the full sum owed at that point you can also ask the court to pay by instalments (a simple form is sent in, form N245, and a fee of £50 unless you qualify for a fee exemption so if you are on a low income, have low savings or in receipt of benefits then you would qualify). If the CCJ was not paid in full though bear in mind the credit record would contain the CCJ details for up to 6 years. After that it comes off the credit registers.
I can assist you going forwards if it gets to the point they issue a claim. If you need a law firm to assist you to defend the claim, here is an example for you and they offer a fixed fee : https://stormcatcher.co.uk/practice-areas/dispute-resolution/small-claims-lawyer-service/

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 14 days ago.

I hope this helps and answers the question - my goal is to ensure you are happy with the answer and have the information you need. If you have any follow up questions then please let me know. I will reply as soon as I can to help with any further queries.

Many thanks,
Jim

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 14 days ago.

Please let me know if the answer helped or if you need me to cover anything else?. I am happy to clarify the answer or if you have any follow up questions. If so, I’d be grateful if you would let me know. I am free most days, including weekends, so feel free to ask me anything you are unsure of.

Best wishes,

Jim

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
Thank you so much for your response. My problem is that my mother has forged my signature to do things that I know about, and most likely things that I don't know about. I ordered a new passport with my new signature in November 2020, and I have not used my old signature since September last year. The problem is, I have no proof that she has forged my signature, I do however have proof that she was using an email in my name and I had no way of recovering access to that email account, it took me 2 weeks and multiple calls to the company in order to get access to it. So, what if she has signed bogus documents with my forged signature saying that I agreed for her to buy these items on a personal loan of some kind? As ridiculous as it sounds, this is the sort of person she is; I'm receiving benefits and she lied to the benefits office in december and said I was living in a different country to deliberately get them stopped. I sent in all the evidence I needed to prove that I was still living in England and was legally claiming benefits and they were reinstated. She even threatened to use her LPA against me (which I have since revoked). Because of this I feel like she will literally do anything to get this money from me, she has no problems lying or breaking the law when she's able to benefit from it.
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 14 days ago.

Well, it's be up to the judge whether they agree with you and the fact she forged the documents - if the judge agrees, you Mother faces a serious situation in that contempt of court would be a likely finding - which can mean a prison term for her. All you can do is respond to the court proceedings if she issues a small claim and you will be given chance to prepare a statement to set out these issues in due course.

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Another thing is, I plan to leave the country for at least 12 months fairly soon. What will happen if I ignore the threats that my mother has made, and whilst I am gone she sues me? Any documents sent by the court will not be received by me, because I won't even be living at the address that I assume my mother will give them. And if this happens, and the judge thinks I should pay (which would be ridiculous whether I'm even in the courtroom or not), how will I know, and will I get in trouble when I come back?
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 13 days ago.

You may end up with a CCJ without your knowledge if you leave and cannot reply to the court documents. Your Mother can then enforce the CCJ for up to 6 years. You could apply to set it aside though - which requires an application on form N244. You can find out if you have a CCJ via the following site : http://www.trustonline.org