As most people who follow my work know, i deal with Consumer Credit matters. Basically i defend people who have been wronged by their bank,credit card company or creditor.
People often badge my work up as “getting people out of paying their debts” but it isnt, it is far from it, setting aside the moral stand point, if a creditor is required to jump through key hoops before he can recover his money, and he fails to do so, then the Law says NO!!! you cant have your CCJ because you’re not compliant with the CCA!!!
However, today it wasnt the creditors failures to comply with the Consumer Credit Act 1974 that did for them, it seems to me it was the good old Mitchell Ruling.
Today, i attended Court for a trial with my Counsel. When i arrived i found the Claimant had abandoned its claim, whilst we were all travelling to Court. I was quite confused by this, as it seemed to me we were on for a good old scrap over the issues ( and there were many issues to try) so i was quite shocked to get notice of discontinuance in the morning.
But rewinding the events of the past few days, it all became clear. On Wednesday evening the opponents contacted me asking for an adjournment of the trial. There was no good reason given, so the request was prima facie refused, on the proviso that 1) If a good reason was presented to us for the adjournment it would be considered, and 2) Technically we couldn’t consent to vacating the trial but if a good reason was given and cost paid we would give consideration to the request.
Of course, no good reason was forthcoming, so no agreement on an adjournment.
I found out this morning, on entering Court to assess the costs, that the opponent had sought to obtain an indication from the Judge if there could be an adjournment and it seems, considering Mitchell, the Judge said NO Way Jose!!
Hence the discontinuance this morning.
Of course, if the Claimant had only told us the reason why they needed to adjourn, they may have actually got their adjournment, rather than having to effectively discharge the debt, and pay my costs.
For my part, i didnt rely on Mitchell to resist the adjournment when speaking with the other side, i used a much better case, Fitzroy Robinson Ltd v Mentmore Towers Ltd  EWHC 1552 (TCC)
In the above case, the Court set down clear guidance on eleventh hour adjournments, see para 9, but it seems that the Mitchell decision was the one that did for the opponent when the Judge considered the application.
Either way, a good result for the client.