I am fortunate that whenever i have had to lock horns with a bank or creditor of some description (for defective goods for example or for delinquent debts back in my student days) i have been able to litigate those cases and defend myself very competently. I have never lost a personal case against a bank or debt purchaser as i have a good knowledge of the rules of the Court and how to present the case in Court etc.
However there are many people out there who have no legal training, no legal knowledge at all, mainly because theyve never had to worry about being sued. As we have seen from the Banks bail out and the recent recession lives can change overnight, you can go from having a good life with good standard of living, to having nothing but debt collectors letters, threats from solicitors, and Court claims / bailiffs visiting in a short space of time.
If this happens what are the options? Well sadly the CAB isnt equipped to deal with the type of cases that i deal with. Often the issues revolve around complicated issues and complex points of law (although the banks will disagree and claim the points are straight forward) and therefore the CAB doesnt have the resources to deal with Consumer Credit Act (CCA 1974) regulated matters under normal circumstance.
So what are the options, what can you do? you’re being sued by MKDP LLP, Aktiv Kapital, Pra Group UK Limited, Cabot Financial, IDEM, IDR Finance and have little or no funds to pay for a solicitor. It may seem that the end is neigh but that may not be the case.
Despite the Governments best efforts to make CFAs a thing of the past, we can still offer Conditional Fee Agreements (No Win No Fee) to fund Defence cases in Court proceedings where creditors are pursuing delinquent debts, and where the creditors themselves have failed to comply with the various requirements of the CCA 1974
Its important though to note, contrary to what some people are saying on the net, that no win no fee IS NOT Pro Bono. Pro Bono is free representation where the lawyer undertakes work for no fee, no bill is payable etc. CFA or No Win No Fee is exactly what it states on the tin and i have blogged about this before. A CFA will still result in a solicitors bill at the end of the case, anyone who tells you differently is either unaware of the indemnity principle or prepared to work for free, in which case its not a CFA in the first place.
A CFA will always result in a solicitors bill, although that bill is usually recovered from the Claimant if the Claim is won, and if the Claim is lost then no fee is payable to the Defendants solicitor, but fees may be payable to the Claimant if you lose as the Court can order you to pay the opponents costs.
With a CFA there is normally a success fee that is payable by the consumer if they win their case. The success fee is normally a percentage of the solicitors base costs. There is no requirement to charge a success fee however, and in cases where the merits are good then i have been known not to charge a success fee at all.
Its also important to note that disbursements such as Court fees are generally not covered by a CFA so there may be disbursements that need to be covered too. Those should be set out in the CFA clearly and concisely.
Much of my work is done on a CFA basis, each case is considered on its own merits, and the success fee is discussed with the consumer in detail. Each case needs to be fully risk assessed, on some cases its not possible to start off on a CFA for example because the Defence needs amending and the prospects of success in the case hinge on the Defence being amended. However if that is the case, its often a small price to pay to have the Defence amended to give improve the chances of winning the case at trial.
Many of the Consumer Credit cases i have blogged about on this blog have been run on a CFA funding arrangement. I am more than happy to consider any case on a CFA, however it is important that people fully understand what a CFA is, and what it isnt, as there appears to be a lot of misinformation floating around out there.
So if you are in difficulty, dont be frightened to pick up the phone and call a solicitors practice if you feel you need assistance, whats the worst they can say? No we cant help? but at the end of the day if you dont ask you dont get!!!