In February 2016 we were instructed to deal with an application made by Restons on behalf of Cabot Financial (UK) Limited. Briefly, the Claimant had failed to comply with a number of Court orders culminating in the Claim being struck out. 6 months later an application for relief from sanctions was made by the Claimant.
The application was without question the worst that has ever landed on my desk, it was poorly drafted, failed to take note of CPR 3.9, failed to address the Denton principles, in short it was doomed to fail even before the ink had dried on the statement of truth.
The application came before the Court and in what can only be described as a last hail mary the Claimant applied for an adjournment, which the Court granted so as to allow the Claimant to try and get its house in order.
The matter returned to the Court today. The Claimant had redrafted the application albeit pretty poorly, a bundle of 250 pages was submitted for the hearing, and fundamentally one simple question that could have resolved the issues remained unanswered, in fact the Claimant refused to answer!!.
The question was a simple one, setting aside the procedural issues, even if the Court set aside the previous order the Claim was in difficulty as the Defendants case was that limitation had expired. The Claimant alleged that there had been certain phantom payments which the Defendant denied. The Defendant produced full bank statements, credit reports and other evidence which showed beyond doubt that the payments werent made. The Claimant however maintained they were.
We asked the Claimant to provide proof of these payments, the question was easy, how were these payments made? We could account for every penny, so if it was bank transfer then give us the details of the account so we could investigate? If paid by bank giro then tell us so we can secure the giro slip and check the signature etc. The Claimant couldnt or wouldnt provide this.
The application came before the Court today, the judge considered the application and rejected it, i am still awaiting the note of the hearing, however the update was very very very damming indeed.
Not only did the Judge dismiss the application but the Claimant was ordered to pay the costs of the application and the previous hearing. The Claimant has not only lost the ability to recover the funds, but also now faces having to pay out more costs than they would have recovered if they had won.
Clearly this sends a message to the Claimant and other debt purchasers that the Court will not be prepared to entertain applications which are seriously delayed and which fail to provide the Court with an explanation for the delay and any grounds for setting aside the previous order.