On the recent case which we won against the PRA Group (UK) limited, we asked the Court to try a preliminary issue. The issue, which the Court agreed to hear was
1) Had limitation expired before the Claim was issued and:
2) If the answer to 1 was no, then has the creditor complied with s78(1)Consumer Credit Act 1974.
Now the Court can try a preliminary issue, although often most consumers are unaware of this, but the Court can hear a simple point which can avoid the need for a full blown trial.
So we lodged an application to the Court, and the Court agreed to allow the application to be heard.
The issues in the case were quite straight forward, the last payment was over 6 years before the Claim was issued. A default notice was issued a long time later, and even then the default notice was right on the edge of limitation.
Our case was simple, the Creditor had failed to ensure that the Claim was issued inside limitation. The Default notice was simply a procedural step, and one that didnt stop limitation from running, and in any event the Court of Appeal in Swansea City Council v Glass gave some helpful guidance on the need for statutory notices.
And of course, one further point to note was that the contract had a contractual clause which allowed the creditor to terminate and demand immediate payment without notice, so their default notice argument fell on its backside.
The Claimant instructed Philip Mantle, a consumer credit expert and we instructed Tom Brennan (Grace v Blackhorse etc) and having worked with Tom many many times, i was extremely confident of our chances.
The case was funded by a no win no fee agreement, as was Toms fees, we were that confident of the case.
The matter came before the District Judge and the Judge simply couldnt follow the Claimants argument that a creditor could do nothing for 20 years and then serve a notice. That argument was referred to in Glass and it didnt succeed then, and its no surprise that it failed here too.
The Claim was struck out , and costs awarded in the clients favour.
If you have a claim with the PRA group or any other creditor or debt purchaser, then feel free to get in touch, we would be more than happy to help and to try and find a funding solution that fits all circumstances.