We often wait weeks for reasonably simple matters to be processed by the county court and for straightforward orders to issue. It is very frustrating and it wastes time and money.
When it comes to allocation questionnaires, courts seem regularly to push what are in my humble view more important things to one side in the haste to dish out peremptory orders if the questionnaire is filed even a few hours late.
A recent example...
We have a small claims matter where the questionnaire wasn’t filed on the appointed day. Ironically, the reason was that we took seriously (many don’t) the requirement to check dates of availability of witnesses and awaited a return call from the client.
So the fax went first thing the next morning. We even troubled to ring the court to check that the staff had seen the endorsement that urged them to ensure it went straight up to the District Judge.
We had anticipated of course that the moment there was non-compliance with something so serious as the filing of an allocation questionnaire, the file would hurtle upstairs.
The staff assured us that the letter was received even that, yes, it would be brought to the Judge’s attention straight away.
Two days later, we had an unless order.
Two blank printed questionnaires (we use electronic forms), guidance notes (er, thanks...) large envelope and a stamp ensured that more time and money that the Court Service does not have was completely wasted.