Thursday, 7 June 2012

To me, to you...

So, eleven weeks in and we’re getting into the stride of things with the new Money Claims Centre at Salford which so many North-West legal practitioners forecast would be a new nightmare.

Actually, our very early experiences have been fair to good. But what is happening behind the scenes and how has the long-established black hole in Northampton been keeping up, as parent of this new outpost?  Well, we had some insight yesterday.

One of the claims we prepared for issue last month was dutifully sent to Salford, indicating Yeovil as our preferred court for any defended proceedings.

Apparently it is becoming a common problem that defendants send their notice of intention to defend to the claimant’s preferred court when in fact they should send it to Salford which deals with all steps up to the filing of a detailed defence.

The time had come for us to enter judgment in default if no acknowledgement of service had been filed and as so often we rang to check the position with the court.  Here’s how it goes...

Salford can tell us that on 23 May 2012 the defendant filed an acknowledgement of service but sent it to the wrong court.  “The system” tells the operator that it was then sent to Northampton but so far nothing has been received.

Northampton told us subsequently that if they receive anything that doesn’t belong to them then they simply send it back to the person who sent it.  They were able to tell us, though, that somebody at Yeovil had sent the acknowledgement to Northampton.

The person at Yeovil when spoken to informed that she had telephoned Northampton who were currently seven to eight days behind but any documents Yeovil had sent to Northampton would be returned to Yeovil.

Helpfully, our local representative has said that when the documents are returned to them by Northampton, they will fax a copy to us...  before they forward them to Salford!

We don’t see what goes in the pack to the defendant.  Obviously it is not clear enough to ensure that the response is returned to Salford. 

What is amusing is that having arrived at the wrong (local) court, the document is then sent to the wrong “centralized” processing centre.  Yeovil helpfully explained to us that there are “three Northamptons”, being the County Court, the Bulk Centre and Salford (literally!).

Well, it’s looking like another raging success for the MoJ to chalk up (a bit like the Portal).

Exuberant nights out and beer production facilities come to mind, anyone?

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