The reality is there are more and more Litigants in Person (LIPs) who can’t afford the on average £250+vat per hour solicitors fees. However the court system is not friendly to the LIP.
I had the unfortunate experience of being taken to court by my neighbour, yet they are encroached on my property. I won but have lost overall due to the court processes and failure to deliver justice. Here are some of my experiences:
i) No instructions were issued out to me, apparently the “defence pack” was missing. This contains crucial information about how to deal with a claim.
ii) They intentionally issued it to arrive on my door at 19th December 2016, the court then gives you a certain amount days to respond, with no allowance for advisor’s shutting down over Christmas. How is that even possible or allowed. Putting one party immediately at a disadvantage with the courts help.
- It has been abundantly clear that the UK justice system is there only for the rich. Not for the general person.
iii) I asked for their case to be thrown out at the start, as their surveyors report meant they were encroached, they knew, but the court declined and allowed it to proceed. Almost 1.5 years later the judge at the main hearing dismissed their claim without even hearing it, and they had accidentally admitted it. Yet they had no penalty for wasting 1.5 years of court time, despite them refusing free mediation, and cheap local council mediation, they got no penalty at all. This english caucasian couple. Yet, me as the victim despite winning am penalised, yet the court allowed it to proceed.
The second judge at the end says, “it’s a neighbour’s case”……..so it plays into his decision, yet he doesn’t appear to have any regard that I am the victim who didn’t bring it to court. It doesn’t seem to have matter to that judge how I’d been threatened for two years and had won, or that the other side admitted to it and the first judge made them withdraw.
In addition to that, the process said, “small track”, based on one expert and one hearing day. That was changed to two experts and two hearing dates, yet nothing got corrected, even where I wrote to the court to have that “track allocation” revised, it was ignored. I was told it would be dealt with at the hearing but that second judge DDJ Duncan did not. (Sitting at the Watford County Court). Had it been another track, my costs would automatically come back.
The UK system is broken for such things to occur.
In my case it was allocated to the small claims track on the basis of one hearing and one expert, that later became two hearings and two experts, yet it still remained in the small track, 1.5 years later with each side having spent £15k each. How is that a small claim? It’s not.
But no one cares it seems about the victim, as it’s not their money.
If courts dislike neighbour cases so much penalise the one who brought it to court, or don’t allow them to progress in the system at the start. e.g. Send them off for mediation only. But where the court allowed it to process and forced me to defend myself, yet now at the end doesnt award me my costs back! The judge didn’t even give me the “court fees, travel, witnesses costs” that I believe you are normally meant to get either. In truth that day he seemed not that bothered and just wanted to finish the case, even at one point saying, “we have to finsh today”.
So the guilty party gets assisted by the poor court processes in this way. Its a farce.
I did appeal, and the appeal Judge HHJ Wilding, was clearly just “shutting it down”. He also had 50+ pages missing of my bundle, material items, and then also 9 pages I never put in or saw. At the point he realised that, he didnt stop just carried on to shut me down, which he did and refused permission to appeal. This means I’ve not even had a fair hearing. It was something else, something I’ve never realised happens before, until to me! During the whole 52 minute hearing he never made eye contact even once with me or my friend. Something odd about that.
I was told by the Watford court I could appeal, but it seems that was wrong, though I am now told there are other possible paths to appeal, including a Judicial Review. But wit “JR” you are at risk of losing and the other side’s costs. The judicial review looks to see if procedural error has occurred, here it has, but does that mean it’ll be corrected or could I find myself before another simliar minded judge. In which case you lose the JR and I cannot risk the costs. So in practice this may mean, I can’t correct these errors, because I don’t have the funds to risk.
So you are completely screwed over, and cannot even access justice, how is that even fair or reasonable.
They also should not allow a judge to change mid-way part. I doubt any of this would have happened if the first one remained. But they don’t care it’s not their money that is lost -£15k costs and of course more to try to appeal. Bit like gambling. And who wants to risk losing their home over this. “neighbour from hell”.