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Proposal for reform: Increasing selected court fees and Help with Fees income thresholds by inflation 17.5.2021

The CCUA has only recently responded to the Ministry’s previous consultation paper whereupon it was suggested that the discounted electronic issue fees should be aligned with the higher paper fees. Despite almost universal opposition to those proposals, they are now being implemented as of 18th May 2021. It therefore appears that there is very little value in responding to the Ministry’s consultations, as the responses are effectively ignored.

Nonetheless, the Association will continue to engage constructively. However, many of the issues which we raised in the previous consultation response remain relevant to this further consultation and will therefore be repeated below. As we previously set out, the current fee structure is deeply flawed and damages...

See the original consultation here.

Download our full response below.

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Fee Alignment Proposals - CCUA Reply to MOJ Response 19.3.2021

We write further to the Association’s response to the recent consultation by the Ministry on the proposals to “align” court fees.

As the Ministry is aware, the CCUA strenuously opposed the proposals and called for a full review of the current fee structure, which is extremely damaging to the interests of justice and not fit for purpose. It is unfair to court users whether Claimant or Defendant. Where possible, we shall endeavour not to repeat the same points here. We have already set them out quite clearly in our consultation response.

Quite simply, we are extremely disappointed with the Ministry’s response to the consultation responses, dated 8th March 2021.

The heading “Background” ignores the points made by the Association and...

Read the Government response we are referring to here.

Download our full 3-paged reply below.

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Debt Relief Orders - Consultation on changes to the monetary eligibility criteria - 26.2.21

The CCUA has always been supportive of the concept of Debt Relief Orders. However, based on the reasoning given in the consultation paper, the Association is not convinced that these changes are necessary.

The “need for reform” section of the paper seems contradictory and confused. It commences with a one paragraph blanket statement that bankruptcy is a disproportionate solution for many individuals. That is true, but surely this was addressed by the introduction of the Debt Relief Order in 2009 and the revision of the financial thresholds in 2015? The changes…

Read the Consultation in full here.

Download our full consultation response below.

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Fee Alignment Response - 21.12.20

Length of time for reply
Before addressing the proposals themselves, we wish to query why there has been such a short period for response, especially given that it concludes in the midst of a holiday period when many potential will not be working? We have been responding to consultations for many years. It is recalled that some years ago there was a consultation on how consultations would be conducted in the future, during which it was proposed that there should generally be 13 weeks period for response, only to be shortened in urgent or otherwise exceptional circumstances. This consultation is less than 6 weeks long, with additional elements added part way through with less than 3 weeks remaining for response. There is no explanation regarding the urgency, nor the apparently hurried and piecemeal way it has been presented, nor why it terminates in the middle of a holiday period. Why has this been necessary?

It appears deeply troubling that such proposals would be presented in this manner, giving a far reduced opportunity for consideration and response.

Read the Consultation in full here.

For maximum impact, the committee would urge as many individual members as possible to respond to the consultation in your own names here before the deadline on 30th December. There are only 6 questions to answer. If you agree, we would request that you state your support for the Association’s response and particularly the call for a full fee review.

Download our consultation response below.

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Civil Justice Council's preliminary survey on Pre Action Protocols - 18.12.20

Please find below the Policy & Reform Committee’s response to the Civil Justice Council’s preliminary survey into pre-action protocols.

The survey was conducted by “Surveymonkey”, so each answer was entered individually online.

Download our submission and a copy of the questions below.

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CCUA Virtual Enforcement Visits Response - 18.09.20

The Civil Court Users Association expresses its gratitude to Just Digital Marketplace Limited (“Just”) for serving notice of their Part 8 Application to the High Court, in which they request confirmation from the Court that they are not prevented from undertaking “virtual” enforcement visits and that Controlled Goods Agreements may be entered into during a “virtual” visit.

It is recognised that this is a sensitive issue in that there are other CCUA members who are also directly involved in High Court Enforcement who may have alternative views. However, this is clearly an issue which is of considerable interest to a wide range of CCUA members and having accepted notice of the Application on behalf of its membership, it is clear that the Association has a duty to make the membership aware and to make enquiries regarding their views. We have therefore communicated the issue to the entire membership and requested their feedback.

It is noted that the Association is not listed amongst the “interested parties” and “potentially interested parties” who have been invited to make submissions directly to the court in the Order dated 25th August 2020. We have therefore decided to send this letter to Just, along with the 3 interested parties to the Application, namely the High Court Enforcement Officers Association, the Civil Enforcement Association and the Ministry of Justice. We hope that all 4 parties will find the following of assistance and we confirm that we have no objection to any of them including this letter, or the contents therein, in their submissions to the court.

Read the full 4 paged CCUA members’ response to the idea of “virtual” enforcement visits below.

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Joint Insolvency Committee Consultation Response July 2020

The CCUA welcomes the sensible proposals laid out in the original consultation which you can read in full here

Download our consultation response below.

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Acland-Hood Court Reform Response 3.3.2020

Susan Acland-Hood, Chief Executive at HMCTS responds in writing to the CCUA Court Reform Programme Communication sent early February 2020.

Download the full 4 paged letter below.

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Disappointing News on the Breathing Space and Statutory Repayment Plans 19.2.2020

The Civil Court Users Association represents many members who act for creditors who already provide breathing space to debtors and look to work with debtors to agree affordable ways to repay their debts. The Association endorses the concepts of Breathing Space and Repayment Plans in supporting debtors to work with their creditors.

However, the Association is very disappointed to note that the new Government has confirmed its commitment to introduce the currently flawed proposals for Breathing Space and Statutory Repayment Plans. The announcement can be seen here

The proposals as previously drafted gave rise to a wide range of concerns, as addressed by the CCUA in our response to the consultation.

It is suggested once again that these proposals should be reconsidered or amended. If not, then it is vitally important that the draft legislation should be made publicly available as early as possible, so that businesses can see the detail and have as much time as possible to tackle the considerable challenges that this will inevitably present. Rob Thompson
Vice Chair, Civil Court Users Association

Review our concerns raised in the original consultation below.

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Communication Letter to HMCTS 7.2.2020

We are writing to express our concern regarding the progress and direction of the court reform programme.

The Civil Court Users Association has always recognised the incredible opportunity which the current reform programme potentially provides. We fully support the stated ideal of creating a court system suitable for 2050. It is for these reasons that we were originally keen to engage with Lord Briggs’ Civil Structure Review as well as continuing to be willing and able to assist and support the development of the reform project itself.

There is no doubt that the programme has already seen some positive changes. However, we are increasingly concerned that these are…

Download the full letter below.

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Corporate Transparency and Register Reform Response 5.8.19

The CCUA welcomes these reforms as it believes that an increase in transparency and oversight in relation to company registration will help to combat financial crime. The proposals are broadly reasonable and proportionate and we consider that they are a positive development. Read all the answers we provided in this document.

See the original consultation here

Download our consultation response below.

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Fixed Recoverable Costs: Consultation Response 6.6.19

The Association feels that fixed costs are generally appropriate and well-suited for debt recovery actions, i.e. actions which are generally uncomplicated. However, it is obviously important that they should be adequate so as…

See the original consultation here

Download our consultation response below.

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CPRC Rule 12.3 Entry of Default Judgment Response 31.5.19

The CCUA welcomes this consultation as it believes that the rule should be changed to provide clarity for court users. Our membership reports experiences of arguments with court staff about the interpretation of the current rule. Clearly this is not a good use of time and resource, and therefore it is a positive development that the rule be clarified.

Download our consultation response below.

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Enforcement of Possession Orders and Alignment of Procedures in the County Court and High Court; Consultation Response 2.5.19

The CCUA agrees with the CPRC that the current civil procedure rules for enforcement of possession orders are unsatisfactory. The CCUA has long argued for a harmonisation, or unification, of enforcement processes in the County and High Courts. Harmonisation would improve effectiveness, efficiency and consumer protection. It also raises the possibility of greater choice for claimants as between bailiffs and High Court Enforcement Officers (“HCEO”) across a broader range of claims. The CCUA supports a number of principles, which it hopes will be reflected in the CPRC’s proposals: 1) It would be welcomed if the CPRC would in…

See the original consultation here

Download our consultation response below.

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Bailiff Reform 15.2.19

Response from the CCUA to the 19 questions presented in the review of the 2014 enforcement agent reforms introduced by the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007. The paper follows the historic trend of considering mostly unsubstantiated suggestions of aggressive bailiffs. In doing so, it ignores other real and pressing issues, such as genuine ongoing concerns regarding the lack of effectiveness of court enforcement. County Court bailiff performance is considered by many of our members to be of an unacceptably low standard. Creditors will only continue to use the court if there is a realistic chance of recovering their money.

See the original consultation here

Download our consultation response below.

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Breathing Space Scheme; Consultation Response 29.1.19

Response from the CCUA to the 30 questions presented in the policy proposal. It is noted that the first objective is to provide sufficient protections for individuals to help them enter into a sustainable debt solution, with the second objective being to encourage more individuals to seek debt advice. We do not feel that the paper adequately explains how these objectives are intended to be achieved. No cost benefit analysis appears to have been undertaken. No clear link has been demonstrated to show why giving somebody a breathing space will directly lead to them entering a sustainable debt solution or encourage them to act on the debt advice they receive.

See the original consultation here

Download our consultation response below.

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Courts and Tribunal Estate 29.3.18

The CCUA recognises that the courts must evolve with the times, which includes changes to infrastructure. The paper puts forward some strong arguments for change, especially where there are currently multiple buildings in close proximity. It is also agreed that, particularly in the work of most of our members, most court users never have to physically attend court. The digital age also gives opportunity for more imaginative and efficient ways of resolving matters.

That said, where a court closure means longer distance to travel on those occasions where an attendance is required, it must be recognised that this does constitute deterioration in service. This needs to be justified in every case. It is also imperative that amalgamation of court infrastructure does not result in further pressures on service. The standard of service received by court users is frequently less than acceptable, particularly in view of the large sums paid in court fees. There is obvious concern that amalgamating courts may exacerbate these issues.

See the original consultation here and here.

Download our consultation response below.

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Default CCJs 20.2.18

The CCUA firmly believes that the concerns set out in the paper are misconceived. The recent history regarding changes to the service rules are helpfully set out on page 14 of the consultation paper. The CCUA fully supported those changes when they were introduced and continues to believe that the current rules strike the correct and proportionate balance between the rights, protections and interests of both Claimants/ Judgment Creditors and Defendants/ Judgment Debtors. Taken out of context, the suggested concern that in some cases “…..creditors deliberately use addresses for debtors that they know to be old” is extremely emotive and potentially misleading.

See the original consultation here

Download our consultation response below.

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Disclosure 28.2.18

The following points have been raised by members, which the Association hopes will be of assistance- “For the most part we agree that the proposed changes are sensible as it will limit the disclosure process and save costs (particularly in large complex cases).” “We do definitely agree with the more limited disclosure that the proposed changes would introduce – we do currently seek to limit disclosure where appropriate, but often find that District Judges will not consider the suggestion and will simply fall back on standard disclosure which often unnecessarily builds costs when limited disclosure would have been sufficient. The proposed scheme would therefore, mean that it would be much more likely that there would be more limited disclosure which would reduce costs.”

Download our consultation response below.

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Breathing Space 16.1.18

We believe that the title of the call for evidence is misleading in only referring to “breathing space.” Breathing space is a concept which is already well known and operated within the creditor sector, so at first glance this paper appears to be several years behind the times. There is no mention in the title that the paper also considers statutory debt management plans, despite this being arguably the more radical of the two proposals. It occurs to us that some potential responses may have been lost, as potential respondents may not have realised the full extent and true nature of the proposals.

See the original consultation here

Download our consultation response below.

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