Friday, 12 September 2014

Has Stephen Duff of Proserve broken the law by conducting litigation?

It has come to the Prankster’s notice that a formal complaint has been lodged with the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority (SRA) against Proserve Enforcement Solutions/Stephen J Duff. It is alleged that Proserve/Mr Duff may have been conducting litigation contrary to the provisions of the Legal Services Act 2007. It is a criminal offence to conduct litigation when not entitled to do so under that act. On summary conviction the penalty is imprisonment for up to six months and a fine of up to £5000. On indictment the term is up to 2 years and an unlimited fine.

As Proserve is known to have issued 700+ claims at the Ipswich Europark alone, the legal profession may well take a dim view of his activities.

The Act defines the “conduct of litigation” in Schedule 2 as, for example, issuing proceedings. Issuing proceedings involves the completion of the claim form, signing the statement of truth at the end of that form and placing your name and address as the party on whom proceedings should be served. Rather like this...

Note that it says that the Claimant or their Solicitor’s address should be inserted. Mr Duff is neither.

Then there is another problem in that is alleged that Mr Duff is not entitled to sign the statement of truth on behalf of a third party. CPR 22 para 3.11 gives examples of who can and cannot sign..

Mr Duff often expresses his signature to have been placed there as "Litigation Friend" but you can only do that if the claimant is a child or a protected person e.g person in hospital or a person who by reason of mental disorder is incapable of managing and administering his own affairs. It may be of course, that Mr Nigel Robson of Ransomes Europark is mentally incapable and therefore Mr Duff has perfect right to do this. However, Mr Robson may have other views.

Where the statement of truth has been improperly signed it provides grounds for having the case struck out. Improperly signing a statement of truth is a contempt of court.

If you have received a claim from Mr Duff, and the foot of page 2 is like the example above, then you may wish to ask Mr Duff on what basis he is conducting litigation and signing the statement of truth.

If you consider that there has been unlawful activity against you, you may wish to complain to the SRA at . You will need to complete their complaint form which can be found at 

Scroll down to “How to report a Solicitor or firm.” 

In your complaint you may wish to say something like
Please see the attached claim form which, has been filed by Proserve Enforcement Solutions and its proprietor, Mr Duff, has signed the statement of truth. Proserve is an agent of the landowner and as such I believe that he is not entitled to sign a statement of truth. Where he has issued proceedings I believe that his conduct is caught by the Legal Services Act as it falls to be the conduct of litigation and which I do not believe he is legally allowed to undertake. Proserve, (nor Mr Duff), does not appear to be a member of any of the regulatory bodies established under the Act. Mr Duff is now issuing revised claim forms signed by someone (apparently) entitled to do so. I would request that you consider taking action against Proserve/Mr Duff, under your common law powers of prosecution, if the SRA is satisfied that he has conducted litigation contrary to the provisions of the Legal Services Act.
Mr Duff is now serving substituted Claim Forms with a statement of truth signed by someone else in the hope that the claim will not get struck out. It remains a fact however that he has signed a statement of truth and which remains on the court record. Mr Duff appears to be covering his back by saying in covering letters “”We do not provide legal representation or advice to ……. “ 

Nice try but when it comes to any hearing remember to mention to the court that Mr Duff issued proceedings and signed the statement of truth when it does not appear that he was entitled to do so under the Legal Services Act and as such the claimant should not be permitted to profit from that conduct. Then sit back and let the Judge ask some rather awkward questions.

Mr Duff may wish to borrow from his local library “The Debt Collection Merry-Go-Round: How to deal with harassment and unfair practice from debt collectors (published Sept 2009)" and have a close look at page 37 which reads
Debt Collectors are not authorised to carry on litigation which as explained above is a "reserved activity." So the debt collection company will have to instruct a person who has the right to conduct litigation which will usually be a Solicitor. What undoubtedly happens is that the debt collection companies prepare court papers for clients but get the client to sign the Statement of Truth. On the claim form the debt collection company will probably put their address. Sometimes, the debt Collection Company will sign the Claim Form as "Litigation Friend". They are wrong on both counts.
The Cambridge County Court advises that Mr Duff’s bailiff certificate is due for renewal next year. If anyone wishes to report that he is potentially acting illegally they should contact the Suffolk Police Authority with the details. Their contact page is at this link:

If Mr Duff is acting illegally then he may want to ask the court to take 700+ other offences into consideration.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

1 comment:

  1. This would only apply if the injured party was classed as an idiot,
    An idiot could be represented by a no professional party.
    So we shall class Proserve as idiots ..!