Here are two, one from a CEL case and one from a DEAL case, compared side by side
Apart from a few minor differences, the two witness statements signed by Ashley Cohen are almost word for word identical. A more detailed examination reveals they contain nothing whatsoever specific to the particular cases - no dates, registrations, car park locations, or in fact anything whatsoever which can be used to distinguish the case from any other, apart from page 1 which lists the defendant name and claim number, and the last page which contains the date the witness statement was signed.
Further examination of the Prankster's records reveals more of these identical copies.
The Prankster is therefore querying why Ashley Cohen is charging £70 for 'Drafting of Claim/Witness Statement'. The particulars of claim already ask for £50 for solicitor filing fee, which means the £70 is for drafting the witness statement, and this in confirmed in the covering letter
The original claim was for £215 (including court issuing fees). We have also incurred legal costs of an additional £115 for drafting the Witness Statement and general handling of this file.
The £115 is therefore comprised of the £70 for drafting the witness statement and £45 for file handling.
Given the identical nature of a huge number of witness statements The Prankster therefore wonders whether Ashley Cohen did incur £70 each time this identical witness statement was 'drafted'. If he did not, The Prankster wonders whether it is fraud to ask the court for this amount.
If it turns out the £70 was not incurred and an officer from Civil Enforcement or DEAL were to state in court that it were, then this would be perjury. However, as nobody from the claimant's side seem to ever turn up at an actual hearing, The Prankster accepts that perjury may not have occurred.
The Prankster notes that charges such as 'drafting of witness statement', 'general file attendance' and 'preparation for hearing' are simply not applicable in the small claims court and no judge would award these except in cases of unreasonable behaviour.
The Prankster also notes that travel costs, while allowable, have to be incurred. As the claimants do not ever turn up in court, these appear to be totally fictional. In the few cases where they send a solicitor or barrister in their place, the courts generally take the view that local solicitors/barristers are available to all courts and so travel costs would need to be justified.
This therefore appears to be an attempt to bully defendants who have little knowledge of the legal system into settling the case by appearing to escalate costs.
The Prankster wonders when this flagrant abuse of the court system will stop.
It appears that in the ongoing criminal case against Civil Enforcement Limited, both Ashley Cohen and Gary Wayne were named in open court and have had court papers sent to them. The Prankster does not know in what context but it does now appear feasible they are 'controlling minds' of CEL, DEAL, or both.
The Prankster therefore calls on both of them to either admit whether they are foolish enough to pay somebody £70 to draft identical witness statements time after time, or to admit they were lying, and these costs were not actually incurred.
The Parking Prankster