MIL Collections were in court again today, once again in Manchester. The parking company they had allegedly purchased an alleged debt from was CPMS.
The defendant, Ms AC attended court with her parents, as well as John Wilkie, a Lay Representative from the British Motorists Protection Association. Mr Wilkie has a 14-2 record in court against parking companies.
The defence used was a standard defence which can most likely be used against all MIL claims, and is available on the pepipoo web site provided by HO87.
As is now commonplace, MIL didn't show.
The Judge was, by all accounts, a stickler for the rules. As well as the attendance sheet, he asked Mr Wilkie for his bona fides. In the small claims track any person can act as a lay representative as long as the person they are representing also attends court, and Mr Wilkie provided the judge with a copy of the The Lay Representatives (Rights of Audience) Order 1999, which satisfied him.
The judge pointed out that MIL had written to the court under CPR 27.9 asking for the case to be heard on the papers. Mr Wilkie objected to this, since the defendant hadn't received any such notification.
The judge asked to see the correspondence received, which was handed up, and he agreed this position.
Mr Wilkie handed up a copy of the order made in the previous MIL case heard in Manchester and reported by The Prankster in December. The judge considered it persuasive, and suggested that this may be a course of conduct by MIL. 13 represented cases and losses were mentioned as well as many unrepresented defaults.
As a result the case was struck out pursuant to rule 27.9(2) for non-compliance with rule 27.9(1)(a) and (b)
Costs were ordered under rule 27.14(2)(d) and (g) of £85, to be paid in 14 days with liberty to enforce.
In the meantime, the order of £142 for MIL's last non-attendance hasn't yet been paid, so Ms AC made it clear that she would be sending in bailiffs on day 15, and a BMPA rep may well attend to record the event.
Mr Wilkie now has a 15-2 record in court against parking companies.
It is also worth noting that this was the second hearing - the first was postponed. In the first hearing MIL sent along a local solicitor which their witness statement claims cost them £390. Solicitor costs are not claimable in the small claims track so it is not clear why MIL were pursuing a claim which would have lost them money even had they won. Any defendant in a MIL case should take along a copy of the allowable costs in the small claims track, just in case MIL ask for these costs.
If you ignore MIL, it appears you will get a default judgment against you which will be hard to reverse. If you defend your case, it appears they will not bother to turn up and you will win. The Prankster therefore recommends a robust defence rather than sticking your head in the sand.
MIL are playing the numbers game, first perfected by Civil Enforcement Limited (who incidentally are in court on criminal charges on January 12, Court 5 in Aberdeen Sheriff Court). They hope far more people pay up than defend. It does not matter if they have no case and no real prospect of success - if the defendant does not file a defence, they will win by default.
The Parking Prankster