The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Lender & Court Services is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.
Lender & Court Services
Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
34 | LENDER & COURT SERVICES
Established in 2015, Lender & Court Services offer mediation
and legal assistance to those facing home repossession or
looking to set aside county court judgments. Rather than
representing clients in court, they endeavour to inform the
individuals, so they can navigate the process themselves. They
strive to provide fixed-fee cost-effective alternatives to other
larger firms and focus on finding solutions through mediation
rather than litigation. Managing Director Luke Memory has
over ten years of experience in his specialist field and tells
about changes to civil procedure and
their focus on personal service.
When we founded the company, we focused on assisting people to try to prevent
the repossession of their homes, an area I had been involved in for over ten years.
I am a fully qualified paralegal and fellow of the Institute of Paralegals. We employ
a number of newly qualified law graduates, helping them to engage with the first
step of their legal career. We are able to provide highly beneficial experience for
these graduates, especially those who want to pursue a career in civil litigation.
We do not provide representation in court as we are not a firm of solicitors.
Instead, we assist the litigant, informing them of the necessary procedures and
how to present and organise any documents that they must submit to the local
court. While we can refer our clients to one of our external solicitors, we aim to
provide support to allow the individual to perform the process themselves in order
to keep the costs down. As our profile grew, we began to receive inquiries about
county court judgments and whether we were able to support clients affected
by them. To meet this demand, we established a service designed to help these
people as well.
Helping people navigate the court system
We assist clients to communicate with the County Court Business Centre, submit
court applications and draft consent orders. The court system is weighed down
by a large amount of legal terminology and is often not user-friendly, especially if
the individual concerned does not have experience of the legal process. We help
these individuals through this process, providing them with all the information and
support they require. This can be a complex process where orders and directions
are given by the court that a lay person wouldn’t fully understand.
For individuals experienced with the court system, the process can be very
straightforward, but the process is still incredibly time-consuming. We ensure
that our clients’ details are presented in the correct legal manner, as incorrectly
prepared court forms, witness statements or evidence can cause their application to
AT A GLANCE
LENDER & COURT SERVICES
»Established in 2015
»Based in Altrincham, south
»Services: Legal assistance
for those facing CCJs or
»No. of employees: 7
»No. of clients: 50 to 100 at
any one time
Lender & Court
35LENDER & COURT SERVICES |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
The court systems also struggle with
the sheer volume of the cases that
they must deal with. They are often
understaffed and overworked so our
support is essential, as court employees
do not have the time to provide this
assistance and are not legally trained.
We also deal with those who have
received default judgments, meaning
that they have been given a judgment
due to not responding to a claim form.
In most cases this is due to the court
papers being sent to an old address.
One of the biggest culprits for the
issuing of these claims is parking
enforcement companies who flood the
court systems with such cases. Such
is the scale of the problem that the
government is introducing a new bill,
The Parking Code of Practice Bill, which
is progressing through parliament. We
are pleased that MPs have unanimously
backed the proposals to create a fairer
private parking system.
There are firms of solicitors who deal
with similar issues, but we focus on
a self-help style of service, providing
guidance rather than acting directly for
clients. We are the only firm that offers
this type of service for a fixed fee while
maintaining our high success rate and
strong client feedback.
Our size allows us to personalise
Our modest size allows us to offer a
highly personalised service. We are
always extremely flexible to meet the
needs of everyone we support. Our
ultimate aim is always to achieve the
best result and so we will often spend
more time on those with especially
complex cases. We are also licensed
by the Bar Standards Board, and as
such, we work closely with external
barristers. If a barrister is required, we
present the case to them with all the
preparation completed, to ensure that
the cost remains as low as possible.
Our clients are either unwilling to pay
high fees or cannot afford them and so
we provide a more cost-effective fixed-
fee alternative to law firms that charge
high hourly rates.
We are very accessible and always willing
to chat with people to understand their
specific problems and needs. We pride
ourselves on our openness and we are
always ready to pick up the phone and
talk to our clients and the claimants.
As members of the Civil Mediation
Council our primary role is to act as a
mediator between the two parties and
have found that solicitors are often very
reluctant to play this essential role. As
mediators we always aim to bring the
two parties to a compromise, rather
than having to proceed to court. If
barristers have to be engaged, the cost
will rise so we try our best to avoid this.
Potential changes to the legal
As we are not a firm of solicitors, we
are often prevented from providing
services to clients. The legal advice
sector is changing, however, and I think
this change will only accelerate. While
I may have more experience than a
solicitor, especially in repossession law
and our chosen fields, I have no rights
of audience. A recent review found that
litigants who appear without counsel are
at a grave disadvantage and the solution
to this problem is yet to be found.
In the near future, I would like to
diversify the services that we offer. By
exploring different fields of law that
are procedural, we will be able to help
more people and reduce the cost for
existing and future clients. Beyond
our customers, we are also committed
to continuing our support for law
graduates, helping them to begin their
legal careers. If we are able to add
additional services to our proposition,
incorporating new areas of law, we
are confident that we will be able to
provide invaluable assistance to more
people for a good value fee.
Luke and the team
and we are
to pick up the
talk to our
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review
This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.
In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.
We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.
With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.
And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.
As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.