Further to our recent updates with business changes due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) we are still reviewing and adapting our business on a daily basis to keep up with thechanging environment, ensuring we continue to deliver anuncompromised service to you.
We are still very much business as usual (apart from certain restrictions) and are seeing many payments and new payment arrangements being made and we can still offer our pre legal collections services of letters, calls and emails.
If we issued a claim form for you before restrictions were placed, we can still enter judgment, and instruct the High Court Enforcement Agents for office based collections, if you instruct them now, it also means you will be at the front of the queue when restrictions are lifted.
We are still undertaking traces and responding to queries and disputes and would be grateful if you get the opportunity to look through your workflow and provide us with any instructions that you can.
In these difficult times, it’sreally important to encourage your customers to engage with us. Our team are trained in vulnerability and will do everything they can to ensure your customers are dealt with in a sensitive way.
New pre- judgment letters
We recognise that due to the current climate, it might be a time of financial difficulty for some of your customers and we havedecided to create anoptional additional letter following on from the issue of the claim form at the pre -judgment stage.
NB. We have four months to enter judgment before the life of a claim form expires, for claims that were issued before the restrictions, we can still proceed with judgment.
Thenew pre-judgment letter gives your customer fourteen days to respond and will be a good additional prompt to send prior to the actual entry of judgment and we hope it will encourage your customers to get in touch and make a payment or engage with us.
If there is not a response to the letter we will contact you again via workflow to see if you wish to proceed with judgment.
You will soon be able to instruct us on Debt manager to send these from the drop down selection of instructions available in the “Instruct LRC” function. Until then if you would like us to send one of these letters please just type the instruction into the non standard instruction box.
The charge for the letter will be in line with non-standard letter charges as per your fee scale.
New softer wording on our collection and post Judgment letters
We understand the importance of reviewing our letters to reflect changes to the current crisis, and in response to recent recommendations from our trade body the Credit Services Association (CSA) we have made the decision to soften the wording on our post judgment letters so that we are not threatening enforcement but are setting out the enforcement options and encouraging customers to engage with us, do let us know if you would like to see a copy of it. We are also undertaking a review of our standard collection letters to see if we can soften the wording slightly or add in extra help or signposting for your customers at this difficult time.
Civil Procedure Rules -Changes to the Statement of Truth
If you are involved in litigation procedures, it is likely that you will be asked at some stage to sign a document that includes a statement of truth. These are required on all witness statements and statements of case E.g. particulars of claim, defence, reply and court forms.
The amendments to paragraph 2 of Practice Direction 22 came into force on 6th April 2020.
The statement of truth used to say “I believe that the facts stated in this witness statement are true” It now also says “ I understand that proceedings for contempt of court may be brought against anyone who makes, or causes to be made, a false statement in a document verified by a statement of truth without an honest belief in its truth.”
A failure to sign or knowingly signing a statement of truth which you know contains false evidence can not only negatively impact the success of the dispute but in addition, criminal proceedings may be brought against you for contempt of court which is punishable way of a fine or a maximum penalty of two years in prison.
It is therefore critical that you fully appreciate the contents of the document you are signing and you should ensure that you have read the contents of the document you are signing and are happy that the document is a true reflection of the facts. If you are unsure, please get in touch with us and we can make any necessary amendments that may be required. Please do not assume that because we have drafted the document that it is correct as it is your responsibility to check that the document is correct.
High Court Enforcement Agents
You may also be aware that the Taking Control of Goods and Certification of Enforcement Agents (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/451/made) came into effect from the 25th April 2020 and amend the Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013 (TCG 2013) and the Certification of Enforcement Agents Regulations 2014 (CEA 2014).
The regulations will: –
• Prevent enforcement at residential premises and on highways while, due to the coronavirus pandemic, restrictions that prevent a person from leaving the place in which they live without a reasonable excuse are in place
• Automatically extend, by 12 months, the period for taking control of goods in cases where this period is within one month of expiry, while the restrictions are in place
• Increase the minimum amount of net unpaid rent that must be outstanding before commercial rent arrears recovery (CRAR) may take place to an amount equivalent to 90 days’ rent, while protections from forfeiture for business tenancies are in place under the Coronavirus Act 2020
• Automatically extend, for a period of six months, enforcement agent certificates in cases where these are within three months of expiry, while the restrictions are in place.
Continues to be on hold for the time being.
If you or your teams are still currently working, we would greatly appreciate it if you get time to go through your outstanding instructions on workflow. If the next course of action is to proceed with a Letter before Claim or Claim Form, you can still instruct us to do this, and as soon as current restrictions are lifted we will action your request. As we mentioned above you can still instruct us to instruct the High Court Enforcement Agents if we already have judgment as although they can not currently make visits they are running an office based collection service.
We will endeavour to keep you updated with any significant changes. Please do not hesitate to contact client services with any concerns or questions.
When emailing the office, please use the team email addresses rather than (or as well as) individual ones, just to ensure that your email gets dealt with swiftly if the member of staff you are emailing is not available.