Guest Blog, from Mrs S's lay representative (Mr S)
This was a second hearing. The first was adjourned because there was no time to hear the claim.
We arrived at court to find that there had been a previous hearing at 12.30pm, apparently to read the case. We were due in at 2pm.
We walked into court and sat down. The judge confirmed our names, along with the smug LPC Lady, who had a lever arch file nearly a foot thick. Perhaps they are learning their lesson and bringing transcripts. I was quietly watching her flick through , noticing that she too had the redacted contract, so I thought "Here we go, I'll get her on that."
Before we even said a word, the judge asked the LPC lady in what capacity she was there. She looked a little confused and stated that she was there under instruction from her client. Apparently she can be there in one of two capacities, she obviously chose the wrong one!!
Cue fits of giggling and smirking from us because , thanks to Bargepole's previous court blogs, I knew what was coming.....
The judge then stated that this wasn't allowed under CPR regulations and therefore there was no evidence to be able to be presented and dismissed the claim. She then asked if she could be there in the other capacity. The Judge then said "you can't have two bites of the cherry and I have already dismissed the claim."
She then stated that her capacity has been allowed in other courts. "That maybe so, but not in my Court" said the Judge.
"Now as to costs" said the Judge, and this is the funny bit.....
"Has the defendant incurred any travel costs?" asked the Judge.
Because the case had been previously adjourned due to no time, we asked if we could claim costs for the two days.
The Judge said "yes" so we handed over two tickets, one for £2.80 and one for £5.00.
"This is ParkingEye's Car Park" said the Judge, "How ironic!"
The LPC lady then piped up and said "It wasn't my clients fault that the case had been adjourned, so why are you allowing this?" to which the Judge stated "It wasn't the defendants fault either, and because the claim has been dismissed, costs are allowed and they have been carried over from the previous adjournment so I am allowing it"
We then stated the defendants loss of earnings for the two days and got that as well. I ,as lay-rep was going to ask for my costs but thought better of it; after all the Judge had done us proud and I didn't want to push it, a win is a win.
"Here's your two tickets back" said the Judge, "I hope it wasn't a pay & display car park, otherwise I maybe seeing you again in the near future".
"Not bloody likely" I whispered to him as I took the tickets back.
Then we legged it and left them all to it.
The right of audience is an important concept. Only certain people can speak at court, and this is a privilege maintained by the court so that in the case of wrong-doing, the court can find somebody to punish.
This is explained further in an excellent article by DJ Hill, who also sits at Scarborough.
Unless they are therefore a solicitor or barrister in their own right, there is therefore not automatic right of audience.
In the small claims track, anyone can be a lay representative with rights of audience. However, the party they are representing must be present. As ParkingEye never send anyone to court, this criteria is not satisfied.
How is this applicable?
To the court manager.
ParkingEye v Me, my case reference
ParkingEye have stated they will not be attending court, but will be sending a representative from LPC Law. In 3JD05392 ParkingEye v Mrs S (16/05/2014 Scarborough). DJ Neaves found that the LPC Law representative was not employed by LPC Law, but was a self-employed person paid a fee for attending the hearing. He found they did not have right of audience and the claim was dismissed.
I wish to raise this issue for the current case. The right of audience is an important concept discussed by DJ Hill in this article. http://www.lawgazette.co.uk/57199.article
Furthermore, by not sending a representative ParkingEye prevent myself and the court from questioning them.
The Parking Prankster