Claim Number: *******
In the XXXXXXX County Court
XXXXXXXX BANK PLC
APPLICATION FOR COSTS
PART C STATEMENT
1. I, the Claimant, make this statement in support of my application for an order of costs to be made in my favour and against the defendant in the above claim.
2. Notwithstanding that this claim is allocated to the small claims track, I apply for an order of costs under CPR 27.14(2)(d), upon the basis that the defendant has behaved unreasonably. The specific allegations of unreasonable conduct are set out in this statement.
The Defendant’s conduct in the present case
3. Prior to the commencement of this litigation, my initial correspondences to the bank were met with outright refusals to discuss this matter on any meaningful level. All attempts to initiate dialogue, narrow the issues or otherwise reach an amicable resolution were either ignored completely, or rebutted with pre-formulated template letters, with no regard for the pre-action behaviours set down by the Civil Procedure Rules.
4. Upon receipt of the claim form, the Defendant chose to file an acknowledgement of service indicating an intention to defend the claim in its entirety.
5. The Defendant breached the deadline for filing its defence, which was 16th February. Although I was then entitled to file for Judgement in Default, I did not consider this course of action to be beneficial to my interests or indeed those of the court. The Defendant has routinely applied to set-aside such judgements in many similar cases and therefore, I considered that applying for judgement would lead to further delays and would ultimately be a waste of time and expense.
6. Instead a letter was sent to the defendant’s solicitor dated 17th February, by fax on the same date and also with a copy by first class post. This letter was followed up with a telephone call to the Defendant’s solicitor on 23rd February. The response was that they could not say when or indeed if a defence would be filed, as the solicitor was awaiting their client’s instruction. The member of staff also refused to retrieve the case file and further refused to discuss the claim.
7. Another letter was sent to the defendant’s solicitor by fax and post on 25th February, which gave a final deadline to file a defence, after which I would file for judgement in default. This letter was again followed up with a telephone call, and again the response was that they could not discuss my claim because they were awaiting their client’s instruction.
8. The defendant filed its defence on **/**/**. I believe that this defence is a pre-formulated template, and is used without modification or adjustment in each and every claim of this nature. It does not comply with CPR part 16.5 in that it does not respond to each allegation contained within the particulars of claim. It is submitted that this template defence is a flagrant abuse of court process and an insult to the Overriding Objectives.
9. My allocation questionnaire and attachments were filed on**/**/**. A copy of the same was also served to the Defendant’s solicitor by first class post on the same date. In a covering letter it was requested that, as a courtesy, a copy of the Defendant’s allocation questionnaire be sent out likewise. This did not receive a response.
10. The Defendant in its Allocation Questionnaire requested a stay in proceedings indicating an intention to settle the matter. The Court granted a stay in its order dated [date]. Despite its stated intent, Defendant attempted no contact whatsoever during the period of the stay. Further, I contacted the defendant by way of a letter on **/**/**, and then a further letter on **/**/**, in attempt to initiate the dialogue for which the stay was intended. Unfortunately, this correspondence was not afforded the courtesy of a response. Please find copies of these letters attached.
11. This claim was allocated to the small claims track on **/**/**. Directions were given by District Judge XXXXXXXX, who ordered that Witness Statements and evidence were to be submitted by **/**/**. My evidence was filed and served accordingly. The Defendant breached this order, and to date has still not served any documents whatsoever.
12. A credit was made to my account on the day of/two days before/one week before the hearing, **/**/**, by the Defendant, which presumably is intended as settlement of this claim. This payment was unsolicited and no communication or notification of this has been received as to what this payment represents. The payment is seemingly a random figure and does not appear to represent the full amount owed in charges, or to consider the claim for interest or reimbursement of fees.
13. It is submitted that the Defendant has behaved wholly unreasonably in this claim, and has displayed brinksmanship and intransigence both prior to and during litigation which has made any form cooperation or communication completely impossible. The defendant has allowed this claim to be dragged through over X months of stressful and intimidating litigation at considerable expense to my health and well being, only to deposit a random sum of money into my bank account on the day/two days before/one week before the hearing is due to take place.
Defendant’s well established and notorious conduct in similar cases
14. There have now been well over 300 cases of identical nature brought against the Defendant in the last 12 months. The pattern described in paragraphs 3 – 12 above is typical of all of them, and to date the defendant has not defended a single claim at final hearing or trial. A sample list of these claims, including their claim numbers, is attached. Further claim numbers or other such details can be provided upon the courts request.
15. In view of the pattern of hundreds of settled cases, it is a reasonable and entirely logical inference to draw that the Defendant is using court process as a means of intimidation in order to dissuade its customers from pursuing legitimate complaints. It is almost inconceivable that the defendant ever had a genuine intention of contesting this claim, or any other similar claim.
16. Please find attached a copy of an order made by Lincoln County court in at least 6 cases similar to my own, in which Lloyds TSB Bank Plc was also the defendant.
17. The court considered the authority of Hackney London Borough Council –v- Mullen (1997)2 A11ER 906 to be relevant. The full text judgement of this case is attached. If this honourable court also considers the authority relevant, I would respectfully request that the court applies its ‘special knowledge’ of the defendant’s established and notorious conduct in similar cases when considering an order of costs in the present case.
18. It is submitted that the defendant’s conduct in relation to the present case, as well as all other claims of this nature, is flagrantly abusive of the public resource, and further, contrary to almost all of the Overriding Objective’s of the Civil Procedure Rules.
19. The defendant is a multi-national financial institution, to whom the costs associated with pursuing or defending a claim, or multiple claims, through the county courts is insignificant. My costs incurred in pursuing this claim and navigating the procedural obstacles placed by the defendant in the path to obtaining a just remedy have been significant, and represent a substantial proportion of the amount finally recovered as a result of this action. It seems inconceivable that the defendant ever intended to defend this claim at trial, and it is clear from the pattern of settled cases that it intended to settle at the last minute from the very outset. Accordingly, I believe that it is entirely just that it should bare these costs.
20. The Claimant respectfully requests that an order of costs be made in favour of the Claimant in the sum of £***, representing the total cost of pursuing this action to date, and as particularised in the attached schedule.
21.In the alternative, in the event of the non-attendance of the Defendant, the Claimant respectfully requests that an order may be made as per the draft attached, which gives the defendant the opportunity to respond to these allegations in advance of the courts final decision on the issue of costs.
I, the Claimant, believe all facts stated in this statement to be true.
XXXXXXXXXXX, on this [date].