As a trade association, Lawgistics have always provided advice and support to our members who have found themselves in court. However, a recent court case involving a landlord and tenant has highlighted some issues around who can and cannot undertake “litigation” (court work).
Previous to this case, Baxter v Doble, it was understood that helping in the background to prepare for court was not considered litigation. But, as the firm assisting the landlord in Baxter v Doble found out, helping in the background is litigation, and if the person or firm conducting that litigation is not authorised to do so, they could end up in prison under the Legal Services Act 2007. And, not only that, the client could then lose their case by default.
In the case, Mrs Doble was found to be conducting litigation, but she escaped a prison sentence because the judge ruled that up until that point, it hadn’t been entirely clear as to what level of help amounted to the conduct of litigation. However, the distinction is now clear, and although as a trade association with in-house solicitors, we have always been entitled to conduct litigation, we have never formally gone on court records and so have operated in the background to keep costs down for our members. However, following this case, we felt it was important to make it absolutely clear that we are entitled to help with court cases and to distinguish ourselves from those similar organisations that are not. It is important for us and our clients that we are doing things right.
We have spent 20 years plus building our legal knowledge and experience and we must continue to use that experience to support our motor trade membership.
From 15 May, any member who finds themselves in court will have the option of transferring their case to our new company, Lawgistics Litigation for the Motor Trade CIC. This has been set up as a Community Interest Company, from which we will provide court case management at subsidised rates to Lawgistics members. This new service will be headed up by Nona Bowkis, who as a solicitor, will take on the role of Head of Legal Services.
Members will now confidently enjoy the enhanced benefits of a fully managed court case, mirroring the services of high street solicitors, but without the hefty price tag.
We are very excited about this development as it makes absolutely clear that we are authorised and regulated to conduct litigation and allows us to provide an even more professional service for our motor trade members.
To be clear, the subsidised fees only apply to court cases. All other cases (which make up over 80% of the cases from our members) remain included as part of our membership packages that also include free access to our award-winning HR software, our stationery range, and online warranty systems.
We work really hard to keep our members out of court, but in those circumstances where it cannot be avoided, we can now offer this enhanced service at fantastic fixed rates.