The Cost of Justice: Can You Afford It?

Finance agreements brokered by the timeshare sales staff on the day of the purchase are a growing concern among many of the elderly who are victims of the Silverpointinvestments” fraud. The majority of these loan agreements were brokered by Silverpoint and Azure on behalf of Barclays Partner Finance, they are also full of questionable practices as witnessed by the story from one of our regular readers.

The story of this couple’s problems is a long and complicated one, but for a rough timeline, it began with their first court case against Silverpoint in 2011. It was at this time they began their complaint to BPF about the validity of the loan agreements. The main point at that time was the “possible illegality” of the contracts, this was after all one of the first cases, a point which has subsequently been proven.

Their second main point about the loan agreements was the manner in which it was brokered, filled with lies from Silverpoint sales and management, plus without any of the checks such as

  • Proof of income
  • Income v Expenditure reports
  • Affordability

One would think these to be the most important checks any loan provider would require especially considering the amounts involved, the average being £20,000, with many “clients” having multiple agreements to cover the “upgrade” lies.

Yet this appears to have been whitewashed from our reader’s claim, BPF have told the FOS that the complaint was about the Silverpoint contract, and the point of how the loan agreement was brokered was not relevant. The FOS has agreed.

Our reader has very reluctantly accepted the paltry offer by BPF for her own case as it is taking a toll on their health, the case of her husband’s loan agreement has yet to be resolved.

If the offer was not accepted, her only other option was to take the case to court, an option which is not cheap by any means.

With a case as complex as our readers, and remember Mrs A has been fighting this herself with some help and advice for all of these years, we concluded that the only legal option would involve the services of Barristers with specialised knowledge in this field. It is also likely the case would need to go before the High Court.

The main factor our reader would have had to consider is the cost, firstly there would be a lawyer involved who would then refer the case to a Barristers Chambers with the necessary experience. The cost of this first stage is really down to the lawyer and law firm, but we know it will not be cheap, usually charged by the hour and per correspondence.

Before we look at the possible costs for the Barrister, there are the Court fees to consider, the official Government website has full details of making a claim, and the procedures and fees involved.

On the website for Compact Law, we found a full list of the fees in one place, from the various Application Fees, Trail fees and finally Enforcement. It is clear from the list, these costs are going to be high. The full list is available in the PDF below.

Court Fees, High Court, County Court and Small Claims Court

Our next port of call was to see if we could find out how much it would cost for the Barrister, this is where we hit a slight problem, we only found one Chambers that showed and explained their fees.

Alexander Chambers specialises in medical cases, but as it is the only reference to fees we could find, we assume that this is probably a good average, obviously the fees are going to be higher the more prestigious the chambers.

They open by explaining their “fees structure

“Barristers fees are dependent on a number of factors, depending on the complexity of the issues, the seniority and experienced of the barrister, the specialism, the number of pages involved, the number of procedural steps that need to be taken, the location of the hearing, the number of days in court or tribunal, whether there is a solicitor involved or whether the case is on a direct access basis, among other things.”.

A very concise paragraph indeed, what they then give us is the hourly rate,

“Our hourly rates start at £150 for the most junior members of Chambers, rising to £500 an hour for more senior members of Chambers in some specialisms. The average fees charged per hour are £200 to £250 plus VAT.”.

As we said before, depending on rank and experience, increases the cost, we could safely say that our reader’s case would require one of the senior specialists in chambers.

Alexander Chambers also explains the costs involved in attending court, the charge for a half-day in court starts around £350 plus VAT, for a full day in court the cost begins at £700. The cost for representation over a five day period is anything from £3,500 to £8,000. Again this is dependent on the location of the hearing, and the nature and complexity of the case.

AIT did find one Chambers which does specialise in Banking & Finance field, 39 Essex Chambers, from their website they certainly look to be very experienced, not just in the UK but also worldwide. Although their website makes no reference to fees, we could safely assume they are not going to be on the cheap end of the scale.

So you can see why our reader has decided to accept a very paltry offer, no compensation and not even an apology from BPF, an offer the FOS has deemed “acceptable”. The industry knows you as ordinary people cannot afford to pay for justice, after all, they can afford the very best Barristers if they need them. But they rely on the lackeys we find at the FCA and FOS to do their dirty work, knowing after years of stress the “consumer” is just going to bow down and accept anything they give.

For our reader the story is not over, she has already begun a campaign and continues to do so, by bombarding all MPs, Select Committees and a whole host of others to ensure that someone eventually listens not just to her story but the thousands of others swindled by timeshare brokered loans.

To end today’s article we would like to remind our readers about being wary of what they may be told in unsolicited calls, messages and emails regarding “claims” of this nature, especially on the proverbial “no win no fee” promise. Someone somewhere has to pay the legal fees for a case to go to court.

Join us tomorrow for another article by Irene, titled Social Media’s Impact on Timeshare, considering the purchase of Twitter by Elon Musk, this article has come at the right time.

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