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Request for driver/hirer details from solicitor
Drofder
post Fri, 10 May 2019 - 14:10
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Looking for a bit of advice.

We have been sent a letter (fairly informal looking) that alleges that our hirer was involved in a "theft", where our hirer took items from the 'claimant' and left without paying. They contacted the police but the police have said it is a civil matter and therefore no crime reference numbers have been given (assuming the police are treating it as an unpaid invoice?).

With data protection being critical, I want to make sure that the correct procedure is being used and that their request for information is done legally.

Does anyone know if there are specific forms, procedures or details required in the process of identifying a driver when using a solicitor or if a simple letter asking for information is enough? Also, the letter has no reference number and is signed off as the company name (not an individual solicitor).

As a note, I have checked the validity of the solictors firm and they are SRA regulated.

Any information is appreciated.
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post Fri, 10 May 2019 - 14:10
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southpaw82
post Sat, 11 May 2019 - 13:18
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QUOTE (henrik777 @ Sat, 11 May 2019 - 13:16) *
Solicitors are not all members of mensa.

I’d imagine very few are but then I’m not a solicitor.


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henrik777
post Sat, 11 May 2019 - 13:54
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QUOTE (Redivi @ Sat, 11 May 2019 - 14:02) *
I thought it was standard procedure that claims are signed in the name of the practice, not the solicitor

I recall the subject came up a few years ago when Civil Enforcement claims were signed ias Sethi Partnership by a solicitor that didn't work there



The thing about what is and is not allowed on the small claims track is that a judge can do pretty much as they please and it's too expensive in minor parking cases to make an application.

But it is clear in the rules.

http://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure...les/part22#22.1

(1) The following documents must be verified by a statement of truth –

(a) a statement of case;


http://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure...2/pd_part22#3.1

Who may sign the statement of truth
3.1 In a statement of case, a response or an application notice, the statement of truth must be signed by:

(2) the legal representative of the party or litigation friend.


3.10 A legal representative who signs a statement of truth must sign in his own name and not that of his firm or employer.






http://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure...pd_part07e#10.1

Signature
10 Any provision of the CPR which requires a document to be signed by any person is satisfied by that person entering their name on an online form.
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southpaw82
post Sat, 11 May 2019 - 14:37
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Realistically, all that will happen is an order for the statement of case to be signed properly. It would take a very miffed judge to dismiss a claim on that basis alone.


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henrik777
post Sat, 11 May 2019 - 14:53
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QUOTE (southpaw82 @ Sat, 11 May 2019 - 15:37) *
Realistically, all that will happen is an order for the statement of case to be signed properly. It would take a very miffed judge to dismiss a claim on that basis alone.


It'd be unlikely they should strike it out just on that basis. I guess the contents would have to contain very controversial stuff to which there would be nobody on the hook for contempt.



Consequences of failure to verify
4.1 If a statement of case is not verified by a statement of truth, the statement of case will remain effective unless it is struck out5, but a party may not rely on the contents of a statement of case as evidence until it has been verified by a statement of truth.

4.2 Any party may apply to the court for an order that unless within such period as the court may specify the statement of case is verified by the service of a statement of truth, the statement of case will be struck out.

4.3 The usual order for the costs of an application referred to in paragraph 4.2 will be that the costs be paid by the party who had failed to verify in any event and forthwith.
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Redivi
post Sat, 11 May 2019 - 19:53
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This thread is beginning to suffer from mission creep
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Churchmouse
post Sun, 12 May 2019 - 11:49
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Yes, this is a data protection issue. The OP is the custodian of personal date belonging to an individual, which has been requested by a third party. The DPA/GDPR effectively says that a data controller may release such information to a third party if it is satisfied that there is a lawful reason for doing so. There is an exception available for "legal proceedings". However, there is no requirement under DPA/GDPR to release such information. Only a court (or legislation) can compel the release of the information. After having taken legal advice (from the Internet!), I don't think the OP is now under any obligation to release the information simply because he/she had implied that he/she would do so if requested by a solicitor, as that decision was taken prior to receiving legal advice.

--Churchmouse
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cp8759
post Sun, 12 May 2019 - 17:30
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Still, if a court order is produced the OP could reasonably be asked to pay the associated costs. If the OP only wants a court order for box ticking / arse covering purposes, that's fair enough, but there's no reason why someone else should have to pick up the bill for that.


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southpaw82
post Sun, 12 May 2019 - 18:03
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QUOTE (cp8759 @ Sun, 12 May 2019 - 18:30) *
Still, if a court order is produced the OP could reasonably be asked to pay the associated costs. If the OP only wants a court order for box ticking / arse covering purposes, that's fair enough, but there's no reason why someone else should have to pick up the bill for that.

The normal course of events (IME) is that the applicant pays and then recovers the cost from the defendant if they’re successful in their eventual claim. However, where a respondent has messed about a court could order them to bear the cost.


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Fredd
post Sun, 12 May 2019 - 18:09
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QUOTE (cp8759 @ Sun, 12 May 2019 - 18:30) *
If the OP only wants a court order for box ticking / arse covering purposes, that's fair enough, but there's no reason why someone else should have to pick up the bill for that.

Right now the OP doesn't have anything other than an unsubstantiated allegation of some unspecified theft, so it's a bit more than a box-ticking exercise to discharge their DPA responsibilities. What does cause a difficulty is the implication that they'd release the information simply on receipt of a a request from a solicitor, which was an unwise offer in the absence of detailed justification backing up the request.


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cp8759
post Sun, 12 May 2019 - 19:23
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QUOTE (southpaw82 @ Sun, 12 May 2019 - 19:03) *
QUOTE (cp8759 @ Sun, 12 May 2019 - 18:30) *
Still, if a court order is produced the OP could reasonably be asked to pay the associated costs. If the OP only wants a court order for box ticking / arse covering purposes, that's fair enough, but there's no reason why someone else should have to pick up the bill for that.

The normal course of events (IME) is that the applicant pays and then recovers the cost from the defendant if they’re successful in their eventual claim. However, where a respondent has messed about a court could order them to bear the cost.

For sure, the point is a claimant in this scenario could say the data controller is being unreasonable if he will only release the data upon the production of a court order. The sensible response, as Fredd implies, would be to go back to the solicitor to ask them to substantiate / particularise the allegation. The data controller (i.e. the OP) then needs to make a judgment as to whether the reasons provide amount justify disclosure of personal data.

This post has been edited by cp8759: Sun, 12 May 2019 - 19:24


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Churchmouse
post Mon, 13 May 2019 - 21:01
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QUOTE (Fredd @ Sun, 12 May 2019 - 19:09) *
QUOTE (cp8759 @ Sun, 12 May 2019 - 18:30) *
If the OP only wants a court order for box ticking / arse covering purposes, that's fair enough, but there's no reason why someone else should have to pick up the bill for that.

Right now the OP doesn't have anything other than an unsubstantiated allegation of some unspecified theft, so it's a bit more than a box-ticking exercise to discharge their DPA responsibilities. What does cause a difficulty is the implication that they'd release the information simply on receipt of a a request from a solicitor, which was an unwise offer in the absence of detailed justification backing up the request.

Possibly, but if it is in the power of the data controller to decide whether the circumstances justify releasing the data, and the data controller ultimately decides that the circumstances do not meet that test, it would be a perverse result for a court to impose costs on the data controller for mistakenly "implying" that they would do something utterly silly like abdicating their responsibility under the DPA/GDPR. Even if such a promise had been made, the party requesting the data could not have had any legitimate expectation that the data controller would release the requested information upon the mere request of a solicitor.

--Churchmouse
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Drofder
post Fri, 17 May 2019 - 09:49
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Thank you for the responses all.

We have spoken with our customer to get his side of the story. According to him, he contacted the police in the first place and the police attempted to resolve the matter as peace keepers but the other party wouldn't agree to the terms offered. His story seems to back up what we suspected and would also make sense to why the police are taking it as a civil matter.

We have given a copy of the solicitors letter to the customer and given him the oppurtunity to contact the solicitor himself. Until we are legally obliged to provide through a court order, I won't. I wasn't trying to be awkward with requesting they have a solicitor contact us, I was simply trying to keep things legal.

Thanks again.
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cp8759
post Sun, 19 May 2019 - 21:08
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QUOTE (Drofder @ Fri, 17 May 2019 - 10:49) *
We have given a copy of the solicitors letter to the customer and given him the oppurtunity to contact the solicitor himself. Until we are legally obliged to provide through a court order, I won't. I wasn't trying to be awkward with requesting they have a solicitor contact us, I was simply trying to keep things legal.

That's fine, but you obviously accept the risk that if a court order is produced, you might have to foot the bill for it.


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No, I am not a lawyer.
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andy_foster
post Mon, 20 May 2019 - 18:44
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It seems that some here are pretty hung up on their interpretation of the OP's suggestion that the claimant go through legal channels, which somehow appears to have equated to "if you get a solicitor to ask on your behalf I will be more than happy to provide the requested information which I am currently unwilling to provide directly". IMHO the most unreasonable and absurd thing the OP could have done would have been exactly that.



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cp8759
post Tue, 21 May 2019 - 18:33
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QUOTE (andy_foster @ Mon, 20 May 2019 - 19:44) *
It seems that some here are pretty hung up on their interpretation of the OP's suggestion that the claimant go through legal channels, which somehow appears to have equated to "if you get a solicitor to ask on your behalf I will be more than happy to provide the requested information which I am currently unwilling to provide directly". IMHO the most unreasonable and absurd thing the OP could have done would have been exactly that.

I think it is equally unreasonable to say "No matter how compelling a case you might have, unless a judge has signed of on it I'm not giving you the information no matter what". The OP should require particularised details of the allegation and then satisfy himself of whether the criteria for releasing the data are met or not.


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I am not on the "motorists's side", nor am I on the "police/CPS/council's" side, I am simply in favour of the rule of law.
No, I am not a lawyer.
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