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Thread: Taking local council to Small Claims court

  1. #1
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    Default Taking local council to Small Claims court

    Hi, I'm new to this and in need of some help. I have an issue with my local council (Birmingham City) and have had no joy. I will try to keep my post simple but it is a bit of a long tale.
    On Sunday 28th October 2012 I, together with my partner and three children, attended Wyndley leisure centre for a family swim. My son and I entered the male changing area and placed our belongings into the red plastic box provided. This was then handed to the changing room supervisor who gave me a red rubber band with the number 44 on it.

    We then went swimming. After about 15 to 20 minutes an urgent tannoy message was put over the sound system asking the person in possession of the aforementioned band to go to the changing rooms immediately.

    I went straight to the counter where I saw two very worried members of staff including a manager. I was given the box containing my property and told to check it. I found that my keys and wallet were missing! I was then informed that they knew who had taken them and that the police had been called. I got dressed and went out to the car park where I found my vehicle insecure and the ignition ON.

    One of the pool staff remained with my vehicle while I returned to the reception area to cancel my bank cards. By this time my partner had taken the children from the pool. I was then told by the duty manager that a male had gone to the changing room and demanded box number 44. He produced a pink band and was told that this was the wrong coloured band. He continued to demand box44 and despite being seen by 3 pool staff, they handed over the box. He then removed my property before returning the box to the staff.

    The offender was caught by the police and all my property minus my house keys were returned to me. As a result I had to have all the house locks changed and replacement keys cut. This has cost £65 not including such things as travelling to buy and replace the locks etc. I have asked to be recompensed for the cost of the locks at £65 plus the cost of the swim £10.

    I have written to the council who initially passed the matter onto their solicitors. However after initial contact the council and the solicitors have not replied to mt e-mails and now appear to be ignoring me!

    Would this case be suitable to purse through the Small Claims Court rather than appointing a solicitor and taking the council to county court.

  2. #2
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    Sep 2011
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    Default Re: Taking local council to Small Claims court

    Court action should be a last resort. You will need to play a little letter tennis with the Council first, if you think they are giving you the runaround then send a Formal Complaint to the CEO. Have you also though of involving your local Councillor(s) in this.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Taking local council to Small Claims court

    Plodderton is right.

    As they were negligent, it's a good case for the small claims court, but you need to stitch them up slowly - the courts don't like over-hasty claimants. Write to them (NOT by email), clearly setting out the events, your losses, and what you expect them to do.

    Engage in this ping-pong for a while, so it becomes clear that they are being unreasonable. Then send the 'letter before action'.

    Tip: Always write a letter as if a judge who knows nothing will be reading it later.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Taking local council to Small Claims court

    Thanks for the advice and I will start the Letter tennis. The main reason for my post was that I was unsure if the matter would be suitable for the small claims court.

  5. #5
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    May 2011
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    Default Re: Taking local council to Small Claims court

    Quote Originally Posted by daz8097 View Post
    Thanks for the advice and I will start the Letter tennis. The main reason for my post was that I was unsure if the matter would be suitable for the small claims court.
    Pedantically, there is no such thing in the UK as "the small claims court".

    There is only the County Court and a claim of this size would almost certainly be assigned to the small claims track.

    It's not of major importance but it might help your case if you get the jargon correct for your exchange of letters.
    I am not a lawyer, nor do I pretend to be a lawyer.

    For sensible legal advice

    For FREE legal representation, go to the National Probono Centre

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