The Debt Collection Protocol came into force last October and adds to the suite of protocols setting out how disputing parties should conduct themselves in the period leading up to the issue of court proceedings. To me, what it sets out seems to be common sense. The claimant should explain clearly what they say is owed, by whom, why, from when and show their supporting evidence. The defendant has the right to ask for disclosure before the issue of proceedings. It might be argued that the protocol gives the dishonourable creditor an extra time to delay payment. But, on the other hand, it could be argued that it makes life a bit more difficult for unscrupulous claimants as well.
I certainly welcome the early exchange of information as to each side’s case. It seems such a waste to me that often the first half of a day at a Mediation is spent in each side discovering the other’s full case. During my 24 years as a litigator, I always tried to work on early disclosure so that one could make an early evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of each party’s case and of the evidence to quantum – which in turn would maximise the chance of an earlier negotiated settlement.
As the Debt Collection Protocol has now been in operation for 6 months, I would be interested to learn people’s experience as to how it is operating. Are there any unintended consequences?