HAMMOND SUDDARDS How do they prove debt?

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Hammond Suddards responded to my SARN as follows: "I can advise you that we hold relevant personal data in our department, Repossession Sales Debt Recovery Department. This data is held by us for the purpose of legal proceedings for recovery of a shortfall on the mortgage debt......in this respect we consider that ay information which we have has legal professional privilege and is exempt from the provisions of the Act".

I have continued to request information, to no avail, as they still maintain they hold nothing. However, today, I have received another letter saying "we have supplied you with all the information we hold and have now prepared court proceedings against you which will be served on you in due course". They maintain they have sufficient information to prove the debt. All I have received from them is a completion statement. Can someone please advise me of the minimum they would need to do so?

Many thanks

-- Amanda Watkin (amandawatkin@hotmail.com), April 30, 2001


Amanda, Go into your local library (reference section)and refer to the index of the D.P.A..I believe it is the Eighth Principle of the Act that covers Subject Access Rights. My advice to anybody is to go into the local reference library and start reading! Ask the library for photo- copies of any relevant parts of the Act and also any exclusions(in a separate section). To the best of my knowledge you are entitled to have all details of the data they hold relating to your case unless they can claim "confidentiality". What you are NOT entitled to know is what opinion they have formed of you from the data and consequently what their intended actions are. I do have other details of the Act in my 'personal archives'and I will look them up when I return from work. At least I will then be able to provide more detail as references.

Also I would write again to the lender asking for a list of documents including the date and subject of each, that they claim are not available to you. Would suggest that you send it Recorded Delivery.

Cheerio for now, Joy.

-- Joy Harker (joytelkomstar@bun.com), May 02, 2001.

Thanks for the above. There have been further developments. Having written again, actually saying that if what they say is true, then they are surely not in possession of all the facts. They responded confirming they had no more information. So I have replied confirming that had SARNed the Britannia and would forward copies of what I received. Which I will do when (and if) they arrive. It seems their remit is simply to chase the money? Is a completion statement sufficient evidence at court?

-- Amanda Watkin (amandawatkin@hotmail.com), June 10, 2001.

If you have asked them to supply specific documents e.g. Mortgage Deeds, MIG Policy etc., and they haven't done so, then just write back with the following : "We note that you interpretation of the Woolf reforms does not include the disclosure of documents, prior to negotiation. Explanation please." That's all you need to write.

If you haven't asked for these documents yet, they are all listed in the repossession section of this site.

Good luck

-- Stephen Pooley (stephen.pooley@ntlworld.com), June 10, 2001.

Hi again,

Just in case you are interested, the following is the actual wording of the Data Protection Act (Schedule 7),in which they claim exemption :

Legal professional privilege 10. Personal data are exempt from the subject information provisions if the data consist of information in respect of which a claim to legal professional privilege or, in Scotland, to confidentiality as between client and professional legal adviser, could be maintained in legal proceedings. If anyone can put this in plain English, it would be helpful.

-- Stephen Pooley (stephen.pooley@ntlworld.com), June 11, 2001.

It's a get-out clause Stephen. Anything to which the principle of lawyer-client priviledge can be applied can be tossed into the pot and theoretically exempted. It is supposed to be used when the information you are requesting relates directly to the case the lawyer is handling (and is most often used where the information you are requesting in some way undermines their client's position.) However, it is my [possibly mistaken] understanding that it does not cover everything the lawyer holds and that the lawyer will have to demonstrate that the release of such data would in some way undermine the legal premise of lawyer-client priviledge. Otherwise all the Lenders would need to do is engage a lawyer, and bingo they are free to withhold everything. I think that it's used too loosely by most lawyers and wouldn't take that as the end of the matter.

-- Too scared to say (iwasduped@yahoo.com), June 11, 2001.

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