Requesting documents referred to in the claim
Using CPR 31.14
When claims are issued electronically through the Northampton Business Centre, there is no requirement to attach the documents to the claim. This means the vast majority of money claims will be sent without any paperwork to back up the claim, however, you have the right to request the documents mentioned in the particulars of claim.
The pre-action conduct states that the parties should disclose key documents and information prior to issuing a claim. See pre-action conduct. If the claimant and/or their solicitors did not send you a letter of claim or you did not take advantage of the opportunity to ask them to disclose the documents they intended to rely on under the pre-action conduct practice direction, you can still do so under Part 31 of the CPR. See disclosure and inspection for more information.
Part 31 of the CPR deals with disclosure of documents.
31.3 states that you have the right to inspect, i.e. look at, a document that has been disclosed.
If the document has been mentioned in the claim, then you have the right to look at it, unless there is a valid reason not to.
31.6 details what documents must be disclosed. This means you can only request the documents relevant to the case.
31.14 gives you the right to inspect the documents referred to in statements of case.
This means you can request any documents mentioned on the particulars of claim.
31.15 refers to inspection of documents. 31.15(b) states that the claimant must supply you with the documents you requested within 7 days of receiving your CPR 31.14 request.
The letter to request documents under CPR 31.14 should be addressed and sent recorded delivery to the address for correspondence printed on the claim form. With most creditors this will be the address of their solicitors.
Most claims for consumer credit accounts will mention an agreement or contract, which enables you to ask for a copy of your agreement or contract. If the claimant is not the original creditor because the debt has been sold to a debt purchaser, there should be a mention of assignment and you can also request a copy of the notice of assignment.
If your claim is for a credit product regulated under the Consumer Credit Act, in addition to requesting documents mentioned on the particulars of claim, you can also request a copy of your credit agreement under sections 77/79 of the CCA. This request should be sent separately to the claimant themselves rather than their solicitors.ReferenceSee CCA requests.
You have the right to request a copy of your agreement as long as:
- You haven’t sent another request for the same account in the last 30 days;
- The creditor has not obtained judgment against you;
- There is a balance outstanding on the account.
If the claimant or their solicitors fail to respond to a request sent under CPR 31.14 within 7 days as stated, they need to be reminded of their obligation to comply, you can do this by email if there is one available and/or over the phone. Even if the solicitors don’t accept service by email, you are not serving documents, just sending a polite reminder.
If they refuse to comply with your request for documents and/or agree to an extension, you have the option to either apply to the court for an order to force disclosure (see applications) or submit a defence based around lack of documents supplied (see defences).
In many cases the claimant will not comply with your request for documents. This is simply because they haven’t got them. If the claimant is a debt purchaser, they are likely to have bought your account along with many others without any paperwork and would be reliant on the original creditor to supply them with the documents.
An example CPR 31.14 request letter can be found below.