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14 October 2020
Today the Royal Courts of Justice sat a case that was led by Just, the enforcement market integrator to establish if virtual enforcement visits could be implemented without the need for a physical attendance to the debtor’s home.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Just developed a virtual enforcement solution in response to the changing realities of the debt enforcement landscape. Just strongly believed that the debt enforcement process needed to reflect the new realities facing society, as COVID-19 led to debtors becoming more financially vulnerable and the physical and mental health risks of a physical visit was greatly heightened – to the extent that the Government banned physical visits from March until the late August 2020.
The pioneering solution – the first of its kind – allows the enforcement stage one of the process to take place over a video call, allowing enforcement agents to secure goods against payment plans without having to attend a debtor’s property and charge additional fees. This solution could reduce the costs of enforcement by up to £700 and eliminate the need for physical visits on certain cases.
In July the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) confirmed that there was nothing in legislation to prohibit virtual enforcement visits and that there was nothing within the proposal that caused them sufficient concern to justify taking any steps to prevent Just from moving forward. The MoJ did raise a point that a Court might consider this differently if asked.
Just, being proactive brought a case before the Court prior to its implementation. They asked the Court to consider the proposal and then notified all major stakeholders that a case would be heard. While a number of enforcement organisations have announced they are looking at their own virtual solutions, others have decided to challenge the case.
These organisations were represented in the initial hearing by a QC Barrister and have asked the Court to prevent virtual enforcement visits without a physical attendance and the associated charges being applied. All other stakeholders responded to the Court did not oppose the solution. The hearing was held today at the Royal Courts of Justice, virtually on the 13th and will be adjourned until a later date which is still to be confirmed.
Jamie Waller, Founder and Chairman of Just, commented:
“Just created this solution because it was the right thing to do. It saves the debtor hundreds of pounds and returns more of the principal amount to the creditors.
“We presented to the Court our views and are now waiting for the few people that contest that this is a good idea to finish giving theirs. We are hopeful that common sense prevails.”