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Particulars of claim

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  • Particulars of claim

    hi,
    i've been ordered to amend my particulars of claim (copied below) which i've already sent into the court.

    is it possible for me to amend the claim to include the latest 2 points of discrimination / harassment / gdpr breach which occurred in August 2023? i realise i only have 6 months if trying to claim under equality act.
    the government legal department has said it would be an abuse of process if i were to make another claim.

    thanks



    CLAIM NO. x
    IN THE x COUNTY COURT
    BETWEEN
    x (Claimant)
    -and
    DEPARTMENT FOR WORK AND PENSIONS (Defendant)

    _______________________________
    PARTICULARS OF CLAIM
    _______________________________
    1. I am the Claimant in these proceedings, claiming damages from the defendant in respect of their failing to adhere to the Data Protection Act, 1998. The defendant made a telephone call on October 3, 2017 - this call should not have been made pursuant to the Data Protection Act, 1998. This is because numerous requests had already been made for the phone number to be deleted and phone calls to stop.
    A data breach occurred during the phone call, this is where private information (my complaint with DWP, financial and health) was disclosed to my elderly parents. The financial / health elements were not a concern as my parents were already aware, however, the complaint with DWP should not have been divulged to my parents. This is because my parents were aware of my mental health struggles and also aware that DWP exacerbates my mental health - reasons outlined in point 3 below. At the time of the data breach, my parents were unaware that I was pursuing a complaint against DWP, they were under the impression that I would no longer pursue DWP in respect of their previous maladministration. Regardless of this and my reasonings, personal feelings and anger, no information should have been revealed to anyone other than myself.
    2. The Defendant is Department for Work and Pensions.
    3. To provide a brief background for a better understanding, I shall summarise some of my previous experiences with DWP, below:
    3a. I attempted to claim Job Seeker Allowance - this claim was not progressed and various information was ignored by DWP. I attempted to make an appeal against my Job Seeker Allowance claim, however, the appeal was not progressed. Due to what I believe to be various instances of maladministration surrounding this, I was left for a protracted period of time without any form of financial help whatsoever. It is my opinion that the course of action shown by DWP in this instance caused me to suffer with stress and depression.
    3b. I then attempted to claim Employment and Support Allowance. I was then met with further instances of maladministration, consequently again leaving me for protracted periods of time with no financial help whatsoever.
    3c. Even when DWP processed my claim, they required me to complete a medical assessment. The first assessment was not recorded, however following assessments I requested that they be recorded. In each of these assessments, various elements of my medical condition was ignored. Evidence was ignored. The assessments told various elements of inaccurate information, an example of which is that I travel to Ukraine regularly. This is incorrect as I have never been to Ukraine in my life.
    Pertinent information relating to my medical condition along with evidence was ignored by DWP and inaccurate information was relied upon. This caused further protracted periods of time whereby I had zero financial help. (I would have to wait 6 months to apply again, the 6 months would leave me with no financial help.
    Admittedly, DWP did reverse 2 of their assessment decisions after persistent complaining since they relied upon the oral recording rather than the written report that showed no resemblance to the oral recordings and also backdated payments, however, they did not fully backdate.
    4. The above (3) is a very brief summary of maladministration shown by DWP. This maladministration would leave me for protracted periods of time without any form of financial help, I believe this to be the cause of stress and depression.
    5. In an effort to battle stress and depression, I attempted to forget the troubled times highlighted briefly above whereby I had no financial help whatsoever due to DWP maladministration.
    Phone calls made by DWP to myself did not help me forget such times. Sometimes they would trigger further depression as being reminded of DWP would remind me of previous times when DWP failed to process benefit claims and therefore remind me of previous times which would trigger further depression and anger.
    6. Each time DWP contacted me by phone, I requested they remove my phone number and stop contacting me. Despite being told that my number would be removed and phone calls stopped, the phone calls continued. In light of this, I then proceeded to write letters (ignored) and send email (responded to by DWP)
    7. I sent DWP repeated correspondence requesting that that remove my number and stop contacting me by phone, I relied on Data Protection Act for my request. DWP said they would do this, however the phone calls continued.
    8. I then made further requests to DWP to stop contacting me by phone. I offered DWP a letter from my GP citing medical reasons in support of my request to not have phone calls, I also requested a reasonable adjustment under the Equality Act. DWP stated that there was no need for a GP letter and that my reasonable adjustment request was in place. Indeed, internal notes show words to the effect of "No telephone contact, reasonable adjustment in place". Despite this, the phone calls continued.
    9. A further request was made under the Protection from Harassment Act in an effort for DWP to stop their phone calls. Despite DWP confirming that they would do so, the phone calls continued.
    10. The phone call during October 2017 should not have been made. This is because at this point, numerous requests to stop phone calls had already been made. Such requests also relied on legislations outlined above.

    11. The phone call during October 2017 I also consider to be malicious and deliberately made. The phone call was made by someone working within Complaints Resolution Team Tier 2, Chief Executive complaints department.
    I consider this phone call to be malicious and deliberately made because 2 months previous to this I had contact with the department and I consider that I was treated and spoken to in a derogatory and dismissive manner. No consideration was shown in respect of my mental health and my desire to not want phone calls. I was also called a liar.
    I then proved DWP accusation that I am a liar was false and sent in a complaint (I believe that I requested DWP to listen to the phone call).
    Given the fact that at this point I had already gone through strenuous efforts to stop phone calls, I consider this phone call to be deliberately made and malicious in its intent, I believe that this was done because I had complained about being called a liar.
    The person who called me a liar was a colleague and worked within the same department as the person who made the phone call to me.
    12. The phone call during October 2017 was also a data breach. This is because despite security questions being asked and all answers provided were wrong, the call handler dismissed all the wrong answers and proceeded to inform my elderly father about my DWP complaint, this contained private and personal information I did not want my elderly parents to know this information as it would and did cause them to worry.
    13. Upon making a complaint to DWP in relation to the above, DWP paid me a consolatory payment of £25. This consolatory payment I believe reflected 3 elements of my complaint, these are: Being incorrectly called a liar by DWP, receiving another unwanted phone call from DWP, and a data breach whereby information was told to my father.
    14. Within their consolatory payment, DWP recognised that they should not have made the phone call and they also recognise that a data breach had occurred.
    15. Upon reviewing DWP internal staff notes, it transpired that despite DWP apologising and making a consolatory payment in respect of the data breach, their own internal staff notes signified that no data breach occurred.
    16. I decided to pursue this complaint further and was met with what I believe to be various instances of further maladministration shown by DWP in an effort to not investigate my complaint surrounding the data breach. An example of such instances provided below:
    16a. DWP taking a long time to respond to my concerns to which I chased up repeatedly.
    16b. DWP stating that they can not investigate my complaint since they can not accept a copy of my telephone recording for security purposes. - Upon me pursuing this, DWP changed their decision and said they could accept a copy of the recording, however they then relied on a different excuse to not investigate, as outlined below.
    16c. DWP then stated that their trade union does not give permission for the telephone recording to be listened to. Upon my contact with the trade union to enquire why they assert this and numerous phone calls resulting in hours on the phone, it transpired that the trade union did not tell DWP this. Upon me pursuing this matter with DWP, they then relied on a different excuse to not investigate, as outlined below.
    16d. DWP new excuse to not investigate the data breach stated they can not accept a copy of the telephone recording as the person I spoke with does not give me permission to send in a copy of the telephone recording. Permission was not needed.
    17. Had a data breach not occurred as per DWP assertion, then it is my opinion that they would have been happy to receive a copy of the phone recording so they could investigate it.
    Furthermore, DWP would not have attempted to rely on various different excuses in an effort to not investigate. (I say excuses, however it was also inaccurate information provided by DWP, inaccurate information as outlined above).
    Additionally, the person responsible for the phone call and data breach would have been ameniable to me sending the phone recording.
    18. Originally, as per my N1 claim form I had attempted to pursue a claim under Data Protection Act in respect of the unwanted phone call made in October 2017 (however I mistakingly used GDPR as the legislation, this has now been ammended).
    I also attempted to claim under the Equality Act in respect of discrimination shown as DWP ignored my reasonable adjustment requests to not have phone calls.
    I also attempted to claim under Protection from Harassment Act as DWP continued to make repeated phone calls after I notified them then I would consider any further phone calls to be harassment.

    Unfortunately for me, the defendant applied for summary judgement and my claims under the Equality Act and Protection from Harassment Act were struck out because of the statute of limitations.

    I do not understand why the Protection from Harassment claim was struck out, this is because the statute of limitations under Protection from Harassment Act is 6 years and I submitted the claim in time. Within the summary judgement hearing it was discussed that I had received numerous phone calls.

    I do not understand why the Equality Act claim was struck out. This is because whilst the October 2017 call is outside of the legislation to bring a claim, the fact that phone calls continued after October 2017 with the most recent 2 phone calls being made in August 2023 would in my opinion give rise to Section 118 of the Equality Act. I interpret this to be that discrimination shown over a period of time can be encompassed into a claim. The legislation guidance states: "conduct extending over a period is to be treated as done at the end of the period"
    Given the fact that I had received 2 phone calls in August 2023, both phone calls were made in order to discuss my complaint about not wanting phone calls, then my claim was made within the timeframe of statute of limitations and previous instances of discrimination could be encompassed into the claim - This was my belief, however, the claim was struck out.
    Regardless of the above, I have attempted to appeal against the summary judgement.
    However, as for now, until I receive an outcome from my appeal, I am solely relying on the Data Protection Act for this claim in respect of the phone call that should not have been made in addition to the data breach that occured during the phone call.
    19. I would like to draw attention to the amount of times I have had to contact DWP in order for them to remove my numer and stop contacting me by phone. I will include numerous emails within my evidence bundle showing the amount of times I have had to repeatedly request DWP to stop contacting me by phone.
    19a. I would also like to draw attention to the manner in which the defendant has conducted themselves in relation to my requets to not want phone calls. This is to consistently and repeatedly state they will stop contacting me by phone but failing to do so. Also delays in responding to complaints and deleting (supposedly) my phone number upon request.
    The defendant has also treated my concerns about not wanting phone calls in a derisory manner, despite me offering a supporting letter from my GP citing medical reasons as to why receiving phone calls from DWP exacerbate my mental health further, the phone calls continued.
    The defendant attempted to strike out my claim through the "de minimis" principle, this shows that the defendant firmly believes my requests for not wanting phone calls is trivial.
    The defendant has also literally laughed at me, "HA HA HA, he asked us to phone him". This is also incorrect as I did not ask to be contacted by phone - raising a complaint against this inaccurate assertion.
    20. In summary, the phone call should not have been made due to many requests to delete my number and stop phone calls.
    To an average person, receiving an unwanted phone call may be seen to be an annoyance. However, due to my mental health, an unwanted phone call would often trigger further depression, anger and stress. (Please see amount of communication in regards to this, in evidence bundle).
    DWP have informed me previously that if I want to assert my rights under any data protection legislation then I should take them to court. This was in relation to ICE DSAR.
    Based on DWP derisory attitude in informing me I would have to proceed to court in order to assert my rights under data protection legislation, I then proceeded to court and only then did they send me the information requested. Similarly, due to the repeated maladministration and incompetence shown by DWP in failing to stop phone calls, it is my opinion that DWP have essentially forced me to take legal action, afterall, DWP already told me I would have to go to court to assert my rights under data protection legislation.
    In regards to the data breach, this was a misuse of private information in addition to a breach of confidence.
    21. Due to the Defendantís actions, I have suffered damage, distress, discomfort, further triggers of depression. It can be seen in the evidence bundle the amount of times I had requested no phone calls in addition to me being proactive in trying to get my number removed and ensuring DWP does not obtain the number.
    I seek damages from the defendant in respect of the above in addition to any other possible relief the court may choose to provide, for example an order that the defendant should cease contacting me via phone.
    I believe that the facts stated in this Particulars of Claim are true. I understand that proceedings for contempt of court may be brought against anyone who makes, or causes tobe made, a false statement in a document verified by a statement of truth without an honest belief in its truth.
    Signed:
    x
    To the Court Manager and to the Defendant
    Tags: None

  • #2
    Since starting the claim, the DWP / Government Legal Department applied for summary judgement.

    Claim under protection from harassment act struck out - due to statute of limitations. The call was made on October 3 2017 and claim issued in court on October 1 2023, so i do not understand why this had been struck out.
    Claim under the Equality act struck out - due to statute of limitations. However, my understanding is the latest point of discrimination should be when the statute of limitations runs from.

    So far, the defendant has successfully struck out the above 2 elements and I now have to pay their costs, around £3,500.00

    The costs are also increasing because the defendant has now applied to the court to strike out all of my claim on the basis I did not serve the amended claim form in time. I did serve in time, but the court rejected it with reason it needed to be in red ink?

    Any help appreaciated, thanks

    Comment


    • #3
      My appeal - statement of case.
      I feel as if I am going to lose just for trying to stand up for myself and attempt to help others being blatantly discriminated & harassed.. Probably going to end up owing £1000s simply because DWP can not stop contacting me by phone despite supporting medical letter that they should do so. I already owe around £5,000 in costs Appreciate any help, thanks


      Statement of case:

      The defendant has previously applied for summary judgement and has successfully struck out 2 out of 3 areas of my claim in addition to claiming costs. I wish to appeal against the summary judgement and be allowed to proceed with my claim of discrimination under the Equality Act in addition to a harassment claim pursuant to the Protection from Harassment Act. I also wish to appeal against the costs order. My reasonings are as follows:
      1. Striking out Equality Act claim due to statute of limitations. Whilst I agree that to bring a claim of discrimination several years after the event took place would be outside the limitation period of 6 months, Section 118 of the legislation I interpret that the call made in 2017 and all subsequent calls made in 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 would be encompassed. This is because the discrimination had been ongoing for a period of time. Each time DWP would state they would delete my phone number and that the calls would stop, however they would fail to do so and the calls continued. Calls were even made after I had offered a supporting letter from my GP stating such contact exacerbates my mental health.
      The latest phone calls were made in August 2023, two phone calls in a week in order to discuss my concerns about not wanting phone calls. However, this is not the first time DWP have called me via phone in order to discuss my concern or complaint about continuing phone calls that should not have been made.
      Essentially, DWP have for several years in my opinion discriminated against me and disregarded medical advice detailing why their contact exacerbates my mental health.
      Over the course of several years, I have repeatedly requested DWP to delete my number and to stop contacting me, even remding them that there is a reasonable adjustment in place for no phone contact.
      Due to the action shown by DWP over several years and their continuous disregard of my mental health situation - even claiming it is "trivial" or literally typing "HAHAHA" in response to my complaints of continuous phone calls, it is my opinion that DWP have discriminated against me over a period of several years. Pursuant to Section 118 of The Equality Act, the phone call made in October 2017 should be encompassed into my ongoing claim of discrimination shown by the defendant and it would be just and equitable to do so given the egregious manner in which the defendant has consistently failed to adhere to requests made under the Equality Act, despite the defendant stating that they would.
      https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga...s/division/3/9
      The relevant wording quoted under this legislation is:
      "Where the conduct in respect of which a claim under the Act might arise continues over a period of time, the time limit starts to run at the end of that period. Where it consists of a failure to do something, the time limit starts to run when the person decides not to do the thing in question. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, this is either when the person does something which conflicts with doing the act in question; or at the end of the time when it would have been reasonable for them to do the thing."
      Although I submitted a poorly worded claim form rather hastily, prior to this I had notified the defendant

      2. Striking out the Protection from Harassment claim:
      In relation to striking out my claim uner the Protection From Harassment Act, (statute of limitations). I believe this to be incorrect. https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga...9970040_en.pdf Legislation states that this is 6 years. The claim was submitted on the last day prior to limitation period.
      It was also discussed that this is only a singular phone call, however, also discussed was that I had received continuous phone calls over several years.
      In 2015??????? due to repeated unwanted phone calls which were against the Data Protection Act and Equality Act, I notified DWP that any further phone calls would be perceived to be harassment, I further notified DWP that I may take legal action in respect of the harassment they are conducting. Despite this, DWP continued with their phone calls.

      3. Costs order
      Prior to submitting this claim, I had notified the defendant (via complaints correspondence), in addition to the defendants legal team (DWP legal) as well as the Government Legal Department that it was my intention to proceed with court action unless they would provide an investigation and an outcome in regards to my complaint (the current court claim).
      All 3 departments ignored the above.
      Furthermore, all 3 departments outlined above were sent a preliminary copy of an N1 court claim - I believe this to be the exact same claim I submitted to the court. It should be noted that the defendant and both their legal teams failed to provide any response to my letter before action and did not respond to a copy of the N1 claim form.
      Had a response been provided, it would be highly likely that I would now have a costs order against me. This is because I would have had a better understanding of the defendants "confusion" in the claim and would have amended the claim form accordingly.

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi,

        I'm afraid I am struggling to understand all of this but on the face of it, it seems to me that you don't quite understand how the civil procedure rules work. For example, when you submit an appeal, you do not submit a statements of case. Appeal rules are governed by Part 52 of the Civil Procedure Rules but typically, unless you have been granted permission at the original hearing you would need to make an application for permission. That would include providing a set of grounds for appeal based limited appeal points that the rules allow.

        Looking at the points you raise about being discriminated against under the Equality Act, you have merely stated a few things but failed to sufficiently tie it back to the protected characteristics for a discrimination claim to arise. Your harassment claim may have a little more legs but it's not been drafted very well and doesn't make sense in places.

        As to your amended claim, it appears the court rejected your amended version because you failed to follow the rules again, so they had a right to do so. I am therefore not surprised that SWP are seeking to strike out the remainder of your claim. If you want to avoid this, it might a sensible option to draft an amended claim in the proper format -that is compliant with the rules and in time for that hearing and seek relief from sanctions.

        If I am being honest, it does sound as if you have a real lack of knowledge and understanding around the laws of harassment and discrimination as well as the civil procedure rules. Many non-represented individuals seem to think you can issue a claim willy nilly and expect everything to be ok but that's not true as you are now finding out. You are a seeking a legal remedy from a court of law and there are rules on how to bring a claim and everyone is expected to comply with those same rules, nobody is given special treatment or exemptions.
        If you have a question about the voluntary termination process, please read this guide first, as it should have all the answers you need. Please do not hijack another person's thread as I will not respond to you
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        LEGAL DISCLAIMER
        Please be aware that this is a public forum and is therefore accessible to anyone. The content I post on this forum is not intended to be legal advice nor does it establish any client-lawyer type relationship between you and me. Therefore any use of my content is at your own risk and I cannot be held responsible in any way. It is always recommended that you seek independent legal advice.

        Comment

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