Soon after returning your defence to MoneyClaimOnline at Northampton, you will get two letters. The first is the Notice of Proposed Allocation and the second is the Directions Questionnaire or DQ. The DQ has to be completed and returned to let give the courts some details as how to handle the case. Though very lengthy it needs only a few elements completed.
There is one key decision you can make at this stage. It is whether you want to have a day in court (oral hearing) or whether you want the judge to make a decision without you having to attend (paper hearing). If you are comfortable with speaking up for yourself, then opt for the oral hearing. If you wont be comfortable, then you can still go for an oral hearing but have someone (a lay rep) speak for you.
If neither choice is suitable then choose the paper hearing, but usually you won't see the parking company's paperwork until it is too late to challenge it
Filling out the form
A1 = Say NO to mediation (they want the whole amount, you want to pay them nothing, so no scope for mediation. This will not go against you). Mediation is run by a commercial company on behalf of the courts and their success is measured by how many cases are kept out of court. They are not interested in the merits of the case, only whether you will pay or not. So say No.
B = fill in all the details, your name, your address, etc. This is the address that all the paperwork will be sent to. If you are moving home within 6 months make sure you have mail redirection in place. You will get a default CCJ if the paperwork doesn't get to you as the Courts see it as your responsibility to give a correct address.
C1 = YES to small claims track – this is the limited costs track for claims up to £10,000 in value
D1 = name of your local County Court – unless you are a Limited company, the case files will be transferred there. They will ask for theirs but protocol dictates it is your court. For example, MIL Collections always asks for Truro and Devere Parking always ask for Bournemouth. You, literally, do not want to go there.
D2 = NO to expert evidence (this relates to medical negligence cases and suchlike)
D3 = 1 witness (that’s you) (or more if you are going to get another person to provide a statement)
D4 = Put down the dates of any pre-booked holidays, NO to interpreter (unless you need one)
You send a copy to the courts and another copy to the Claimant company. Keep a copy for yourself. As mentioned before, there is a long delay (20+ weeks) between this form and an actual day in court.
You should use this time, to get a lot more information (See Subject Access Request) to use for you Witness Statement at the final stage.