It’s hard to believe, but true all the same!
Bennison’s timeline against Nominet
- Bennison started a dispute with Nominet, which he lost in April 2016. The outcome, along with all other resolutions, was published on the Bailii legal database and we can see the full details of that case here: Jason Bennison (a.k.a. Schedule12) loses Nominet dispute.
- Dissatisfied with the result, Bennison started pestering Nominet, arguing that they had misunderstood not only the nature of the complaint, but their own terms and conditions. He could have appealed the decision, but it would have cost him £3,000 + VAT, so he decided to try and bully them into changing their mind somehow. When all his attempts had failed, he took drastic action and applied for an emergency ex-parte injunction to force them to suspend the domain name complained about. This action landed Bennison with a £26,000 costs order against him, and it’s all been documented here: Bennison v Nominet Ltd (a firm); IHQ17/0408.
- Bennison started further legal action against Nominet, this time in the county court. He issued a claim for the Dispute Resolution Service (DRS) fee, plus what he considered to be his “costs”, which he added to the claim. Let’s look at this one in more detail.
Background to the claim
As we all know, rather than appealing Nominet’s ruling, he took legal action against them, and also asked for a refund of the fee. Nominet told him that the fees paid to use the Dispute Resolution Service were non-refundable, and this was clearly stated in the terms and conditions of service, as was the fact that the outcome of disputes would be published. Nominet explained to Bennison that the decisions are made by third party experts rather than themselves, and that the DRS is intended to protect intellectual property rights and that the experts are not there to evaluate the website content.
Not happy with this response, Bennison sent Nominet a draft money claim, arguing that they had misunderstood their own terms, and also claimed not to have a contract with the experts Nominet uses to offer their DRS. Like a parrot, Bennison kept arguing that the domain was being used to commit all sorts of offences against him, harass, defame, etc., even when none of that has anything to do with Nominet.
The money claim
As Nominet refused to correspond with Bennison regarding the fee, he issued a county court claim via MCOL, in the sum of £484.00. This amount was made up as follows:
- £240 for the DRS fee
- £209 for his LIP (Litigant in Person Allowance), which he put down as 11 hours @ £19/hour
- £35 for the court fee to issue the claim.
Outstanding legal knowledge? No, just bluffing!
We can see him quoting various CPRs to explain the fact that he was entitled to a LIP allowance, however, Bennison put the cart before the horse on this one. The LIP allowance cannot be added to the amount claimed. This allowance could only be recovered if the claimant was successful to start with, and the amount could not be established at the beginning of the process. It’s quite obvious that a claim admitted and paid by the defendant would take up much less time than one that’s defended and goes to a full trial.
Now let’s look at his CPRs:
He refers to PD 52.4. Practice Direction 52 refer to appeals, so no idea why he went there: PD 52.
He refers to rule 46.3(5)(b). There is no such rule, and 46.3 refers to trustees, so we can assume he got it wrong again, and he may be referring to rule 46.5 which deals with LIPs, where we find the following paragraph: Part 46.
3.4 The amount, which may be allowed to a self represented litigant under rule 45.39(5)(b) and rule 46.5(4)(b), is £19 per hour.
It gets even better: he also mentions 48.6(4). Part 48 of the CPR refers to the LASPO (Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act) 2012.
It is also obvious that it couldn’t take anyone 11 hours to “research and prepare” the “case” in question, there was nothing to research and it couldn’t have taken more than 15 minutes to issue the claim online. However, adding this allowance to the amount claimed is what he recommends on his own Dealing With Bailiffs website: Court Action Procedure
If your claim is under £5000, then you cannot recover solicitors fees, but you can claim a prescribed hourly rate for administrating your claim. You can use that allowance to instruct me to prepare your claim documents, witness statements, legal arguments and assemble your supporting evidence. (fixed fee £150).
This is to assist the court to determine the outcome of your claim and you can reclaim this sum as part of your claim.
Note how he says that people can use that allowance to cover his fee! He also says you can “reclaim this sum as part of your claim”. No, you most certainly CANNOT! You can ask for it if your claim is successful, but, as with anything related to costs, it’s at the discretion of the judge to allow what they consider a reasonable amount.
Bennison was trying to look clever by adding “statutory interest at 0.00022% daily”. However, it had the opposite effect. It’s obvious to anyone with elementary school standard maths, that the decimal point has been misplaced. The interest is 8% per annum. 8/365 comes to 0.0219%, rounded up to 0.022%. Percentages are expressed as decimal fractions so that 8% would be .08, so he did this with the result and got an utterly ridiculous 0.00022%! At this rate, the accrued interest would be just a fraction of a penny and hardly worth mentioning at all! Yet another attempt at pretending to have knowledge that has backfired.
Can anyone guess what happened to this claim? This ridiculous claim was struck out on November 14th 2017, in the Kingston-upon-Thames county court. As we can see on the attached order, it “disclosed no reasonable grounds for bringing the claim” and the Court considered the claim “to be totally without merit“. See for yourselves!