Having seen Bennison’s legal aspirations, it’s time to see whether they could ever be fulfilled. The snippets below speak for themselves.
The Witness Statement
His Witness Statement can be seen on this page: Bennison v Nominet.
In that sea of confusion, a couple of points are worth a mention. Firstly, he’s got the addresses mixed up, the address below was used by another defendant that Bennison also took action against, and also got awarded costs in her favour. This was a totally separate injunction application, the one that was heard on 9/11, after he had already been hammered with costs as a result of his action against Nominet. The registrant of the domain he asked Nominet to suspend never used the address below:
Finally, the icing on the cake. Would anyone mention something like this in a legal document?
Better not to even think about what Exhibit JB11 may be!!!
The Claim Against Nominet
Let’s look at his particulars of claim now:
He claimed £10,000, a nice, round figure. It wasn’t particularised at all. No idea how he arrived at that figure, was it loss of earnings? loss of income from business? expenses and disbursements? existential therapy to cope with the stress? ice cream to make him happy? antidepressants and sleeping pills? Who knows!
What did Nominet do wrong?
Apparently, it was negligence, because it allowed a third party company, Identity Protect Limited, to register a domain name. That’s what it says above. Rather odd, when you consider that’s precisely Nominet’s business: to provide domain names, so allowing a company to register a domain name would be exactly what they should do. And just how would Nominet be responsible for another party using a “false address”? With over 10 million .co.uk domain names, at less than £10 each per year, would Nominet be expected to verify every address? As they don’t claim to do so, no action can be taken against them for a service they do not offer, unlike providing domain names…
As for the domain being used for “defamation and harassment”, again, how are Nominet responsible for that? If I sell scarves, would I be responsible when someone uses one of my scarves to strangle someone? Virtually everything can be used for a variety of purposes.
10,000 + 455 = 104,550
At the bottom of the claim form, we have the total amount claimed. Note how he has added up the claim amount, £10,000 plus the court fee, £455, and come up with: £104,550!!!
The Injunction Application
Below is what Bennison sought from the court when he applied for an injunction against Nominet:
Of all the waffle above, Nominet were only able to perform the first action, which was to suspend the domain name. As for removing his personal data from the internet, just how did he think Nominet could do that? Although the defendant is clearly named as “Nominet Limited”, Bennison claims that the data in question was “placed there by the defendant”. It isn’t clear what he calls “personal data”, nor “the internet” for that matter. Is he referring to a specific website? Who knows! The fact is, Nominet have no powers to remove anything from any website.
As for Nominet being forbidden to re-register he domain name, well, that isn’t the subject of an interim injunction. If his claim had not been struck out and it had made it all the way to a hearing and he had won his action against Nominet, then he could have sought this type of remedy, although it would be more along the lines of transferring the domain name to him, rather than keeping it in Limbo, so no-one could register.
As for “instructing, encouraging or permitting any other person”, well, Nominet wouldn’t INSTRUCT or ENCOURAGE anyone to register a domain name, however, they definitely PERMIT people and companies to register domain names, that’s what they do.
The Small Claim
As the saying goes, the best things are in small packages, and this can certainly be said of the small claim Bennison issued against Nominet. This was intended to recover the £240 summary decision fee. Leaving to one side the absurdity of issuing a claim just because you didn’t like the fact the resolution didn’t go in your favour, we have to look at one of the most amusing bits in this saga.
Bennison’s ability with math is only second to his legal drafting skills. We have seen above how he managed to turn a £10k claim into one for over £100k when he added £455 to the original £10k. Now look at this little gem. Take out your preferred calculator: use your computer, your phone, your tablet or your fingers and toes. Whichever way you look at it, 0.00022% of £240 is £0.000528. In 30 days, you’d be looking at £0.01584. That’s 1.6p to you and me! Why bother claiming such interest?
Bennison then proceeded to add his LIP costs to the actual amount claimed. While a litigant in person (LIP) is allowed to charge for his/her time spent on the claim, at a fixed rate of £19 an hour, this amount falls under costs and is not a part of the claim. One reason costs are dealt with AT THE END of proceedings, is precisely because the amount of costs depends on the progress of the action. In many cases, legal proceedings are settled out of court, without the need to attend a hearing, nor prepare skeleton arguments, witness statements, research case law, etc. in which case the costs would be much lower than if the case was to progress in court till the end.
There is also the fact that,with a few exceptions, costs are not usually awarded in the small claims track, and a claim in this amount would very likely be allocated to that track. Looks like Bennison tried to be “too clever” and cover that eventuality, by adding his costs to the amount claimed. Not to mention the fact that it would hardly take 11 hours to draft these particulars of claim, and this is a claim for a refund of the Nominet DRS fee, what could have taken that long to prepare?