DTEI Glitch – Class Action Update


Monday, December 12, 2011

DTEI Computer Glitch

Since August of this year, we have been working on a recent discovery by the Courts Administration Authority of a computer glitch that resulted in a significant delay in the Department for Transport becoming aware of thousands of traffic offences being expiated through the Courts Administration Authority Fines Payment Unit. The result has been that the Department for Transport has now become aware of this error and many drivers have been notified that they are liable to disqualification because of these very old offences. In some cases, the offences have occurred up to two and a half years ago. It is our experience that these disqualifications have had a profound effect on many drivers.

Initially, we sought to write to the Department for Transport asking that they review their decision to disqualify. The basis for this request was that we felt there had been a decision by the department to issue the disqualification notice. Unfortunately, the Department for Transport indicated that there was no decision made as there was no discretion to make any decision. They are relying on the provisions contained within the Motor Vehicles Act. While we accept the provisions of the Motor Vehicle Act, we do not and have never accepted that this delay in disqualification is fair.

In fact, it is patently unfair. This is for many reasons, not the least of which is that many people have experienced significant change in their lives over the last two years.

We have been working closely with other law firms and we are now pleased to confirm that an action will soon be filed in the Supreme Court seeking judicial review of the Department for Transport’s decision to disqualify so many drivers after such a long period of time has elapsed. The action in the Supreme Court is essentially a ‘class action’. A class action is an action that represents a class of people. As a disqualified motorist or motorist liable to disqualification because of the computer glitch, you will automatically become one of the class of people.

As with all things involving lawyers and court actions, there is a significant cost attached. Members of the class action are going to be asked to contribute funds to pay for the argument in the Supreme Court. It is hoped that the members of the class will be able to pool their resources together to establish a fund of up to $20,000.00 for this purpose. Quite clearly the more contributors that can put funds into trust, the quicker it will be that this action can be filed.

An action in the Supreme Court, however, does not come without risk. The Supreme Court civil jurisdiction is a costs jurisdiction. This means that parties to an action are liable to pay the successful parties costs. These costs can be significant, particularly in an action such as this.

Unfortunately, we do not have the capacity to manage a class of representatives. We have been working closely with other law firms and have an agreement in place with a firm who will manage the class. We point out you will be dealing directly with that firm should you wish to proceed. It is for this reason that we ask only those that can contribute $500.00 to the pooling of funds to make contact with our office, and we will refer you on.

We advise that people should not be upset about not being able to contribute any funds. As noted earlier, anyone affected by this matter will automatically be picked up in the class. What is required though is for those that can assist with funds to come forward and notify us as a matter of urgency.

We very much look forward to hearing from anyone that can contribute and we will endeavour to keep all those people affected apprised of any new developments in this matter.