With Registry Trust never having given me cogent reasons why they would not supply the data, I had to appeal in the county court. Having filed my appeal notice the matter was listed for hearing in Brighton County Court on 23 March 2011. I heard absolutely nothing from Registry Trust until 21 March when they served me with statements and a skeleton argument which had been prepared by their barrister. I had very little time to deal with this documentation but I did prepare a statement in reply. The Registrar attended the hearing with his barrister.
Their argument against my appeal was very ingenious. Registry Trust not having given me a considered response to my requests for their reasons to deny me the data instructed a barrister to come up with something.
They argued that I had not been refused access to the register under section 29 of the Regulations, from which one can appeal, but that they had refused to carry out a search according to my request under section 27 (this is where the Registrar has discretion, which I believe was fettered by the Ministry of Justice).
This in my view is sophistry. As had already been confirmed to me by Registry Trust, there would not have been any technical difficulties in complying with my request. I could have purchased all the data on the basis of a periodic search and filtered it myself, but would have had to pay a deposit of £49,000. They really did not want me to have the data.
HH Judge Hollis accepted their argument, dismissed my appeal and refused me permission to appeal further. However, as I had relied upon, he did not order me to pay Registry Trust’s costs in the sum of £5,388 because they themselves had written to my MP informing her that I should appeal in the county court, and it was only when I had done so that they came up with their apparent reasons for not complying with my request.
Having therefore lost the opportunity to obtain data to assist consumers I decided that my next course of action should be to launch a group action against the bank in collaboration with solicitors. I contacted a highly regarded firm with expertise in group actions who were very keen to proceed with such a claim.