Neil Brown was kind enough to observe and make detailed notes, here. Thank you. It is worth noting that the judge was very happy that this was a public hearing and so there were observers allowed. Indeed, the defendant asked his wife to come in when he realised.
There were a couple of interesting procedural points which are worth noting. For a start, even though the defendant had refused an arbitration call, and even though the judge agreed that is normally considered in costs, the judge award expenses against me!
As for the expenses, it seems it is very worth while bringing all your receipts to the hearing, including, it seems, the cost of recorded delivery postage for the defence and paperwork to the court and other party. I had no idea you could claim such things, but the judge was happy to pay documented expenses, and even 45p a mile for travel. So I'll be doing that in future.
Sadly the point of whether I am an individual subscriber was not addressed, which is a shame. The judge went straight for the idea that I had no evidence of damages and hence that I have no claim. She also said that you cannot claim for distress.
This is a worrying view, as it basically makes regulation 30 pointless in almost all cases.
The good news, of course, is that such cases are not a precedent, and the next judge may well have a different view.
So what to do next...
- I need a nice clear summary of the recent cases, which do set a precedent, which make it clear that you can claim for distress in cases like this. Had I got this with me I could have countered the assertion that the judge made. There have been several cases where traditional damages were indeed nominal (and £1 awarded) but distress was substantially more (hundreds of pounds).
- I need to look in to how the value of distress is normally calculated, and then show those calculations for the basis of my next claim. This may, of course, mean I end up claiming more.
Oh, and obviously, I should report this incident of spam to the ICO and request that they exercise their enforcement function. Sadly they will do nothing as usual.