Car Dealer Live

Lawgistics sets up new Community Interest Company to help dealers in court

Lawgistics Litigation for the Motor Trade CIC is a new string to the firm’s bow. The CIC is a not-for-profit company to help dealers who find themselves in court. Lawgistics joins Car Dealer Live to explain more. Sponsored post

Time 12:28 pm, March 1, 2024

Motor trade legal experts Lawgistics has set up a new associated company to further assist car dealers.

Called Lawgistics Litigation for the Motor Trade CIC, it’s designed to offer subsidised legal support for car dealers who find their cases ending up in court.

‘CIC’ stands for Community Interest Company and they are set up to offer a community a benefit and not purely for private advantage.

Lawgistics was established in 2001 and helps thousands of motor trade businesses on all things legal. Lawgistics Litigation for the Motor Trade CIC is an additional string to its bow.

The CIC is managed by solicitor and Lawgistics’ head of legal services Nona Bowkis.

Speaking to Car Dealer Live, Bowkis explained the reasons for setting up the CIC.

She said: ‘Last year there was a court case, Baxter v Doble, which changed the whole legal scene.

‘It had nothing to do with the motor trade but was a landlord and tenant case. However, the judgment said that organisations like us – and the lady that was offering landlord tenant services – cannot operate like that any more.

‘They cannot help people in the background, which is what Lawgistics has been doing for over 20 years with court cases.

‘So, we kind of had to change everything, because either we stopped helping our dealers with their court cases – which would have wasted all the intellectual capital and experience that we have here – or find a way to do that within the regulatory framework.

‘We had three choices. We could have gone very official with it and gone down an alternative business structure route, which would have been really expensive and not the way we like to get the job done.

‘Secondly, we looked at becoming a charity, but that sounded a bit weird, so we didn’t go down that route either.

‘Then we looked into the Community Interest Company option. It was perfect because that’s what we are. We look after our motor trade community, we’re part of that community, and by setting up with that structure it meant we could continue to provide that legal help for court cases.’

She added: ‘Not only that, but we could go further and put ourselves on record, which means telling the court that we’re acting for that client – we are managing everything for them.

‘And because we’ve got experience of dealing with the motor trade day in day out, we offer this service at a subsidised rate as well, which is really good.

‘We could have gone down the formal solicitor route, but that would have made us the same as any other solicitor but with motor trade experience.

‘That would have allowed us to charge an experienced-solicitor-outside-of-London rate of £255 an hour. And when a dealer has lots of small claims which are less than £10,000, £255 an hour doesn’t go very far.’

Also joining Bowkis on Car Dealer Live – which you can watch at the top of this story – was Lawgistics managing director Joel Combes.

He said: ‘A CIC is not allowed to make a profit, and if it does, that profit goes back into the community. We feel this isn’t a profit-making exercise.

‘Lawgistics is all about keeping people out of court, while the Lawgistics CIC is for when the unfortunate happens and a dealer has to go to court.

‘Interestingly, when this Baxter v Doble case happened, around 8% of our clients had court cases, so we could have either stepped backwards and said we weren’t going to do this, or we could step up and do this.

‘We are renowned for winning cases, so this CIC is a good fit for us.’

The pair joined host James Batchelor for an open discussion about:

  • The differences between the CIC and a high street solicitor
  • Examples of where the CIC has made an impact on a dealer
  • The future for the CIC and Lawgistics
  • Lawgistics’ ongoing support of automotive charity Ben

Watch the whole interview at the top of this story

James Batchelor's avatar

James – or Batch as he’s known – started at Car Dealer in 2010, first as the work experience boy, eventually becoming editor in 2013. He worked for Auto Express as editor-at-large and was the face of Carbuyer’s YouTube reviews. In 2020, he went freelance and now writes for a number of national titles and contributes regularly to Car Dealer. In October 2021 he became Car Dealer's associate editor.

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