Since starting this blog I have been contacted by so many people just like me, who find me when in frustration they type “I hate (insert whatever pet peeve here)” into Google. Of-course there are the accidental visitors who think I have a problem with the New American Bible, or maybe the National Association of Broadcasters … or I find the North American Baptist Conference a tad obnoxious. But there are lots of people who look at the About page and read more than just the single blog post they come across and decide to get in touch to share their stories with me.
And all of the stories are depressing and confusing; I still have no answer as to why any bank would set out to bankrupt a perfectly good customer or set up customers who already have little enough but own a perfectly good (now severely overpriced) house. I think some people have simply lost the last skerrick of decency and think anyone who is stupid enough to trust a bankster deserves all they get – including the bullying, harassment and bankruptcy.
But today’s post isn’t about them, it’s about us – all of us who know what it’s like to walk through this darkness called bank litigation.
For people like me Christmas becomes just another burden – at least it was for me. What used to once be the best time of the year became the most difficult time of the year. I’m not sure if it was because my trust was broken or because it took something more precious away from me – I lost the ability to love, to forgive, to give generously to those worse off than me.
I’ve previously blogged about our settlement with the bank and my desire to move on with my life – to start the next chapter, to find out what’s behind the next closed door. But to be honest that has been really, really hard to do. While I no longer feel the sheer panic of not knowing how to cope with all that might be, the certainty of settlement did not “fix” the problem. My life is still in tatters as far as I’m concerned, I’m still not living life to the full, I still have vague plans of a future that I’m too scared to consider seriously. And I still wake up most mornings knowing that I will just try to get through this day and hopefully things will get better with time. I hope that one day I will just be excited about a beautiful summer’s day rather than seeing it as just another day of treading water. And while this seems overly dramatic the good news is that most days I’m too busy to feel that way too long, so I must be on the mend … right?
It seems odd to be this honest – to say that even now I see life as being less than it used to be. But the reason I wanted to share this with you is simple. There are so many people as damaged as I was, as broken as a human can be when they realise the world they live in is not as safe as they were told, that the rule of law does not protect the innocent but the rich. That’s a tough thing to live with.
Christmas time is tough because it comes with all sorts of loaded expectations. You can’t watch telly without the endless ads telling you your loved ones won’t know you love them unless you spend a motza on them (hmmm, yup that over-priced diamond bracelet for $500 will definitely say “I love you” ). But of all the things that go with Christmas, the expectation that you can simply put down your burden and “be happy and thankful for all you have”, that “Jesus loves you” and all the peace on earth (now that would be a nice change) the thing that is hardest (again, only in my opinion) is the waiting for your own Christmas miracle – that the bank will finally grow a bit of common decency and call a halt to proceedings and come up with a workable solution that allows you to keep your home. There wasn’t a real Christmas while I was waiting for my miracles – the first to keep my home and the second to be compensated for my losses.
And here’s the real secret to my second miracle – yes, we did settle with the bank, albeit not at Christmas time (so does it still count as a Christmas miracle?) b.u.t it didn’t fix anything. I suspect that even if we had been put back into the financial position we were in before the bank loan I would still be feeling abused.
You see, I don’t think it was losing a life-time of work and the farm that did the damage, when all is said and done that all amounts to money and money is not that important to me (in the sense I would kill for my family and friends – but money? pfffftttt). What damaged me was that my whole world was exposed as being a fraud, the knowledge that everything I believed in was a great big lie. The exposure of the corruption of my beautiful Australia and the over-abundance of arseholes that spend all their days and nights scheming to rip off hard-working Aussies – that is what I find difficult to deal with.
So here’s what I need you to know as you head into Christmas worried that your bank will be coming after you and you will probably lose everything. You will survive it, you may not thrive initially but you will get through it. Life is all about feelings and how you see things. You can choose to see only the crime against you and you can fight it every moment of every day and ignore living. You can choose to be angry and hurt and then curl up in a corner and simply stop living.
I chose to do all that but I also did other things. I allowed myself 4 weeks to mope and be miserable about the unfairness of it all (I ended up taking 8 weeks) but then I put limits on my misery. Allowing myself to be unhappy and feeling my pain for a limited time every day gave me the head space I needed to accept that life was going to be different but that my negative feelings were important. Simply denying that you feel totally overwhelmed by ‘feeling bad’ does nothing to help you integrate the negative experiences into your life and get to the acceptance part of the grieving process*.
And that is what you are going through – a grieving process, I grieved for the loss of the person I was, the loss of faith, the loss of my life. But I got through it, and even though there are still black days, most of my days are pretty good. I used all the extra spare time to study and even though I have no concrete plan for how I want my life to look in even 6 months time, I can say that I am finally enthusiastic about Christmas …. I take that as a sign that I am finally on the mend. It has taken me such a long time to get to the point where I feel like I am finally putting all the pieces back together. Although some of the pieces are irretrievably lost, there is nothing to stop me from making my life bigger so that the missing pieces become smaller in the big picture. All I need is a plan and I can start working on it.
But maybe that plan might be a bit ambitious and I’m just grateful to be happy to be getting ready for Christmas 2014.
The photo shows the lights catastrophe from last Christmas – I was not going to put up the tree but my son ended up getting it together. After Christmas I couldn’t be bothered taking it down, so there it sat for ages. Finally when I couldn’t take it anymore I took it down – the baubles sat around gathering dust for ages afterwards as I couldn’t find the enthusiasm to get them back in their boxes. And the lights? I couldn’t get them off the tree properly so ended up with this mess (too hard to explain how a simple task like taking the lights down ended up with this haha ).
Yesterday I finally unravelled the lot and I’m good to put up the tree …. something I’ve always waited until the last minute to do but this year I’m really looking forward to Christmas.
When we were fighting this thing with the bank there was so much I didn’t know, about the law, the courts, the process but mostly, what I didn’t know was that I would still be feeling bad for so long after we finally had our win. Had I understood the impact my feelings and internal voice would have on everything I might have regrouped much earlier. Take care of your feelings while you’re going through this, if something feels ‘off’ you’re probably right.
Talk to people about how you’re doing – don’t let pride stop you from getting whatever help you need. If you lose friends over this you have to know that these are not real friends – real friends don’t judge you, nor do they walk away when things get tough. Real friends will let you talk and will gently get you off the emotional merry-go-round, and just because they can’t understand how you got in this mess, or that Australian banks have a number of scams that damage customers, real friends will still care about you.
While you may not be able to put down the emotional baggage for this Christmas, I hope you can at least try, because life is short with no guarantees. Take care of yourself, give yourself an emotional holiday over the festive season – I can guarantee the banksters aren’t losing sleep over your situation, so while nothing can happen, take the chance to take an emotional time-out.
One of my fave Christmas songs from my favourite Christmas movie …
While I get on with my Christmas baking – do yourself a favour … take care out there in Banksterland
*I have a personal philosophy that our feelings exist to show us how we are doing in this world, I’m not a fan of anti-depressants for what I would describe as situational depression BUT if you’re feeling overwhelmed and suicidal please reach out and ask for help.
I am now subscribed to the Supreme Court of WA’s update service and receive all the latest judgments. These I find fascinating – largely because so much of it is relevant to not only my studies but because of the intersection with my own life and experiences.
Take for example the large number of judgments currently coming through regarding professional misconduct by lawyers and barristers. Now there’s an eye-opener for you . Who knew so many of Perth’s elite were so dodgy? I certainly never expected to read some of the names on this roster of ignominy. It is most disheartening to know that so many undeserving individuals can continue to peddle their own version of ethics and morals despite being caught with their hand in the cookie jar … or worse – bringing the profession of law into disrepute. Mind you, I am aware of at least one practitioner who not only acted against his client’s best interests but also rubbished the Master of the Supreme Court – not even a slap on the wrist for that one.
But it is knowing about the rubbishing of said Master and matters brought before the Court of Appeal recently that has me wondering who you can trust. The couple who appealed the Summary Judgment handed down in favour of their lender included a claim against the Master that he was biased in favour of the lender. I’m going to assume that the language was tidied up for the purposes of the court, but since another learned friend also claimed the Master was biased* and the case had “Buckley’s” of getting a fair hearing … is it any wonder we are confused? Add to that all of the corruption reported by Shane Dowling on his Kangaroo Court of Australia website and cynicism becomes a survival instinct.
The banks have a really nice scam going, and since all legal practitioners at all levels must have a bank account by law it seems to me unreasonable and impractical to insist that none who have a bank account can act for a bank customer against a bank. It’s also problematic to insist that judges who hold shares in a certain bank cannot hear cases involving that bank – since the average intelligent investor would hold shares in a number of banks (hey, what other corporations are guaranteed not to fail because the government won’t let them – no matter what!). I can see there wouldn’t be any judges left to hear bank cases. Further, since judges rose through the ranks and most come from prestigious law firms chances are that most did, in fact, represent banks against customers back in the day. While all deserve the benefit of the doubt – how many are abusing the trust we have placed in them and simply ignoring the customer’s right to be heard?
Wrap your head around this letter, the case is clearly outlined within – it’s one of the first cases I learned about after starting this blog – and it terrifies me to this day that this kind of thing can happen in Australia – that big wide open land of opportunity (I guess it still is for the banks), the land of the fair go and mateship (again, looks like the banks have the best mates going ).
I firmly believe that the only way to clean up this mess is to get all the cases out of the courts and sorted out in a much cheaper way. None of this being able to buy their way out of trouble for the banks – they are notorious for taking customers through the legal wringer even when they know the customer is actually right. It’s a sign that politicians and regulators have no clue when their magic solution to the problem is to advise the customer to take the bank on in court. Obviously these bright sparks have no idea that the banks make sure there is no money left in the kitty for even a short Summary Judgment hearing – never mind the fact they drag cases on for years, piling on the costs until their prey has no more resources left to fight.
It would be interesting to get some figures for the number of people forced to self-represent against the might of the banks – I feel so dumb compared to most of the people who contact me because they know so much more of the system than I do. Because I was stupid enough to trust that having a lawyer and a barrister represent you at Summary Judgment was the way to stay in the fight … They, on the other hand, know the law that affects them, the rules of the court, they understand where the problems lie. They should be respected for what they have achieved in such a short time when they couldn’t find legal representation – but all they get from the courts is disdain**
It shouldn’t happen, it can’t go on like this forever – time to take back our power and get some justice methinks …
Do yourself a favour … take care out there in banksterland
*language definitely cleaned up
** I know of one judge in the Court of Appeal who understands the problem and treats self-representing litigants with respect; but I hear many horror stories and have seen some other judges in action … disgraceful is such a gentle word for what this really is
if the video gets taken down (has been known to happen frequently these days) the song is Great Southern Land by Icehouse .
Someone’s been using my email address to send messages to banks … hmmm, that’s interesting. So far I’ve had two ‘replies’ to my comments. All I can hope is that they are being polite and not being dicks – although I think it goes without saying that anyone who uses someone else’s email addy to make comments is already a proven dick … . So here’s a message to all the banks – I don’t bother sending you emails, or asking questions on your websites. It’s not that I wouldn’t want to give you an opportunity to defend yourselves but well, I think it’d be a crock anyway and I just can’t be bothered anymore.
I don’t think I should have to change my email address just to stop someone using it in such an idiotic way. I’m just not sure what I can do about it, other than be annoyed that this is someone who I correspond with … that’s the thing that gets me about this – someone I have corresponded with on this blog has done this. FFS people, how stupid is the human race? We have banksters ripping off customers, governments ignoring it, in-fighting amongst the victims and now some tosser is making lord knows what comments using my name and email address on bank websites.
There are days when I get so depressed about the kind of morons we are breeding …
Oh well, hopefully no-one will sue me for slander or defamation because some dick is posing as me … and here to cheer me up as I contemplate the misery of ‘mankind’ – hopefully this will restore my happy bubble
while I try to calm down and ignore this rubbish, do yourself a favour – take care out there in banksterland
Well, there are more inquiries into financial institutions than we can shake the veritable stick at – if you’re interested feel free to add your voice to the Scrutiny of Financial Advice Inquiry which is open for submissions until 5 December 2014. My submission will be under g) any related matters; I feel the need to raise this matter in any forum where it can be heard. It’s not right that we can lose everything because people in the know abuse the system. Or maybe that Facebook meme doing the rounds at the moment is right – the system isn’t broken, it’s working perfectly well for the people it was designed to protect and serve … sounds about right – but as you know, I am no cynic .
I have a plan that seems to be coming together quite nicely at the moment too – I will start blogging about it once I know whether it is ‘doable’ – there is some argument whether it is even possible. But I have this thing about people using the word impossible – and I just have to pick away at it to see whether I can make it work or not. Never walk away from anything until you have all the facts is my motto (closely followed by the mantra ‘everybody lies’ and ‘trust no-one’ … so you can imagine the fun place my head is in right now hahaha ).
As I’m still recovering from some mystery illness (required the MOTH to leave work to rescue me … that’s serious, but my mum knew it was dire when I didn’t even want chocolate – talk about being at death’s door!!!) I wont’ keep blathering on here (plenty of time for my verbosity to bore you LOL). Yesterday I got my final results for first semester too – rather chuffed to get a letter from the uni congratulating me on my awesome grades but sadly I can’t even party* . Just as well the silly season is almost upon us – I should get some celebrating in before it’s old news .
Anyway, I’ll leave you with this song … in many ways it reflects how I feel about some things in life these days but mostly it’s just a whole lotta fun
In the meantime do yourself a favour … take care out there in Banksterland
*will have to be content with a memory of a celebratory drink had earlier hahaha … but it’s all good
So I survived exams (yay me) but no results yet (hey, I’m not impatient, I have not been stalking My Grades on the uni website … not me ). I already have the info for the Summer Semester unit I’m doing in January, have ordered text book and look like I’m set to go.
So now I’m trying to get on top of the banking stuff – and I have to confess I’m a little bit behind now – the cat almost died on Monday and it threw me in a spin. Not only getting him to the vet and the realisation that the day will come when he shuffles off this mortal coil but also generally trying to keep it all together enough to get on top of the very.much.neglected housework. But I’m catching up so here I am … back at trying to piece this puzzle together.
Currently I’m talking to a few people who are at varying stages of their banking scam journey – some have valiantly begun to fight back despite the bailiff being days away from evicting them and others have only just started their fight.
What this broad spectrum of bank* customers shows me is that there is no simple “one size fits all” solution you can just hand out like lollies on Halloween. For example, someone who has only just started realising that the bank isn’t playing fair during the renegotiation process and is creating financial difficulties for them can rely on equitable estoppel to stop the escalation of the problem. Whereas someone who has had a dodgy FOS ruling followed by a dodgy Summary Judgment will have to use a different approach.
The problem for bank customers is that the wording of the contract clearly states that the bank can withdraw funding at any time – they have all the power in the world – at least according to the wording of the contract. I’m pretty sure that this is the reason so many people walk away without a fight and without questioning whether the bank is actually wrong. Surely the bank wouldn’t break the law and rely on dodgy clauses to ensure customers who have been screwed by employees don’t fight back in court?
Yes, I know, I am cynical – but there is something inherently wrong with these contracts – they should be illegal imho – they give the banks TOTAL control; the customer has no rights – despite what their feel-good Code of Banking Practice might say. The terms of the contract absolutely show the lack of regard banks have for their customers. Why else would they have a clause that gives them the right to cancel the contract without cause? (you don’t actually have to be in default – hey, if the mood strikes them you’re up you.know.what.creek without a paddle ).
Most people do not know the law, they are vaguely aware that ignorance of the law is no excuse but they trust that the people they are dealing with wouldn’t do anything to ruin them financially – and that is even more true when they deal with their bank. And the banks know it and play on it.
For those bright sparks that still claim that banks make a loss on these loans and that they would never, ever do this on purpose – here’s the thing. IF the banks actually lost money, if this cut into their profits THEN they would hunt down the employees that were bodgying up loans, they would make sure their system of checks and balances worked; in short – they would make damned sure there was not a single customer at risk from these dodgy deals. But that is not what we are seeing. Even the Financial Sector Union is saying that the carrot and stick approach to paying bank employees is dangerous (the carrot being the bonuses paid for ‘meeting sales targets’ – loans and the stick being getting the sack for failing to meet sales targets i.e. not talking enough customers into getting loans). The banks wouldn’t wear it unless there was money in it for them ….
Anyway – that’s enough of a rant for today, research awaits this little black duck but I’ll leave you with this song … just because I can hehe
Anyway – do yourself a favour, take care out there in Banksterland
*all banks represented here
the video is Pink Floyd – Money
I’m feeling quite wrecked atm – all due to exams. The most positive thing I can say about the experience is that I have learned to approach some of my tasks a little bit differently next semester! But I guess that’s what this learning lark is all about – learning, even learning how to get better at learning!
So I’ve done 3 exams with the final one not until next Wednesday – and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. It’s the unit I feel most confident about and this also adds to the debate about good/bad thing. I’m confident I know it and will not get overly stressed but then I worry I might be a tad over-confident.
I’m a bit of an expert on this overconfidence bit … I remember well when I used to be absolutely convinced that we’d win in court because we had all the evidence, back in the days when I was naive enough to believe that courts were the place to go for justice … yeah, that worked out great for us
But I’m one exam shy of being 1/6 of the way through my degree and I think I’m already getting a handle on this legal process thing. There were days when I struggled with the Contracts unit – not because it was hard, but because some basic, very basic, truths about what happened to us were exposed. Same with Torts – ah the joy of Torts … how I wish I’d been acquainted with that little beauty about 6 years ago, or even a couple of years ago. Oh well, maybe others will actually benefit from my steep learning curve soonish
That Contracts report I thought about publishing … just need to figure out how I can polish it up a bit (since it was ‘tweaked’ for a particular audience for the assignment) or if I need to write a new one using similar concepts, or maybe just publish it here as is hahaha . The only negative comment on it was that it was a little bit emotive … not bad considering that I get overly emotional discussing this bank fraud stuff that is now, finally, making the news. It was a pretty good grade (especially considering the emotive language which I know isn’t very acamademical ). As to the writing I was going to be doing over the break – I may set myself an interesting topic and see if I can do a well-researched article on my pet subject – depending on which way I want to tweak it of-course!
There’s a few (acamademical-type) tasks I’ve set myself for the break … but somewhere I will have to find time to improve on my calligraphy … sadly I cannot blame my over-dependence on the computer for writing missives, nor can I say it’s because I left school a while back and haven’t had to write as much. Truth be told, my handwriting has always been, erm, crap; but now with really.important.law exams I think I need to get it straightened out a bit … maybe even get some Brownie points with the poor sods that have to decipher it all . (and yes, it is somewhat embarrassing to have handwriting that’s, well, erm, crap). I wasn’t so worried about it for the other degree (I have no idea why not – a tad embarrassed yes, but not this wholly ashamed thing I have going atm hahaha).
Here’s some of the light reading I have ahead of me … just to get into the swing of things (I suspect this is week 1)
Anyway, I only thought I’d say hello, and that I’m still working ‘the plan’ – and it’s looking pretty good atm, even though I’m still hoping to write about all this stuff the banks are doing as a history thing – it’s not looking good at this point in time. At least not with the government still ignoring calls for a Royal Commission and still supporting their bankster mates.
Oh well, that’s me done for the day – I’d forgotten about how exhausting the post-exam post-mortem routine can be …
So here’s a tune to cheer me up … hope you like it too [Think about it hahaha – it’s a weird kinda journey, this thing called life – you really never know what’s around the corner. If you’d told me 8 years ago I was gonna go to law school … pffftttt you’re crazy! And here I am, still not sure I believe in fate – but I’ll go with it for now )
and to avoid your own Waterloo … do yourselves a favour – take care out there in Banksterland
They (whoever they actually are) say that time flies when you’re having fun …. well, I must be having an awful lot of fun with this studying lark . I can’t believe that in a couple of weeks I’ll be doing exams and that’s the end of my first semester studying law. It’s been an amazing journey so far – and reading the legal gobbledygook isn’t anywhere near so … mind-numbingly awful hahaha
If I get a good result on my Contracts research essay I might see if I can get it published (hey, if that fails I’ll just ‘publish’ on here muahaha ). I got a really good result for the presentation I had to do for it. The assignment was on implied terms – good faith; basically it took the form of a report to the Australian Law Reform Commission and recommended changes to the law.
Naturally my assignment took the angle that banks have obviously abandoned all pretence of acting in good faith and therefore good faith should become an express term in lending contracts (that would make them contracts of utmost good faith … lie on application forms then bank employees!) and all States should adopt legislation similar to the Contracts Review Act 1980 (NSW) to give customers a chance to get a fair hearing.
I can’t believe how much case law exists where judges call out banks on their abrogation of good faith – the banks don’t even pretend they have to act in good faith in any of their dealings. When we were fighting this thing we were told it didn’t happen, what happened to us was an aberration, that banks simply did not act this way. Even in 2009 when we showed up in court there was an expansive body of case law that totally, absolutely showed banks regularly act this way. Hopefully I got the balance right (I went across the spectrum to prove banks/lenders do not act in good faith – ever – if it’s a conflict between profit and good faith …. well, let’s say good faith is dead in the water eh?)
Really wasn’t sure if I wanted to share the graduation photo (not a fan of sharing photos online at the best of times … but hey, I’m well covered at least and Smart-Arse Ted is a lil cutie right?) but I did work hard for the degree (I suspect that one will be a walk in the park compared to this one – although I’ve enjoyed this semester more than stressed out about it, might be a good sign?) So hope you forgive me for sharing the photo *
I added the photo of Smart-Arse Ted with his best mate Biker Ted just because I could (and those two look so adorable together hahaha)
I do have to confess to being somewhat surprised about how I still feel about all this stuff that has happened to me. I just assumed that once we settled with the bank that I’d feel better; then it was ‘when I graduate’ … and nope, I still feel totally crap. The smile in the photo is so obviously fake it is terrifying (to me at any rate …). This is leaving me wondering if I’ll ever know how to feel ‘good’ again. There is no-one who could accuse me of not doing enough to change my situation, no-one can say I’ve done nothing to ‘fix’ the hurt the unmentionable thing inflicted on me. Exactly how much do you have to do to make the booboo stop hurting?
When Robin Williams died a few people made comments about what a cowardly act it was – and I know it wasn’t, and I know that not everybody who faces problems can keep on going. While I know I’m pretty thick-skinned these days and don’t consider myself at risk – I also worry that not enough is being done to help people caught in this horrendous situation. And for some, the burden of simply staying alive is too great. That is probably the thing that pisses me off most of all – no-one who can do anything to help is actually bothering … they just can’t be arsed to tighten the regulations and take the banks to task.
The politicians have washed their hands of it (and why wouldn’t they when the bankster lobby is so rich and powerful and always ready with financial rewards for compliant politicians who look the other way). The despair out there is overwhelming … and a part of me resents the fact that there isn’t anyone willing to help. The lawyers want to be paid up front (if burnt customers had the money up front they would have paid the slimy banksters FFS), the judges either use the doctrine of precedent to say their hands are tied or the particular case falls through the cracks because neither common law nor legislation has considered the massive fraud undertaken by corrupt corporations who know how to manipulate existing laws.
The ‘reasonableness’ of the law pisses me off – when it’s so obviously manipulated to make fraud legal; the refrain ‘but you signed the contract’ makes my blood boil – who the fuck in their right mind would have signed a contract they knew was based on lies told by the other party? Another more.than.an.annoyance is the assertion by some judges that there is no disparity in the power of the contracting parties. When one party is a multi-billion dollar corporation with in-house lawyers who have massive experience destroying customers in court and the other is a customer who probably has never met a lawyer, never mind the total lack of any basic understanding of law – that seems like a great big fucking disparity to me but what do I know? I’m just someone who got done by the law.
If the law is so simple to understand – why do you need a degree to understand it? Why do you need formal training post graduation to teach you how to be a lawyer? If it’s so bloody easy (and it is according to the bright souls who say bank customers should know the law as it relates to their loan contract) then why do you need lawyers at all?
I submit that this is a crock of shit – ordinary bank customers do not have the same legal knowledge as the lenders, bank customers also suffer the greatest disadvantage of all – they suffer from the delusion that banks deal in good faith – they trust that the bank will not put them in danger of financial ruin. And it’s about time the conversation in Australia got around to that.
Anyway, that’s my rant for now – it’s head down bum up as I try to remember all this stuff for exams. Anyhow, do yourselves a favour …. take care out there in Banksterland
*(I was thinking of Photoshopping my face … I reckon I would look good as Elle hahahaha – but then I am a firm believer in what you see is what you get … and that inane smile – it’s either that or the dour face and as this is the face I was born with …. pffffttttt)
Apologies for my lack of postings – finally had my graduation (yay me) and family celebration and kind of lost 4 days of precious study time. Just as well that was the week we had no lectures and tutorials eh? And since then it’s been nothing but trying to stay on top of weekly readings, lectures, tutorials and juggling 7 assignments which all fall due around the same time; oh, and still having people who are lost and abused in the system who just need someone to talk to about what’s going on in their life/case (yes, the two are very much the same thing which is just … sad really).
Now you’d think that being snowed under with assignments (some epics like the 3500 word report into implied terms of good faith) and all the other stuff happening in my life that I would prioritise my time differently. I say that only because I’ve been ‘advised’ to allocate my time differently – mostly on account of no-one actually paying me for all the time I put in. But I kind of see things in a different light.
After all, when we were going through this I had no-one to talk to, that meant that when I freaked out I totally freaked out – every little problem seemed insurmountable, and like Topsy it just growed. And when that happens you not only lose a little bit of your mind (okay – a lot) but more importantly, you lose your ability to think clearly and help yourself.
Then there’s also that little factoid that the people who contact me because they need someone to talk to, the ones who have no real support network – they are the reason I’m now studying law. I still get depressed that the only help I can be to them is emotional support and the voice of experience that assures them “you can survive this – no matter what the outcome, you can survive it” (perhaps a lot worse for wear and that cynical dark side takes some getting used to – but it is survivable). They need a lawyer and they get me … it isn’t fair.
Although I am only in week 9 of my degree I do know one thing – there is so much I don’t know and yet I still know so much more than I did when all this started. I know that for my assignments I find a lot more cases pre-2008 that would have supported our defence. And even though I am quite some time off learning about court procedure I also understand that the way our case was handled doomed us to lose from the start (okay, this last bit I didn’t learn at uni – that was from WALPCC who explained what gave the bank their win at Summary Judgment). That is probably the most bitter pill to swallow. I’m in week 9 and I understand the fundamental issues …
The Master did not in fact err in his ruling (so maybe not the evil Master from Dr Who?) – so perhaps my overly negative feelings towards him are not totally justified. But given the context of how my overall opinion was formed … My perception of him wasn’t just based on his ruling – there were representations made to me about his character. (I still have people tell me things about him – usually from those who have also been on the wrong side of his rulings – and yes, that must be taken into account). So now I’m left confused as to whether he is or is not a bankster puppet – I assume he isn’t because all the evidence points to his ruling being correct. I guess this is the reason I always add that Summary Judgement must be removed from lending litigation because there is too much proof now that evidence is withheld, and judges can only decide on what is there. It’s depressing really.
It makes me cynical enough that when people talk to me and tell me their stories I hear things that strike me as being odd. I’m assuming that that probably creates some annoyance for those who are only now discovering that their trust was misplaced – for me to then ask them to look out for more acts of utmost bad faith seems overly burdensome. But a lack of trust does that.
My lack of trust also means I don’t trust myself – so I second guess myself and when I talk to others I really have to remember to tell them that what happened in our case may not be applicable in theirs. That just because I sound convincing when I say “banks do x, y, z” that this may not necessarily be true in their case – so to look into the issue I’ve raised – but to be wary of seeing something that isn’t there.
We were screwed over by numerous people along the way – right from when I first started looking into this grand plan of mine. I somehow had remained so naive that I assumed when you pay someone for advice that they wouldn’t set you up to fail (long story). No matter where we turned – bad advice piled on top of bad advice and the facts that we were never made aware of so that we could make good decisions ended up sinking us. We paid a lot of money to get totally screwed ….
The people who are desperate enough to contact me through the blog have also paid a lot of money to a lot of people just to get screwed. Professionals have let them down, trust has been broken. And it leaves me worried that if something I say is misheard or misconstrued that they will again be let down. Knowing the fallout from this fight makes me acutely aware that this is not a game, and I take my responsibility to those who choose to connect with me very seriously. All I can offer is emotional support and some handy hints on where to find some legal knowledge (the Austlii database is pretty good and the websites for the courts are a good start).
What I really need is a list of lawyers who are prepared to take on a lender; and considering how I got the idea that I needed a law degree I don’t really see the legal profession in WA welcoming me with open arms when I am done. I never considered becoming a practicing lawyer, I always wanted to write about our collective experiences as a qualified authority. Somehow I had assumed that by the time I have completed my degree that this sorry state of affairs would be at an end.
But the government is fighting calls for a Royal Commission into this fraud – as a matter of fact they are easing the pitiful restrictions they placed on the banks. Sadly, I think I now have to consider the possibility that people are still going to be engaged in this fight for years to come and people totally unable to defend themselves in court will be self-representing litigants – so much for equal access to the courts – justice denied for want of being able to find a lawyer. The thought that I might be that lawyer one day … maybe with some more studying under my belt my confidence will return?
Anyway – that’s my rant for today – I wish I could be more help to people who are forced into litigation with their bank. But it is what it is … and maybe by letting people talk to someone who has ‘been there, done that’ helps enough for them to get a break from the overwhelming emotions that overtake us in times of crisis.
Take care out there in banksterland peeps
PS: For those of you interested in a Royal Commission into this bank fraud please sign this petition.
There are a number of websites set up by others who also have first-hand experience of bank fraud (there’s more if you want to Google):
My last post was a bit … erm … well, in my defence, I have heard a lot of stories from fellow bank customers taken down by their respective banks with the help of the legal profession (and then there’s my personal experience re Summary Judgement on top). This knowledge colours my world and I struggle daily with the conflict between giving the legal profession the benefit of the doubt and understanding that there are legal professionals who simply shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a court, or clients or well – have anything to do with justice and truth (since they seem to have a definite lack of understanding of both).
One thing I have noticed, and it has troubled me somewhat, is that I am experiencing anxiety attacks these days – and I mean full on anxiety attacks not just ‘feeling bad’. And it’s all to do with studying law – I’m in week 7 and working on a way to work through this. The thing is, when I read about what judges say the law is (should find the quotes but well, I do have more assignments due so yeah, won’t be doing that just now) and that the law is all about justice … still waiting for justice over here Your Honour . Then in more than one unit we invariably cover some WA case or other and there it is – the name of a judge I know from either my own case or someone I’ve met in person.
It’s really weird, because everything happens in an instant and throws me in a loop. I’ll be right into reading the required materials, you know, just trying to do my best to absorb all that knowledge, figure out what the rule of law is and how it relates to the unit materials and generally minding my own business. Then I’ll see it – it’ll be something innocuous like “Buss J at 24 in some.case.name.or.other said/argued/articulated/whatever” …. and my world goes bang. The old heart starts skipping beats (and the ones it remembers to do are so bloody loud it sounds like bombs going off in my brain), my eyes go wobbly, my stomach lurches and my brain just goes “shit”.
And it’s not like Justice Buss did anything to me … he just happened to have a seat on the bench at our appeal* – and it’s only recently that I understood that our appeal was always doomed to fail. I’m now confused as to why our appeal was actually heard … but despite failing it was through the whole process that I discovered so much about what the bank did. So still glad I went through it … in that perverse ‘turning lemons into lemonade’ kind of justifying crap outcomes thing.
It was through the Stay of Execution process that I came to respect Justice Newnes, and trusted him enough to sue the bank for damages. When I see his name in readings I have the same reaction despite having positive regard for his judgement.
I must confess that I am surprised at my reactions and it is affecting my thought process (I’m pretty sure about that – but it could also be the endless barking of the next door neighbour’s dogs and/or the horrendous noise the renovations the other neighbour is indulging in … should start an anti-renovations blog hahaha). It’s a complication I hadn’t made allowances for – I mean I knew that getting comfortable with the language would take some doing (the readings are easier these days so maybe it’s starting to come together?). I also knew that learning to ‘write legal’ was something I needed to give time (sadly my first legal essay was a dud – get marks back on Monday and really don’t want to know … le sigh).
It’s one thing understanding the legal principles we are taught, writing it all up is something else, but trying to get over the physical reactions I’m having because of my experience is something different again. There are a lot of people like me who end up in law school trying to get to a new understanding and use that to help others in the way we were never helped. For the average law student this isn’t an issue – while all law students probably feel a ‘normal’ level of anxiety about their studies – this is something extra.
I already had problems because even though Ps get degrees I really like getting HDs – and if I’m going to pay the money to study I may as well get the best grades I can – so I’m putting a lot of pressure on myself to ‘get it right’. I think this totally backfired on said essay as I really lost the plot … I want to write an email to the lecturer begging his forgiveness for making him read the diatribe hahaha.
Anyway, I’m getting back into mediation hoping this will help me get over all the injustice crap and keep an open mind. And, despite my overwhelming cynicism, I do still try to give people the benefit of the doubt. As I read more court transcripts and judgements I am starting to think I can discern personal quirks of judges come through (there’s not but I have a fine imagination).
I’ve been asked when I’ll be a lawyer … and I’m still not sure that’s where I want to end up (I’m also pretty sure they wouldn’t want me in their ranks hahahahahahaha). One of the things that has always had me thinking I don’t want to be a practicing lawyer is that I know I have problems speaking in public and more importantly – my personal experience in court might make me a liability to any client I may have (what if I lost the plot and called my ‘learned friend’ an “expletive deleted” gosh darned “expletive deleted”? – that would not do my client any good at all). Oh well, there’s time to get over the crap eh? We’ll see what happens – no point stressing about that right now (yes, I’m a worry wart … must get over that).
Anyhoo … here’s a quote that cheered me up no end this morning … looking forward to reading some more words of wisdom today – hopefully more along these lines and less super duper boringly technical stuff haha
GLEESON CJ: The deceased appears to have maintained simultaneous domestic establishments with all three women and their respective children. In terms of division of his time he appears to have given preference to Margaret Green, but it seems that he spent two nights a week, regularly, with the respondent and, at least according to her evidence, gave what she regarded as a plausible explanation of his absences. Presumably, over a number of years, he managed to achieve the same result with the other women. This is consistent with his apparent success as a used car salesman.
-Green v Green (1989) 17 NSWLR 343 at 346.
While I voluntarily get my nose back to that grindstone do yourselves a favour – take care out there in Banksterland
I found the quote on the SurviveLaw website … I need all the help I can get :)