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Accessible legal tips, know-how and news for anyone with a complaint or legal issue from Stephen Gold, author of The Return of Breaking Law, the book

Sunday 4 September 2016


Alex Claridge who run's Birmingham's highly regarded Wilderness restaurant is very angry. And I don't blame him. He has had a spate of customers making bookings and then failing to turn up: 16 no-shows in just one evening very recently. He is reported to be thinking about publicly shaming the culprits. He'll tread very carefully and needs to do so.

It's an offence under the Administration of Justice Act 1970 to make a demand which is likely to cause someone who owes you money or their family alarm, distress or humiliation because of any threat or publicity which goes with it. Publicising that someone is indebted to you for breaking a contract isn't making a demand and especially if you are not after money but shaming.

However, there's also the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. That makes it an offence to pursue a course of conduct which amounts to harassment so long as whoever was responsible knew or ought to have known that is what it would do. Harassment includes alarming someone or causing them distress. A person who had evidence of an intended public shaming campaign which included them might  be able to obtain a county court injunction to prevent it.

Best if you have been let down, to make a controlled claim against the no-shower for compensation for your loss of profit caused by their contact breach.

What's on the menu, Alex?