having taken someone to court for indisputable unpaid invoices, the defendant engaged a solicitor who he later dismissed without our knowledge. Following a telecon case management meeting, the judge ordered that we exchange witness statements on line. His dismissed solicitors obviously refused to accept our witness statement and we subsequently sent ours to the Court asking their advice. We heard nothing only that a case hearing had been convened for the 27th of this month. We applied for this case to be adjourned as no witness statement had been received by us from the defendent and paid a fee of £80. To our utter amazement this case was heard and found in the defendants favour because we did not attend. we are now faced with his legal bill of £16K. What do we do next apart from a gigantic complaint to a totally ineffectual court admin office. We did ask how on earth a case can be heard without witness statements being exchanged and following a request for the case to be adjourned. No sensible answer - just a lot of huffing and puffing.
System of Law: England-and-Wales
It was a simple case of the defendant not paying his invoices. He admitted that he owed money and had in fact paid some of his bill ut continually ignored ou request to settle his account. The defendant engaged a solicitor that he later dismissed No witness statements have been exchanged and no contact from the defendant since the beginning of the year.
Hi, Thank you for your question and welcome to Just Answer. Based on what you have told me it sounds as if you have a default judgment against you. I would go now and instruct your own solicitor and make an application to have the default judgment set aside. The threshold for this is very low, it is only arguable case, but if you have a £16k costs order against (which is very surprising considering no witness statements were exchanged and there was no solicitor on the defendants part) you need to make sure it is done correctly. Once this part has been concluded you can then write to the Lord Chancellors Office which has the power to pay compensation where the Court Service has been negligent http://www.justice.gov.uk/. Can you just confirm it is a default Judgment? Kind regards AJ
No, it merely states that as we did not appear, judgement has been found against us. There is no explanation of the costs the defendant is claiming and no reference whatsoever to witness statements not being exchanged. It is well to note that the court itself has our 46 page witness statement but we have received nothing from the defendant despite having been ordered to supply this by the County Court Judge when we had a telephone management meeting in April. When we phoned the court, they confirmed that no witness statement had been lodged by the defendant. The whole equation is bizarre. The Court staff that I have spoken to seem to be devoid of any ability whatsoever. We have no choice but to carry this case through with no solicitor because we simply cannot afford to engage one. We have applied for fee remission advising the Court Manager of our situation and providing all the documentation required but we have heard nothing from him either apart from returning all the paperwork some time ago asking us to complete a certain section of the application form which had in fact already been completed! This seems to be a good example of the service the public receives from this court. Previously we had documents sent to a totally wrong address, court papers sent out that were out of date before we received them, no replies to correspondence and so it goes on. The trouble is these people can ruin lives!
Hi, Thank you for your response. This is definitely a default judgment and simply needs to be set aside under Civil Procedure Rule 13.2. Do you have a local solicitor who you can go to? Do not worry about the court for the time being just get the judgment set aside. You can take the court to task once your claim has been dealt with.
The Gen Form of Judgement merely states that because we did not appear that the case has been found in the defendant's favour. No explanation of the vast sum he is claiming in costs. No mention of him ignoring the Judge's instruction to exchange witness statements in our telephone CMM in April. No mention of the fact that our witness statement had been lodged with the court months ago. No mention of our application to have the case adjourned. This entire equation is bizarre and we fear for the general public when trying to get justice. Previously this court (Swansea) had sent vital paperwork to an entirely erroneous address, sent out paperwork that was out of time by the time we had received it, totally ignored correspondence, been given advice concerning a totally different case. We have spent a small fortune on court fees when all we require is for the defendant to pay his bills. He is a wealthy welsh landowner who apparently thinks that by continuing to pile on the court fees and run up outrageous legal fees that we will walk away and pay for his game.
We cannot afford to engage a solicitor and he knows this. We have applied for fee remission and forwarded all the paperwork to Swansea Court but no decision has yet been advised and this was weeks ago.
Hi, Thank you. I do appreciate your frustrations but what has happened here is that the Court has made a mistake and as a result a default judgment has been made against you. Unfortunately the Court wont just unravel this without you making an application. If you want to start with a complaint against the Court the best thing to do is write to the Lord Chancellors Office they have the power to compensate you. You will be able to claim back the cost of the application to set aside from the Court. If you want to make the application your self, you need to submit a form N244 and make an application to set aside under CPR 13.2 http://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/civil/rules/part13 - here is the link with the grounds of the application. Kind regards AJ
Thanks so much for advice. It wouldn't be so bad if the original intent was merely to get this idiot to pay his bills! He admits he owes the money and has in fact paid part of the ever increasing account. He apparently makes a habit of engaging in this type of nonsense. We have already asked Swansea to thrown his counterclaim out because of not producing a witness statement and not contacting us but for reasons best known to themselves, they have chosen to ignore the fact that this fool is wasting valuable court time and money and damaging other innocent peoples' lives.
Hi, I understand, if you have correspondence to this affect he will be penalised when the court comes to hear the case. As a starting point just make sure you have the judgment set aside and then you can move on from their. I look forward to hearing from you. Kind regards AJ
Again, thanks. What is the ratio for rating your answer. I reckon 9 out of 10 is appropriate in this case. Mind you, I'll probably need a bit more advice later on so don't get bored with me!
Hi, The link will stay open but it will be in a question and answer format not instant messager. I am happy to assist with any follow up points. A 9/10 would be very generous, or if you rate me good service I would be most grateful. I wish you the best of luck. Kind regards AJ
LLB, LPC, DELF
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