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Stuart J
Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 19564
Experience:  PGD Law. 20 years legal profession, 6 as partner in High Street practice
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Hi, I have someone threatening to take me to court for money

Customer Question

Hi,
I have someone threatening to take me to court for money and items given as gifts. He has stated many times that the money wasn't a loan,therefore am I right to assume it must be a gift? Also, I have said I will give the money back, if he drops claims for other items, all of which were gifts. He is refusing and keeps adding further items. Where do you think I may stand if this gets to court?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: UK Law
Expert:  Stuart J replied 10 months ago.
Do you have any proof? How much over how long? What relation is the person? can we have full background please? Thanks
Customer: replied 10 months ago.

the money was placed electronically from his account to mine over a period of a year or so. we were in a relationship of sorts though not living together. i have text messages saying it wasnt a loan, it was never a loan. hes claiming it was for mutual use, ie savings, although he constantly saying it could be used as and when i wanted and he did not have access to the account. i'm not refusing to gift the money back, im just saying im not prepared to give it back whilst he keeps asking for an ever increasing number of items without putting an end to it. he was constantly buying gifts and in fact would get huffy if told not to buy things. all items were gifts and given of his own free will with no coercison.

Expert:  Stuart J replied 10 months ago.



Thank you.

How much money over how long?

What do you learn

?

What does he earn?

 

What was the money used for?



Were they Regular and consistent payments?



What state were your own finances in at the time?



Please define "relationship of sorts"



Do you have any proof of the fact that these were allegedly gifts
or that he didn't want payment, text, emails, notes etc?



What are the personal items and what type of things are they and
what value?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.

It was £10,100 over the course of about 18 months. I earn about £5000 a year as does my husband. The claimant at was earning somewhere in the region of £80 000 although I didnt ever ask him outright about his earnings. The relationship was started with the full knowledge of my husband and we were all close friends. Initially we discussed living together at some point, which was when money was placed into my account.When it became clear to my husband and myself that we were not going to be able to live with the claimant, we suggested he took the money back. He said no, it was fine and encouraged us to use the money any waay we wanted, including laser eye surgery, motor cycle tests etc. We didnt use the money for any of those things, but suggestedthat we use it to

Expert:  Stuart J replied 10 months ago.






Thank you.



This would appear to be a case of a spurned lover? Is a
reasonable assumption?



The money, was it regular consistent amounts or was it arbitrary
sums?



Do you have any proof whatsoever of his encouragement to use the
money to spend on "luxuries"? Do you have any proof of him stating many times
that it wasn't a loan other than your own individual testimonies?



Even when you said that you were not going to live together and
suggested he took the money back, it appears he declined.



Why then, the change of heart?



When did he give you these things? When did he stop giving them? When
did he start asking for it back?



You said that he is asking for other items back and the list
keeps growing. What "other items"

Customer: replied 10 months ago.

i apologies if messages are coming through strangely, my tablet isnt easy to use for this sort of thing. He started to ask for return of items after he left the relationship, when he didnt like the fact that some tools were not returned instantly he asked, because i was too upset to do it.The only proof i have is that my husband was also privvy to the conversations and my adult children also, although they are unaware of the sexual element involved. the claimant was merely a close family friend.The items were given during the course of our relationship, in fact the book was delivered to my house about two days before he ended it. other gifts included cameras and watches for my husband, and some shoes and a tablet and laptop for me. these he has acknowledged as gifts in a without prejudice letter. I completely believe that all items weregifts, as no mention was made of having to hand them back at any time

Expert:  Stuart J replied 10 months ago.


You need to give me all the information I've asked for please.

I need to know how the money arrived? In dribs and drabs? An
arbitrary sums? Weekly? Monthly? I need to know the pattern of the payments



The reason is that neither your husband nor you have a great deal
of income and he is likely to say that he was lending you this money to help
you out.



On the other hand, you can use the argument that because of your
low-income, there is no way that you could ever repay this money and would not
have accepted it and it had not been a gift because you could simply not afford
to take on a loan.



I assume that you have made no other applications (either
accepted or refused) for finance and that you were not being chased for money
by any other creditors in any way

Customer: replied 10 months ago.

the money was paid in about £500 appoximately, every week. at the time it was referred to by him as savings for all of us to use. he in fact asked for £3000 at one point to buy a ca, which i gave to hom as he had no access to the account. when we said living together wasnt going to be an option, in March, we offered to transfer the money to him, he refused. we then spent three months being led to believe that the money could be used to update our property and be repaid on the sale of the house. It was only after he ended the relationship entirely that he requested the money back there and then. we have at least seven text messages stating it was not a loan, it was never a loan, there is no loan.My husband and i have no hire purchase agreements, no loans, only very small credit card bill, paid off regularly and an overdraft of less than £500. We have no ccj's or debts of any sort.

Expert:  Stuart J replied 10 months ago.


I am not going to be able to give you a definitive answer to this
but I am only going to be able to tell you how the court will look at it.

The first thing is that the items that were given to you both are
gifts unless they are the kind of thing which he would have had an interest in
had you all got together. In that respect, it is necessary to look at the items
to see whether they would have been shared in the future or not. That would of
course depend on whether they were given in anticipation of the forthcoming
relationship with you all



with regard to the money, the court will decide whether this was
an arrangement between friends or arrangement intended to create legal relations.



The fact that the money was paid over a protracted period of time
point to it being a gift. The fact that you have no outstanding debts or bills
at the time the money was paid and that the money was used to spend on things
that you would not ordinarily have spent money on, also assist you.



It is not usual to lend someone money unless they actually need
money.



The fact that he said that this was money for you all to use does
not assist you at all. Nor does the fact that at one stage he asked for some
back to buy a car. That points to either it being a loan or it being a money
for you all to use.



If it is indeed money for you all to use, then there is an
argument that he is only entitled to one third of it back and it might be an
idea to offer in that amount on that basis. If you can do that, I can tell you
how to word it in the letter to him so that he does not take that money and
come back and ask you for the rest.



Ultimately, it may be that he is simply a spurned lover and the
items and the money were indeed given as gifts but, in the fullness of time,
when the relationship did not emerge, he has changed his mind. The court will consider a spurned lover angle.



I probably have more experience of this than anyone else quite
simply because I have been on the receiving end of a claim where I actually
lent money to an ex-partner (a long time ago) which was money to buy a car. She
was adamant that she did not want a gift although at the time, I would be happy
to gift it. I can tell you the amount, it was £375 in 1975. What was fatal to
her defence that the money I gave to her was a gift was the fact that she
signed a standing order giving me £25 per month back and paid it for four
months before cancelling it (on the instructions of her new boyfriend who she
had dumped me for and gone off with). After a lot of arguing, we ended up in
the local County Court and she lost although if you read all the newspaper
reports (this one made the dailies!) although it was a victory in court for me,
the newspaper reports did not read the same way! And so, moving swiftly on...



Ultimately, if he decides to pursue you for the money, and the
items, you have no option but to defend his claim. You can try to head him off
at the pass (as the saying goes) by making him an offer now and if you are
minded to do that, I can, as I said, advise you how to do it.



If it does end up in court, the court will simply look at all the
fact and make a decision.



As I said earlier, I cannot give you a definitive answer to this
but I can only tell you how the court looks at it.



Does that answer the question? Can I assist further or answer any
specific queries?



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Rating doesn't close the enquiry at
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Regards.



PS Experts on here are online and off-line all day each day and
weekends so please bear with me if I do not get back to you immediately.



PS. I use voice type, voice recognition typing because I only
type with two fingers and it would take me ages. Sometimes, a computer does not
hear me correctly and you will get an incoherent word. I do try to but
sometimes they slip through. I apologise therefore if anything doesn't make
sense. It is me losing it, not you. Just ask if anything is not clear please.



 

Customer: replied 10 months ago.

thankyou for your answers.We have in fact offered to gift him back the entire sum of money, on the assurance that the matter will be at an end. However, he has simply added more and more items to the list of things required and offered no assurance that this will be at an end. We are really unclear as to what his basis for taking us to court for the money would be, given that we have offered it back as a gift. It seems to us more of a vendetta and less the actions of someone who genuinely wants to negotiate. We had a letter a number of weeks ago in which his solicitor stated there woukd be no court case, given that we had offered the monies and that his client was willing to offer the assurances we asked for.However the assurances have never been forthcoming, merelyincreasing demqnds

Expert:  Stuart J replied 10 months ago.


In that case, this is relatively easy to deal with.

In
cases like this, I never suggest making an offer. I suggest sending a cheque.
Armed with a cheque in the hand for some of the amount he wants, compared to an
argument over the whole of the amount, (and arguments that he may win or lose)
the cheque in the hand is a pretty powerful incentive to accept it.



So
consider deciding how much you would like to pay him (you need to make it
attractive enough) and send it with a covering letter headed "without prejudice
save as to costs". That means that he cannot produce the letter in court as any
proof that you admit owing him any money at all.



Tell
him in the letter that you are offering this money in full and final settlement
of all claims against you, past, present and future, and that by cashing it he accepts
it as such. Tell him that if he does not not accept it, he should return the
cheque to you and if he issues legal proceedings, you will defend them on the
basis of A, B, C, whatever.



Do tell him that this is not your money
(because you do not have it) and that it has come from someone else who has
agreed to discharge the debt for you.



Tell
him that if he does not understand the significance of the letter. He should
take independent legal advice.



I
can tell you this approach works nine times out of 10, provided the offer is
reasonable and not derisory.





For legal reasons which I will not bore you with but which
go back several hundred years, the cheque must not come from you, but must come
from a third party, friend, relative, solicitor, our accountant, neighbour,
girlfriend, wife, husband, whoever, just not from you.





Here is some rather heavy reading http://www.voltimum.co.uk/news/2312/cm/the-law----full-and-final-settlement-.html

Customer: replied 10 months ago.

If i send a without prejudice letter but he still refuses to accept what is being offered, and continues to court, how do i then let the court know that i have made a reasonable offer? It is a confusing area of the law!

Expert:  Stuart J replied 10 months ago.






As I said, don't send him an offer, send him a cheque.



If he returns it to you, then at least you know that he means
business. I was then letting take me to court for the lot.



Without prejudice save as to costs means that,



the offer made is without prejudice that is that you don't make
any admission. You can withdraw the offer at any time until it is accepted.



So if he rejects your offer, he cannot take you to court and then
claim that you will have already admitted to owing him £X because you already
sent a cheque.



"Save as to costs" ...If however you go to court and he gets awarded
less than £X you can produce the letter offering the money and the judge can
very often (if it is not in the Small Claims Court) award all the legal costs
against him (even if he wins) from the date you made the offer.



You cannot produce a without prejudice offer in court as any
admission, but you can produce it if it is needed so that you get some legal
costs.



Does that make sense?



Please don't forget to push the positive rating button or I don't
get paid at all today. The thread does remain open even though the site says it
closes. It does not.

Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 19564
Experience: PGD Law. 20 years legal profession, 6 as partner in High Street practice
Stuart J and 2 other UK Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 10 months ago.

Yes, i think it makes sense. thankyou. one more question just to clarify. Although the claimant has acknowledged in texts that we had a three way relationship, all letters from his solicitor and those directly from him have been addressed to me only. The money was put in an account that only I have access to, not my husband. Does this make my husband enough of a third party to issue a cheque as you suggest or is he liable to be considered too involved? Again many thanks and more apologies for the terrible tablet-induced typing errors!

Expert:  Stuart J replied 10 months ago.


Tablet induced typing errors? Just stop taking the pills! (tee
hee).

It looks fine to me.



I don't think it does make you more remote enough but you can
give your cheque to anyone and simply get them to sign their own cheque. Buy
them a drink for helping out.



Please remember (I have obviously not seen the texts) but you could
rely on any of the texts as proof that
it was a gift, if any of them obviously say that

Customer: replied 10 months ago.

Haha, very good.


I dont have a text that says the money was a gift, but seven in which he says it wasnt a loan! Presumably that isnt quite clear cut enough. I am rather expecting that this will be the one case in ten where a cheque will be turned down, but I suppose I have no control over that and will have to face it if that happens. Fingers crossed that a large cheque puts him off pursuing other items that he gave as gifts. Thankyou for all your help.

Expert:  Stuart J replied 10 months ago.

I think that's pretty good. I would probably handle this slightly differently in that case.

At this stage in time, I would probably put off paying him back and give a transcript of the texts to the solicitor and ask for his comments. Tell him that you will produce the text in court if it goes that far.

Ask him, what his client meant the money was if it was not a loan.

see what he comes back with before you pay him.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.

I sent one of the texts originally and the reply was something along the lines of 'we take the view that courts would not view the money as either a gift or a loan, but his money which should be returned and we think we have a good case'. We have earlier messages referring to it as 'the savings'. We have no evidence for or against other items being gifts, except our own testimony and the balance of probability that someone would loan someone else a number of expensive and less expensive items on a frequent basis, whilst in a relationship and never mention that the items were ever going to need

to be returned. The argument that money or items were for mutual use, would surely mean we are entitled to a proportion of the value of items still retained in the claimants house that were bought at the same time !

We have had no correspondence from his solicitor since aug 12 th , all has come directly from claimant, in without prejudice letters.

Expert:  Stuart J replied 10 months ago.


If the letters are now coming from the claimant and not the solicitor,
that points to the claimant either not paying the solicitor's bill or the
solicitor not thinking that the claimant has a good case. Of course, the solicitor
will tell you what he wants his client to hear and not what you want to hear.

This is one of those things that, if it went to court, would be
decided by a judge and I would not like to bet on the outcome. Certainly, based
upon the facts in front of me, this one could go either way.



The solicitor is arguing (and will obviously believe that the
court will agree with him) that the money belonged to the claimant and was held
on trust. I must say that I find that rather stupid notion because surely the
claimant is capable of looking after his own money! Why would he give it to a
third party to look after?



However one of the things that you want to do is avoid going to
court because you never know the view that the judge is going to take on the
day.



You could raise that issue with the solicitor or, if you want to
put this behind you, simply send the claimant the cheque.



Remember that you have more chance of the claimant's putting the
cheque in the bank than the solicitor who will advise his client to go for the
jugular because that way, the solicitor gets more money in legal costs.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.

Indeed, why give money to a third party and why would a third party agree to look after money? Does the fact that we havent actually spent the money suggest we thought of it as a loan, or merely that we were not the gold diggers the claimant has tried to suggest?I certainly want to put it behind me, that is why the money has been offered on a number of occasions! A life lesson in being wary of people bearing gifts, I think.

Expert:  Stuart J replied 10 months ago.
I think the fact that you didn't spend it points to a gift
Customer: replied 10 months ago.

We have just had a further communication in which the claimant says i need to pay him back £600 that he paid in to my adult daughters account of his own free will. He had no loan agreement with her and no loan agreement with us, nor did we offer to act as guarantors for this money. It was paid in amounts of perhaps £50 -£100 on a few occasions when she was short and he offered to cover it. I assume i can not be held liable for this and that he would have to resort to small claims against my daughter?

Expert:  Stuart J replied 10 months ago.

How old is she? If over 18 and tell him to take it up with her.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.

She is and thats is what i thought. Thankyou again.

Expert:  Stuart J replied 10 months ago.

Glad to help.

 

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