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Joshua, Lawyer
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 25448
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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I have just lost my case in a small claims court where I was

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I have just lost my case in a small claims court where I was shocked to how one sided the whole session was. Pretty much anything I said was dismissed to the extent that what ever I said wasnt even aknowledged! The judge was more concerned with how the defendant had been mistreated than I, who had filed the case against the defendant for that very reason. It was as though I wasnt even in the room! My question is, do I have any grounds to appeal as in my opinion it was ultimately a shockingly unfair decision or do I sit back down like a good little underdog?

Joshua :

Thanks for your question. Please kindly RATE my answer when you are satisfied

Joshua :

I am sorry to learn that you have been unsuccessful.

Joshua :

Could you advise how much you were claiming and when judgement was handed down please?

Customer: The claim as a sum of money was £615 for a complete new bath. The reality of the claim was just for the final item of an order being a piece of glass. That is all I wanted. Not sure what "judgement handed down" could mean I'm sorry.
Joshua :

Sorry - handed down just means when the judge made his decision. Do you know the date?

Customer: Todays date being the 13th of May.
Joshua :

Thanks. Finally did you request permission to appeal the judges judgement?

Customer: No
Joshua :

Thanks.You may wish to consider appealing the judgement. Appeals have to be filed within 21 days of judgement so you need to keep an eye on the calendar. You will want to ask the court for a transcript of the hearing and judgement as you will need this to determine the judge's reasoning to ensure that your logic and thinking in respect of your appeal is correct

Joshua :

Appeals are dealt with under rule 52 of the civil procedure rules. Ideally you should have sought permission from the County Court during the hearing to appeal the judgement but you were not to know this of course. If you did not, or permission was denied you would need to make your application directly to the Court of Appeal using an appellant's notice. The Court of Appeal form you require is form N164.

Joshua :

In order to succeed, you need to identify a significant error of procedure or alternatively that the decision is demonstrably wrong on the law or the facts. The usual test for this is that although you may disagree with the judge's decision if objectively the district judge could properly have come to the conclusion he did on the above basis on the evidence presented, the appeal is likely to fail.

Customer: The judge recited his reasoning at the end, which would sound reasonable, hence my fear of an appeal. I dont think my part was considered fairly and without judgement, which is my question. Do I just accept that CC decisions can go against you regardless of whether it was blatantly unfair or not?
Joshua :

Most appeals of small claims decisions last under an hour and unlike the SCC you may be liable for costs if unsuccessful as may the other part if they are unsuccessful.The appeal itself is likley to be heard by a senior circuit judge in the county court.

Customer: He did so on evidence given but there was no mention of the key elements of my evidence. Thus being the reason I think it was incredibly unfair.
Customer: I am aware of cost liabilites, etc. the reason I am seeking legal advice is whether I have grounds to appeal? Considering my evidience had been dismissed?
Joshua :

You can review the procedure the judge should have followed here:

Joshua :

This is the appeals form you require if you decide to appeal:

Customer: That sort of information is readily available from the courts and on the web. I am seeking legal advice to whether I have grounds for appeal - which is what the courts suggested I do.
Joshua :

SCC proceedings are informal and the judge may adopt any approach he wishes providing it is fair. If you can identify a breach of this requirement where he refused to hear evidence you consider key to your case then you may have grounds for a successful appeal. In order to do so on these grounds you would need to effectively demonstrate that key parts of your evidence were not heard or considered by the judge and accordingly the proceedings were not fair and further that had the evidence been considered by the judge that it is reasonable to conclude that there is a reasonable chance that a different decision may have been reached.

Joshua :

An appeal on these grounds would normally only be sensible to consider if you believe the evidence in question is fundamental to your case and that it is strong evidence against the other party and that it was not considered by the judge.

Joshua :

Alternatively if you can show that the judges decision erred on facts in light of that evidence your position is potentially stronger still.

Customer: I believe that if my evidence had been considered properly, then there is a very large possibility the outcome would have been very different.
Joshua :

Are you able to very briefly outline the evidence that you believe was not considered? A very brief summary should suffice initially at least..?

Customer: I was refused a refund (think I am entitled)
Customer: Apologies - Many errors were made by the defendant that were not even aknowledeged.
Customer: There are discrepancies in drawings and images which inevitably caused the whole situation.
Joshua :

Thanks. When was the bath installed roughly and can you briefly summarise the sorts of errors you refer to? Have you obtained a quote and report for rectifying the errors from an alternative contractor?

Customer: These being the three main facts that were dismissed.
Customer: The initial claim of £615 would be the cost to rectify. To clarify - other factors were not considered, such as the many months I had to without bathing facilities. The erros were two wrong deliveries, that one the judge claimed I wasnt telling the truth and the second delivery wasnt even aknowledeged. The bath was installed a year ago. I have tried a mediating service with consumer advice who actualy suggested court action due to the defendants uncooperative manor.
Joshua :

Thanks. Did you obtain a report from an alternative installer as to the installation and work required to rectify the same? If so was this considered?

Customer: The installation was done by myself, which ironiaclly the judge seemed fit to criticise!
Customer: The claim would have been for much more to use someone else to fit the new items.
Joshua :

Thanks. Almost there I hope - could you clarify if there were mistakes as to the supply of fittings and or design why did you go ahead with the installation?

Customer: There were discrepancies with drawngs and images prior to the initial purchase, hence requesting a refund. When refused a refund I was promised I would get the alternative part I required to enable the fitment. Only after installation did the tooic of extra cost come into the discussions and now I am being refused any help at all.
Joshua :

Thanks and were these discussions in writing or verbal?

Customer: Unfortunately predominantly verbal.
Joshua :

I see. I can see how in these circumstances such a case can go wrong. There are two principle weak points to your claim - -namely your decision to install yourself which introduces the possibility to claim an element of negligence on your part and second that much of your subsequent discussions were verbal which is never ideal from a court proceedings point of view because it leaves so much room for interpretation and argument as to facts.

Joshua :

In such circumstances presentation is particularly important which is a skill which litigators hone over many years. My view would be unless you feel that you can succinctly present your evidence and a very clear manner in the form of a concise statement supported by clearly referenced supporting evidence where relevant and that statement and evidence on the balance of probability clearly shows a breach of contract on the part of the supplier an appeal could be a questionable endeavour

Joshua :

I do not suggest you do not try but if you feel that the presentation of your claim is deficient in any significant way in respect of an appeal you are risking possible further disappointment and costs. On the other hand if you consider that you are able to concisely present your case and evidence such as you have and that your presentation presents a very clear picture of breach on the suppliers part you may decide you wish to proceed. If you are uncertain a useful test if you are unrepresented is to prepare your bundle and ask a friend or colleague whose judgement you respect and ask them to be honest with you as to what they think. If on balance you have doubts about the presentation of your case you may decide not to proceed with an appeal but if you feel confident in it then an appeal can be worth pursuing remembering what you must show at an appeal as discussed above.

Customer: I will have to look at the appeal process and see for myself whether it is worth proving my innocence and that I am right or to accept the system can sometimes be unfair.
Customer: Could I ask one last question?
Joshua :

Of course no system of justice is or can be perfect. The golden rule for future situations (though it does nothing to assist here) is to document agreements in writing (emails etc). Verbal agreements are so very difficult when it comes to legal proceedings and in the absence of confirmatory independent witness statements a judge has often little better but to decide who he believes on the day - such a circumstances is bound to produce at least the occasional wrong decision.

Joshua :

Of course...

Customer: With regards XXXXX XXXXX for a refund - two incorrect deliveries were made before the final third delivery. After becoming aware that the item was not what I expected due to the discrepancies mentioned, was entitled to the refund I requested and was the defendant wrong by refusing to do so? According to my consumer advice representative, the consumer is entitled to a refund regardless, under the Consumers rights act.
Customer: Unopened and unused obviously.
Joshua :

Was this a mail order item? i.e. you ordered over the net or phone rather than in store?

Customer: Yes
Joshua :

Thanks. Did you make a request in writing to cancel your order or was it verbal?

Customer: Again......verbal.
Joshua :

The Distance Selling Regulations 2000 provide you with a right to cancel for any reason whatsoever for 7 working days afer the day you receive the goods. However they require that you give notice in writing. This 7 day period is extended if you are not given a notice by the seller electronically or in hard copy form advising you of this right. The failure to cancel in writing can be fatal to your rights under these regulations.

Joshua :

Alternatively you can reject goods under the Sale of Goods Act if it is defective but this right only exists for about a week after you receive the goods. Again you must give notice to the seller that you reject the goods.

Customer: Ok thanks. You have given me good sound advice and information as to whether I choose to appeal the unfair trial or not. Thanks for your time.
Joshua :

If you can show that the goods are not as described, not fit for purpose or of satisfactory quality you have a right to claim damages for up to potentially six years but you are required to mitigate your losses and you would need to show that your installing the defective items was appropriate at the time in all the circumstances to show that you are entitled to more than simply the cost of return and acquisition of the items from elsewhere. If you are relying on a verbal promise to give you the correct part to justify this alone this is a less than ideal basis on which to pursue a claim though it is not necessarily bound to fail.

Joshua :

A pleasure. If I can continue to assist further please do come back to me.

Joshua :

If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to rate my service to you today. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me.

Customer: Thanks again.
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