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Senior Partner
Senior Partner, Solicitor
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 13325
Experience:  30 years experience in business law and related topics such as employment law
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I bought a property in Portugal last December and the electricity

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I bought a property in Portugal last December and the electricity supply did not get transferred to me until Jan 2nd 2013. There was some wrangling with the previous owner (Mr P) about the amount owed between November and end of December and we finally settled with him with a cash payment in May 2013. The new contract for our electricity from 2nd January 2013 is with a different company and we are fully paid up for our electricity usage. Mr P received an additional claim from his electricity company in June 2013 for 1017 Euros and he is claiming we owe the money however has not shown us any paperwork for this. Mr P has had to pay the 1017 Euros in order to maintain his electricity supply at a different property. Our lawyer in Portugal has endeavoured to get to the bottom of the case and Mr P has engaged two different legal representatives to argue his case with the electricity company and to get us to pay. Throughout the proceedings he has been aggressive and arrogant. He has not explained to us the detail of what is involved, provided any bills or meter readings and we are still trying to establish what has gone wrong with the electricity company. Last week he emailed an article to a national newspaper and circulated same to everyone in our residents association claiming that the buyers of his property have ripped him off and are completely unscrupulous. We have not responded to any of his communication as we informed him last summer that if he wanted any further discussion with us, he should go through our lawyer. He has described us and our lawyer as being in collusion and completely dishonest whilst at the same time he has asked to see us to sort out the issue. I instructed my lawyer to contact his representatives and to see what could be done. Mr P is aware of this. We are still waiting on the outcome of deliberations here in Portugal however he is now proposing to make a claim through the Small Claims Court in the UK as we were resident in the UK when we bought the property. Can you advise me if the Small Claims Court has jurisdiction over a case such as this which is still being deliberated and we are endeavouring to understand what has happened? Also, is there a counterclaim opportunity to be made against Mr P for defamation of character and libel?
Thank you for your question. If you are still resident in the uk then yes he can bring proceedings here. If he submits to the jurisdiction of the Uk court by bringing a claim here then yes you can counterclaim for damages for defamation. It is probably to your benefit if he sues in the uk. Otherwise you would have to negotiate a Portuguese court which may not be straight forward unless you are a fluent portuguese speaker.

If you are now resident in Portugal then really the claim should be bought there.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks for this. Given the information provided to you earlier and the fact that we have not seen any paperwork for this electricity bill, will a court hear the case without him having established the facts?

Yes he will need to establish the facts. To bring a claim , the claimant need to provide proper detail. Even if he does not provide it you can ask for copies of any documents and he would need to produce evidence to support his claim. If he just makes a vague claim the court would dismiss it with costs.