What's in a name?
When a dispute arises in relation to unpaid invoices people often try to manage the situation themselves instead of seeking legal advice as they are concerned about being charged extortionate fees for a relatively small debt.
Although the small claims track in the county court is relatively ‘user friendly’, an incorrect claim form can lead to an incorrect, and ultimately unenforceable, judgment. This is something I have seen a number of times in the last couple of months.
One such case was Mr A, who was owed approximately £3,500.00 in respect of 4 unpaid invoices by a client, ‘B & C’. Mr A did not want to incur legal fees so prepared the claim form and particulars of claim himself. ‘B & C’ did not respond to the claim form and Mr A requested judgment in default against ‘B & C’. Judgment was entered against ‘B & C’.
Mr A then tried to enforce the judgment against ‘B & C’. This is when matters became ‘unstuck’. ‘B & C’ was a husband and wife partnership, it was not a legal entity in its own right. The claim should have been issued against ‘Mr and Mrs B trading as B & C’. The importance this has is that ‘B & C’ did not have any assets in its own name, everything was in the name of Mr and Mrs B. There was no way of enforcing the judgment as it stood.
There were a number of options open to Mr A, and eventually he opted to reissue the claim against ‘Mr and Mrs B trading as B & C’. This caused a considerable delay in Mr A recovering the monies he was owed and he ended up incurring more legal fees than he would have if he had approached us initially.
We offer a free 30 minute interview and can prepare your claim form and particulars of claim for a fixed fee.
The name and address of the defendant might seem like the relatively straightforward part of the claim, but if incorrect can have costly consequences.
Please contact Eleanor Broe if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article.