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Alex J.
Alex J., Solicitor
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Background Contracted with sole trader/dendant to provide

Customer Question

Background

Contracted with sole trader/dendant to provide goods, only 60% of the goods were supplied. Outstanding goods valued at £19000 some two years ago. In addition, Trading Standards will be bringing separately various criminal charges against the same person. At first hearing, defendant failed to attend county court. Judge asked if I would reserve all documents on the defendant including a defence pack to his private residential address. Second hearing date is nearing; I have my suspicions that again the defendant will fail to attend.

Questions

What actions/powers can the court invoke if defendant fails to attend?
Can judgement be awarded in his absence?
Is it likely that the court would impose alternative orders if he fails to comply with a judgement order (eg confiscation, compensation, garnishment, charging).
At first hearing, judge asked if I new defendants financial status. How can I establish this?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alex J. replied 3 years ago.
Hi

Thank you for your question and welcome to just answer.

Why did the court ask you to re serve the defence pack? Has a defence been filed by the defendant?

If the defendant fails to file a defence you can apply for a default Judgment under civil procedure rule 12.1 . You can then use this to enforce against his assets.

The only way to find out in detail what his assets are would be to hire a private investigator. However as a starting point you could search 192.com to see if he has any addresses registered against his name. Then search the Land Registry to see if he owns the property. If you get a judgment you can apply for a charging order against his house. I would also search his name at Companies House, see if he holds any directorships or has any known places of business. You could potentially send the bailiffs in.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards

AJ
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

 


When I submitted the original claim plus particulars of claim to the County Court, I assumed that a Defence Pack was also served on the defendant. From Trading Standards, I learnt that his company address was just a forwarding point to another address in East London. The judge considered that because of these circumstances, the defendant may not have had the documents etc served on him. As I had details of the defendants private address via Trading Standards, I have assumed that was why I had to re-serve the defence pack along with the original claim etc and complete a Certificate of Service.



To date, I believe that the defendant has not filed a defence.



Interesting remarks regarding default judgement, I will read up on Civil Procedure 12.1.



At the time of contracting, the defendant was a sole trader, hence I am pursuing him. Also, it is easy for companies to be created and the assets moved from one to the other. The company he owned along with other associated companies were registered in Dec 2009 which are all now the subject of criminal investigations by Trading Standards. I am therefore fairly confident that he will be listed as a director of each of them but will carry out a search.



It is popular today for individuals to place their various assets into offshore asset trusts etc. This is usually done for tax purposes. If he has placed all his assets in a trust including any properties, I assume this negates the power of a charging order/bailiffs etc. Can courts invoke orders etc to seize assets that are technically not in his name but held in a trust to meet creditors demands etc?


Customer: replied 3 years ago.

 


When I submitted the original claim plus particulars of claim to the County Court, I assumed that a Defence Pack was also served on the defendant. From Trading Standards, I learnt that his company address was just a forwarding point to another address in East London. The judge considered that because of these circumstances, the defendant may not have had the documents etc served on him. As I had details of the defendants private address via Trading Standards, I have assumed that was why I had to re-serve the defence pack along with the original claim etc and complete a Certificate of Service.



To date, I believe that the defendant has not filed a defence. If he had filed a defence,


would the claimant be intitled to receive a copy.



Interesting remarks regarding default judgement, I will read up on Civil Procedure 12.1.



At the time of contracting, the defendant was a sole trader, hence I am pursuing him. Also, it is easy for companies to be created and the assets moved from one to the other. The company he owned along with other associated companies were registered in Dec 2009 which are all now the subject of criminal investigations by Trading Standards. I am therefore fairly confident that he will be listed as a director of each of them but will carry out a search.



It is popular today for individuals to place their various assets into offshore asset trusts etc. This is usually done for tax avoidance purposes. If he has placed all his assets in a trust including any properties, I assume this negates the power of a charging order/bailiffs etc. Can courts invoke orders etc to seize assets that are technically not in his name but held in a trust to meet creditors demands etc?



Expert:  Alex J. replied 3 years ago.
Hi

Thank you.

I note your concerns about him disposing of his assets. A person cannot just transfer their assets to another entity at nil value to avoid creditors. An trustee in bankruptcy would be able to unwind any transfers to trusts or companies aimed at delibrately avoiding creditors.

Did he transfer all his assets to a limited company? Did you serve him at his personal address?

Kind regards

AJ
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

 


Hi,


 


Thank you for your response and your initial response.


 


From what I understand , assets including income can be transferred into an asset trust at nil value. Therefore, you own nothing but still retain control. These schemes are recognised and approved by HMRC.


 


Regarding my situation, I am not sure if taking the matter as far as a trustee in bankruptcy is within the scope of my claim even if I am awarded default judgement. I ask for your advice here please. I have checked with Land Registry today and it appears he does not hold title to his current residential address.


 


I believe that In late 2012, the defendant transferred assets from one company to another limited company. (I have no knowledge of all his personal assets). Creditors were advised that this company was supposedly going to raise convertible debenture certificates to meet creditors. By all accounts, this company have now “vaporised”. I think Trading Standards may be investigating these asset movements.


 


On the advice of the judge, I did re-serve directly at the defendant’s personal residential address including another defence pack via first class mail. The county court have confirmed today that they would have sent copies of his defence to me had they received any, however none has been filed to date and the next hearing is 5th Aug.


 

Expert:  Alex J. replied 3 years ago.
Hi

Thank you.

Firstly to appoint a trustee in bankruptcy you would have to make him bankrupt first. We are a little way from that stage but the point is a trustee can set aside any transaction where it was done prior to bankruptcy with the intention of avoiding creditors

Secondly was the defendant a director of both these companies and did they have the same or similar names?

If no defence has been served you should look into applying for a default judgment?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards

AJ
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Thank you for your response.


 


I have been checking the web site Company Check and the following is what it states:-


 


Defendant


 


Xxxx holds 0 current appointment, has resigned from 2 companies and held appointments at 2 dissolved companies. Xxxx is not registered as holding any current appointments.

The combined cash at bank value for all of xxxx current businesses is £0, with a combined assets value of £0 and liabilities of £0. Roles associated with xxxx within the recorded businesses include: Director, Company Secretary.


 


Regarding the defendants company who I contracted with when he was a sole trader:


 


Business Overview


The xxxx Limited is an Other business incorporated in England & Wales on 3rd December 2009. Their business activity is recorded as Other Business Support Service Activities N.e.c.. The xxxx Limited is run by 1 current members. and 1 company secretary. 1 shareholders own the total shares within the company. It is not part of a group.

The company has not yet filed accounts. The xxxx Company Limited's risk score was amended on 17/02/2012.


 


 


From this, I can only assume that he could hold share capital but no director positions. The company who were supposed to provide the convertible debenture certificates has been dissolved, the assets could be anywhere I guess.


 


I guess at this stage, I only need to worry about being awarded awarded judgement and seeing whether he ignores that. Would raising the matter to a High Court level after that be beneficial in terms of enforcement or can that be done via CCJ.


 


Do you feel that the 192.com investigation will still prove beneficial.


 


Look forward to your response.


 


Martin


 


 


 

Expert:  Alex J. replied 3 years ago.
Hi

Thank you.

For £19000 it is probably not worth taking it to the high court until you need to enforce. Taking it to the High Court will increase the costs and therefore you will have more money to have to recover.

I think it is definitely worth checking 192.com - the search will cost about a £1 and it may tell you if he owns his own home or has any associated addresses.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards

AJ
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

 


Hi AJ,


 


Thank you very much for your response, apologisies for the delay.


 


To ensure I was searching for the correct individual, I asked Trading Standards to confirm the defendants name for checking 192.com. They advised that under interview, he admitted using four aliases


 


As far as I can tell, I have got full background details of the defendant. Although three others were listed with the same name, his was the only one resident in the area who held/ had held director positions.


 


Certain bits of information suggest I have the right individual. He has 100% share holding in a related company to the the one the defendant ran but no properties are listed as registered in his name. The address within the report is not the same as the one given by Trading Standards.


 


Trying to formulate a realistic picture of this person is proving difficult, he is definitely a "slippery character.


 


In the absence of property or share capital seizure, I will perhaps try for a court order to enforce seizure of goods at a storage where I believe he holds assets.


 


Regards


 


Martin


 

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