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The claim is in a Magistrates Court and to the Company
A claim the council is making against us under S149 of the Highways Act in respect of the cost they incurred in removing a branch which fell, during a storm, on the Highway from a tree on a small piece of land which the Company owns
This was the question
Hi,I am a director of a UK company, which is a residents association, which has received a summons from our local council in respect of a debt (for £700) for which the company has consistently denied liability and the council has refused to discuss the relevant legal arguments. The council has sought to have the matter brought before a magistrates court rather than a small claims court. The questions I have are around process. As an unfunded entity where our work as directors is pro bono we are representing ourselves:- at what point do we submit our written defence arguments to court- how does court procedure function on the day of the hearing- although we believe we have strong legal argument in support of our defence, in the event we lose, it would appear the council can claim for its (unspecified) legal expenses. How can these be capped/mitigated- if we win, how and when can we claim for our costs and expenses (which although we work on a pro basis, are considerable in terms of our time)- If you are also able to give us a view, the case is in respect of establishing liability for a tree branch which fell on to a public highway from the garden owned by the residents association during a storm, which the council deemed to remove at our expense. Their claim is under S149 of the Highways Act, which by our reading relates to a "person" depositing an item, not something which did not arise through human agency Many thanksTim
Ok, I need to go out for a bit so I will review the response when I am back in a couple for hours, Could you please also cover the 4 points around the court process I raised as well as the case law re liability itself.
Thanks, I am reviewing your answers.
In the meantime you haven't actually answered the liability question
Thank you, that is consistent with our view, so we will fight on.
Just to be clear:
- should we present our dossier of evidence to the court in advance of the first hearing or at the hearing
- given the company has no resources and will be bankrupted by an award of uncapped costs against it, would a magistrate, if unable to clarify the point of law, be able to either deny the council leave to claim its costs or transfer the case to a small claims court where each party bears its own costs?