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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10915
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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I am a director of a limited company.The company fell behind

Customer Question

I am a director of a limited company.The company fell behind with rental payments to the landlord. I wrote to the owner of the building and suggested that if he wished he could send future invoices to me ie I become liable not the limited company. I did`nt receive a response and continued to receive the quarterly rental invoices.it was only when I received a summons personally for non payment did I appreciate what had happened with the invoices. Previous to my letter to the owner,all invoices were in the name of the limited company.The invoice following my letter and all subsequent invoices where in my name followed by the limited company name but I never spotted this subtle difference. I defended the summons because as far as I was concerned the invoices continued to be made out to the limited company. However I lost and the owner was awarded judgement.The judge said that the fact that my name was added to the invoices (along with the company name) showed that these invoices became my personal responsibility. Can I challenge this judgement?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.

Alex Watts :

Hello my name is Alex and I will help you with this. Please note that I am a working Solicitor and may be on and offline as I have to attend Court and meet with clients, even at weekends. As such you may not get an instant response when you reply as this is not an ‘on demand’ live service, but rest assured I will be giving your question my immediate attention upon return. There is no need to wait here, you will get an email when I reply.

Alex Watts :

Is the lease in your name or the Company name please?

Alex Watts :

Do you still have the letter saying invoices in your name but you would not be personally liable please?

JACUSTOMER-mavdnf5u- :

Hello alex,

Alex Watts : Hello
JACUSTOMER-mavdnf5u- :

Hello alex,

JACUSTOMER-mavdnf5u- :

apologies for the delay in responding i did`nt realise that you had replied within the payment confirmation email!

JACUSTOMER-mavdnf5u- :

I will get the hang of this in a minute!

Alex Watts : Yes.
Alex Watts : You attended the hearing I assume?
JACUSTOMER-mavdnf5u- :

We never signed a lease.We received quarterly rental invoices addressed to the limited company. I have the letter I sent proposing that future invoices could be put in my name but I received no specific response. When the next quarterly invoice was received my name was put on the invoice followed by the company name. To be honest I did`nt notice this change until legal action was taken against me. All previous invoices were addressed to the limited company with no mention of my name.My argument was that all invoices continued to be addressed to the limited company albeit with my name also added.

JACUSTOMER-mavdnf5u- :

Yes I attended the hearing

Alex Watts : But you attended the hearing and have evidence to the judge.
JACUSTOMER-mavdnf5u- :

My argument was that I did`nt receive a direct response to my letter and then I think 2 months later the next invoice was sent which showed my name added.The judge said that by adding my name to the invoice the landlord was accepting my proposal.I argued that the invoices thereafter should therefore had just named me and not the limited company.

Alex Watts : Did you attend court?
JACUSTOMER-mavdnf5u- :

Yes I attended the court hearing where judgement was awarded against me

Alex Watts :

Ok - was it a District Judge?

Alex Watts :

Did he give reasons for his decision?

JACUSTOMER-mavdnf5u- :

Yes a District Judge. He referred to the letter I had sent proposing that the invoices be raised in my name ( ie I become liable) and that it was sufficient that the landlord added my name to the invoices (along with the company name though which is my issue) which further reference.

Alex Watts :

Did you seek permission to appeal?

JACUSTOMER-mavdnf5u- :

No

Alex Watts :

How much was Judgment for?

JACUSTOMER-mavdnf5u- :

Do I have grounds to set the judgement aside?

JACUSTOMER-mavdnf5u- :

£!600 approx

Alex Watts :

No.

Alex Watts :

You can't set aside. You can only set aside if there was not a hearing

Alex Watts :

What you would have to do is appeal.

Alex Watts :

However this was a small claim

Alex Watts :

You first need to seek leave to appeal which can only be done on limited grounds

Alex Watts :

1) the judge erred in law

Alex Watts :

2) the judge erred in procedure

Alex Watts :

3) the decision made was one which was so unreasonable, no judge could have made it

JACUSTOMER-mavdnf5u- :

I guess I am looking at 1) above??

Alex Watts :

You need to complete an Appellants notice

Alex Watts :

Then it goes before a Circuit who decides whether to grant perrmission

Alex Watts :

If the CJ refuses then you can ask for an oral hearing for permission

Alex Watts :

Even once you have permission you will have to attend a hearing so the Judge can decide whether the first Judge was wrong

Alex Watts :

If the permission is refused at an oral hearing you need to seek leave from the Court of Appeal.

Alex Watts :

But if you attend an appeal and lose then you would be liable for all legal costs of the other side

Alex Watts :

If there is an appeal hearing and you lose, expect the costs to be around £2500

Alex Watts :

This is something you need to be warned of.

Alex Watts :

However if you accepted invoices in your personal name and these invoices were paid then sadly I am of the view that the Judge did not necessarily err in law.

Alex Watts :

The real risk is the costs implications because it goes from being a small claim

JACUSTOMER-mavdnf5u- :

Is there a time limi,t payment is due next Tuesday and do have grounds in your opinion

Alex Watts :

You have 21 days to apply for permission.

Alex Watts :

I think your grounds are weak.

Alex Watts :

You could seek for permission on the paper and if refused you could leave it there and then

Alex Watts :

But even seeking leave for permission the cost is around £100 or so

Alex Watts :

£115 actually

Alex Watts :

I am sorry if this is not necessarily the answer you want and certainly not the one I want to give you, but I have a duty to be honest

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

JACUSTOMER-mavdnf5u- :

As I mentioned previously had the invoices been raised in my name that would be fine.but just adding my name just before the company name seemed that nothing had changed. I did`nt realise until the court process that the invoices prior to my letter were addressed to the company and no mention of me

Alex Watts :

Yes I understand.

Alex Watts :

I just fear that if you appeal and lose it will cost you more than the £1600

Alex Watts :

But I would seek leave to appeal and if it is refused at least you know where you stand.

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

JACUSTOMER-mavdnf5u- :

Yes I am just surprised that by adding my name followed by the company name on invoices makes me liable for payment.Had the invoices stated my name only and not the company name I would have no problem.I did`nt realise until proceedings had commenced that I was not mentioned by name on their earlier invoices. I receive invoices on a regular basis (eg BT) that are first addressed to me then the company but that does not make me personally liable!!

Alex Watts :

Yes. Sadly if you had done something initially then you could have done something.

Alex Watts :

But on the basis you did not - sadly another Judge may take the same view

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you?

Alex Watts :

If this answers your question could I invite you leave feedback on my service which I hope has been excellent today, if you need more information or help then please click reply.

Please remember that I am always happy to help if you have future questions, even if I am in Court I can normally respond within a few hours. For future information, please start them with ‘For Alex W’.

Please bookmark my profile if you wish for future help: http://www.justanswer.co.uk/law/expert-alexwatts/

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