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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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Hi there, I am an interior designer and was asked in October

Resolved Question:

Hi there,

I am an interior designer and was asked in October of last year to prepare a design for the Romanian Cultural Institute. They never paid me and I am now taking them to the small claims court. They are disputing the claim, but when they received the notice they called me to say that they are prepared to come to an arrangement with me if I meet them informally. When I asked for the offer to be put in writing they proceeded to threats and said that I would not win the case in any event because they have diplomatic immunity (they are part of the Romanian Embassy). I never got an offer in writing and today I received the notice of the defended claim and do not understand much of the legal terminology or what steps exactly I need to take. Also, the are a huge institution with probably a well appointed legal team behind them and I am a sole trader with no legal back-up. Where do I look for help?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.

Alex Watts :

Hello my name is XXXXX XXXXX 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 :

Who instructed you, the Embassy or the Institute please?

Customer:

The Cultural Institute. Later on I found out that in fact they in fact have no independent budget and no autonomy over how they spend it - everything has to be cleared by the Ministry of Culture in Romania. However, this was not made clear to me from the start, just as the fact that it was a pitch. As far as I was concerned I had been contracted to provide a feasibility study.

Alex Watts :

Well they are not part of the Embassy

Alex Watts :

You need to write and set out your losses and request a payment within 14 days or say you will go to Court within 14 days. You should make sure you send this recorded delivery and keep a copy.


 


If they do not pay you then you can issue proceedings in the County Court. You can either do this online at: www.moneyclaim.gov.uk or by completing form N1 http://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/n001-eng.pdf and take it to your local County Court.


 


The Court will then issue a claim which a copy will be sent to the Defendant who will have a limited time to defend it, if not you can enter Judgment and enforce.


 


If the matter is defended it will be set down for a trial. If the claim is for £10,000 or less it will be a small claim and you will not need representation.


 


Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer:

Like I say, we have been through all this. Today I have received their notice of defended claim and I don't understand how best to proceed. Do all the parts on the small claims track need filling in? What about the mediation? The hearing venue? Do I need a solicitor in court? Will the judge be able to go through every single exchange of emails in chronological order to make sense of who is right and who is wrong. After all, at the moment it's their word against mine. What if they show up in court with a solicitor?

Alex Watts :

Yes you need to fill the Directions Questionnaire in

Alex Watts :

You dont need a Solicitor

Alex Watts :

The claim will be held at your local County Court

Alex Watts :

They can show up with a Solicitor - but its a small claim.

Alex Watts :

You can try mediation if you wish

Alex Watts :

But the Judge only needs to find, on balance that the sums are owed

Alex Watts :

However if you did the work and they have not paid - that is enough to win

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything else?

Customer:

At the moment the allocated court is Northampton and both myself and the defendant are based in London. Does it mean I have to ask for the court to be changed?

Alex Watts :

No - that will be done automatically, you dont need to do anything

Alex Watts :

Does that help?

Customer:

How in-depth will the judge go into the evidence in a small claims court? I am asking as the defendant is denying all of their verbal instructions. How long is the case likely to last?

Alex Watts :

Each party will be asked to submit their evidence 14 days before a hearing.

Alex Watts :

The case is only likely to last 2 hours.

Alex Watts :

You need to show on balance, payment was due, thats it - not beyond doubt

Alex Watts :

Does that help?

Customer:

Yes, thanks.

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’.


 


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