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Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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Hi Ben, I am about to write to a search and selection firm

Resolved Question:

Hi Ben,

I am about to write to a search and selection firm that my company has a potential dispute with. In August 2013 they contracted to find two candidates for fees of £60k, split £20k on order, £20k on shortlist and £20k on acceptances. 9 months later we have paid £40k, but have no people on board - one was hired and proved unsuitable within about 6 weeks and one candidate was offered but refused the role. We want to terminate the relationship and, ideally, recover some fees as we have no faith after all this time that they can deliver candidates that are of interest in a reasonable timeframe. They on the other hand are pressing for payment of another £10k.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.please leave it with me. I am in a tribunal today and will get back this afternoon if that is ok with you

Ben Jones : Thinking about it this is more of a commercial litigation issue so probably best dealt with by one of my colleagues, so I will opt put and open it to other to answer. Someone should be in touch soon, thanks
Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.
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.

Did you sign any form of contract with them please?


Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes, there was a contract along the lines of the commercial terms I described above. Basically they have billed £50k, which includes £10k for the hire that didn't work out. They have agreed to replace that hire, if we pay the £10k. We have lost faith in their ability to provide that replacement or the second hire still due.


Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.
What does the contract say about when payments become due and if people refuse or are unsuitable please?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Payments are due:

20k on acceptance of proposal

20k on presentation of shortlist (there is no definition of shortlist)

20k on engagement of the applicant.


The contract says nothing about people who refuse or are unsuitable, save to allow for the replacement of a hired candidate that leaves within 3 months.


We have a basic issue with the quality of candidates that have been suggested and also, based partly on their own admissions, their ability now to provide acceptable candidates in a reasonable timeframe.

Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.
What is it you want to achieve?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

We don't believe that we have received value for the £40k already paid and they are 'demanding' the additional £10k. We would (reluctantly) probably settle at the £40k and both parties walk away, but, at least as a negotiating stance, I would like to push back and give them some concern about whether a court would even give them credit for the £40k.

Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.
Ok - how much are you looking for back?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

We could reasonably dispute something between £20-30k, so would be looking to recover £10-20k of what paid.

Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.
You need to write and set out your losses and request a refund 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 refund you then you can issue proceedings in the County Court. You can either do this online at: or by completing form N1 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. Over £10,000 then if defended you will need a Solicitor to represent you.

You can argue that they are in breach of contract by failing to act with all reasonable skill and care pursuant to Section 13 of the Sale and Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982.

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?


Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Do you think a court would be reasonably sympathetic? After all, we have paid £40k for no return and also suggested a more than reasonable settlement.

Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.
If they have breached the terms then yes, I do think you will win.


Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience: Solicitor with 5+ years experience
Ash and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hi Alex, we have been unable to reach agreement and now the other party are threatening to issue a winding up order. Would that be an appropriate step for them to take in these circumstances?