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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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My company is the defendant in a forthcoming County Court hearing

Resolved Question:

My company is the defendant in a forthcoming County Court hearing (Small Claims Track) for a disputed debt with a commercial landlord. It’s a relatively small sum and does not justify us appointing solicitors to act.
No details of the claim, nor supporting documents (Trial Bundle) have been submitted (to us) by the claimant at any stage in the process. Not with the original Claim Form, and not since the Notice of Trial date has been set (now just 8 days away).
How will the judge view this failure by the claimant to provide evidence ?
We believe we have a good defence which we have submitted to the court, but what effect does the claimant seeing our defence have when we see no details of the claim against us beyond the amount ?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.
Alex Watts :

Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.

Alex Watts :

Have you filed any evidence in support of your defence please?

Customer:

Yes. Full details were given on the original claim form returned to the court, and more recently supporting emails as evidence to form a Trial Bundle sent to the court. There are no contract or lease forms as the landlord never issued any in the 6 months we occupied the property, hence the emails to form evidence (hopefully).

Alex Watts :

Ok - then the Judge may or may not allow them to speak at the trial.

Alex Watts :

Evidence must be filed and served 14 days before the hearing

Alex Watts :

In a small claim there is no trial bundle

Alex Watts :

But each party must send to the court and other side all documents on which they week to rely upon 14 days before the hearing

Alex Watts :

If they do not then a Judge can refuse to allow or permit any evidence.

Alex Watts :

The Claimant brings the claim and has to prove the claim

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer:

Hi Alex, This is how I imagined it would be, as I realise the Small Claims process is less formal. I'm just a little intimated by all the caveats of "may not allow", as it seems there is little to force the claimant to prove the case, and quite an onus on us to defend it fully.

Customer:

I used the phrase Trial Bundle as it is referred to in the Notice of Trial date form.

Customer:

One thing that is bothering me is that the claimant has now introduced a debt collection business into the mix (17th Oct) for the first time (and for a differing amount). I have informed them of the forthcoming court hearing. If I succeed in defending this claim and win at court can the claimant legitimately use another method to resurrect the demand ? At what point does it become a breach of the Administration of Justice Act due to pursuing a debt that is not owed.

Alex Watts :

No - you are wrong. The claimant brings the claim and has to prove it.

Alex Watts :

If its a small claim then a trial bundle is not normal for a small claim.

Alex Watts :

If the claim is dismissed then no, it can't be pursued any other way

Alex Watts :

Does that clarify?

Customer:

It does. I assume what may happen will be no claim proof will be forthcoming, we should win our defence in that case, and he's hoping the debt collectors will suitably intimate us into submission (they don't have the best of reputations on google). All questions for another day in that case. Thanks for your help, it's pretty much re-enforced my understanding. Thank you.

Alex Watts :

Yes happy to help.

Alex Watts :

Am I able to help with anything else today?

Customer:

No I think we're done for today. I'll be back for more info when the debt collectors start to try to get around the court process.

Alex Watts :

Great. Can I ask you to rate my answer before you go today - the button should be at the bottom of the screen

Alex Watts :

If you need more help please click reply

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