I received the following response from the agency (Hyphen):
"I have had advice from our litigation department and legal. I'm afraid there is no notice to be paid based on the points below:(i) The first point to make is that Dennis has no contractual right to demand money or to thereafter bring a claim against Hyphen because he is not a party to the contract signed on the 28th December 2014. The agreement is between Hyphen and Umbrella Contacts Limited. No other person, other than Umbrella Contracts Limited and Hyphen have any rights under the contract.(ii) In accordance with clause 4.2, no fees are payable as Dennis did not work or provide any services for any hours/days. The contractor shall not be entitled to receive payment for time not spent on the assignment;(iii) Ultimately clause 9.3.1 allows Hyphen to terminate the assignment without notice or liability where the client requests that the personnel be removed from the assignment. Umbrella Contracts Ltd accepts that termination in these circumstances shall arise as a direct result of the decision of the client and it will have no claim against Hyphen (clause 9.4).
So do I proceed with County Court costs etc?
It helps if you're right and I don't lose any more money. But I am concerned that you can give such quick advice without even seeing the contract document.
I'm concerned that the advice you're giving me may not be correct. I sent your response to the agency and their lawyers responded as follows:
Dear Mr Robinson,
Tim Robins forwarded your query to me in the legal team. We act on behalf of our group company Hyphen Limited in respect of this matter.
Tim has made me aware of the background to this matter. As you know I have previously advised Tim that you have no contractual right to demand money or to bring a claim against Hyphen because you are not a party to the contract signed on the 28th November 2014. I note that you now state that you are not looking to claim contractual damages for breach of contract but some form of refund/compensation. Presumably this refund is for the notice period that you say is owed to you.
My understanding is that you are asking for notice to be paid in respect of a contract that you are not a party to. Further, in order for you to bring a claim for compensation, you must be able to show that Hyphen owed some sort of duty of care or some other duty owed to you directly. The fundamental point is that Hyphen has no direct relationship, contractual or otherwise with you. Hyphen’s relationship was with Umbrella Contracts Limited.
You have not fully particularised your losses. I am sure you have been made aware that to bring a claim against Hyphen you will need to pay at the very minimum the court fee to bring an initial claim and the hearing fee if the matter goes to trial before a judge. We do not consider it to be cost effective for you to pursue this course.
I have set out our client’s position and trust that this now concludes the matter.
Group Legal ServicesAdecco Group UK &Ireland
Does your advice remain that I should proceed with a County Court claim at no loss to myself?