How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Ash Your Own Question

Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
75100385
Type Your Law Question Here...
Ash is online now

I was taken to small claims court and before a date was set

Resolved Question:

I was taken to small claims court and before a date was set I informed the court that I would be out of the country for 2 months. When I returned I found out that the hearing had taken place without me and that I had lost because I failed to turn up. The court had apparently telephoned me twice but I had not answered. I have found out today that the court has placed money in my bank account on hold.
I have again telephoned and a lady checked the files and said that, yes all my emails letters and telephone calls that I had made informing me that I would not be in the country were on file but the judge had decided to proceed anyway. To this day I have never received any document informing me of a trial date and when I telephoned in December 2014 to say I would be away, the lady then said that there was no trial date set, as no money had been paid by the other party.
Is this possible? Surely I have a right to be able to defend myself without being excluded on the whim of a judge.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.
When were you aware of Judgment please?
How did you tell the Court for the dates to avoid, was it on the Directions Questionnaire?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Alex thank you for your help.

I was aware of the two judgements when I returned on the 22nd of March.

I emailed, phoned and wrote with a recorded delivery letter dated the 10th December 2014

I was never given a Directions Questionare.

I was advised that it was on my file I would be away.

This was confirmed today by Jenny Sutton at the Brighton court. She said the judge chose to ignore the fact I was away.

Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Did you file a notice to the Court to say you were away? If you knew on 22nd march there was Judgment why have you waited until now before doing anything?
Were you given an allocation questionnaire when you filed a defence?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I have written to the court and asked for another hearing. They replied only a days ago and said I need to pay another £155 to re-open the case. Why is the judge allowed to hear the case knowing I was away? And advise me by telephone calls when the hearing is being held.

Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
When you filed a defence you would have had either an allocation questionnaire or directions questionnaire.
Did you put your holiday dates here?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

No I was asked to file a defense and send my argument to the court and the plaintiffs.

I was never advised I needed to file either questionnaire.

I was told that advising the court of my dates away would be on file.

Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
So when you filed your defence, what did you get from the Court.
Alex
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Oh a letter requesting arbitration.

After phoning the lady she advised me that the plaintiffs had not yet responded to my defense or her letter. Nothing else I received until I returned home to two judgements.

Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
So how did you know about the trial date?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I don't understand your question. In September we went to small claims court and the judge said the case must go to trial and I was to set out my defense sending it to the palintiffs and to the court.

There was no trail date set.

Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Before all that.
The claim was issued, you filed a defence, is that right?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Correct.

Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Then you would have had allocation documents or was there an allocation hearing?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

We had gone to court and there the judge said I had to send my defense to everyone. No date for a hearing was set to be determined at a later date. The plaintiff still had to file some other paper work too.

Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
But it must have been allocated to the small claims?
Did you file a notice at Court saying you could not attend?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I have taken out all my notes.

I received a letter the trail to take place on the the 3rd February 2015 dated the 5th December 2014

I emailed the cour 10th December 2014 to say I was away on this date.

I spoke to a court personnel Mrs Hannah Stankierwiez who confirmed it was in my file and documented.

I sent a recorded delivery letter to insure and back up confirmation - they knew I was away.

I spoke to Mrs Jenny Sutton today who said it was in my file but the judge chose to ignore this and proceed with the hearing anyway.

Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Did you ever make a formal application to adjourn?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

No I did not and was not advised I needed to do this. How sad I was not told to make a formal adjournment. I have been mislead and told it was fine. Being on my record was enough.

Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Well The Judge was aware but went ahead anyway. But why have you waited a month before doing anything?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I have not waited a month I have been trying to get the reason from the courts as to why the hearing was done in my absense.

I have just received their last letter explaining the situation. And I telephoned to day as stated.

I have already been asked these questions.

All I wanted to know was - can the judge decided to proceed with a hearing even if he is aware I was away.

This is striping me of my basic human right to defend myself.

Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
1) Yes the Judge can
You had 2 choices:
1) To make a formal application to adjourn
2) Give notice that you were not going to attend (which the Court was aware) and the Judge decided to proceed anyway.
If you wanted to adjourn the hearing to attend you should have made an application. Court staff are not legally qualified, so they can not give you legal advice.
In any event under the Court rules, CPR 27.9 then you have 7 days to apply to set aside the Order if you did not attend.
http://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/civil/rules/part27#27.9
If you did not then sadly you can try and do it now by formal application using form N244 but its possible a Judge will decide you are out of time.
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.
Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?
Alex
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience: Solicitor with 5+ years experience
Ash and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Hi

I am just following up on this. Is there anything else I can help with? If so, please let me know.

Alex.

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Thank you so much for your help. Your answers were really useful and came back so quickly. Great! Maggie
< Previous | Next >
  • Thank you so much for your help. Your answers were really useful and came back so quickly. Great! Maggie
  • A quick response, a succinct and helpful answer in simple English. I believe I can now confront the counter party with confidence -- worth the 30 bucks! Rick
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C.
  • This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!! Alex
  • Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult. GP
  • I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion. Justin
  • Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around. Esther
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Jo C.

    Jo C.

    Barrister

    Satisfied Customers:

    30316
    Over 5 years in practice
< Previous | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.co.uk/uploads/EM/emus/2015-7-7_192327_bigstockportraitofconfidentfemale.64x64.jpg Jo C.'s Avatar

    Jo C.

    Barrister

    Satisfied Customers:

    30316
    Over 5 years in practice
  • http://ww2.justanswer.co.uk/uploads/BE/benjones/2015-12-1_0437_ennew.64x64.jpg Ben Jones's Avatar

    Ben Jones

    UK Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    11553
    Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
  • http://ww2.justanswer.co.uk/uploads/BU/Buachaill/2012-5-25_211156_barrister5.64x64.jpg Buachaill's Avatar

    Buachaill

    Barrister

    Satisfied Customers:

    1754
    Barrister 17 years experience
  • http://ww2.justanswer.co.uk/uploads/JO/jojobi/2013-3-19_0265_maxlowryphoto.64x64.jpg Max Lowry's Avatar

    Max Lowry

    Advocate

    Satisfied Customers:

    894
    LLB, 10 years post qualification experience
  • http://ww2.justanswer.co.uk/uploads/UK/UKLawyer/2012-4-12_9849_F2.64x64.jpg UK_Lawyer's Avatar

    UK_Lawyer

    Solicitor

    Satisfied Customers:

    750
    I am a qualified solicitor and an expert in UK law.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.co.uk/uploads/KA/Kasare/kasare.64x64.jpg Kasare's Avatar

    Kasare

    Solicitor

    Satisfied Customers:

    402
    Solicitor, 10 yrs plus experience in civil litigation, employment and family law
  • http://ww2.justanswer.co.uk/uploads/OS/osh/2015-7-7_19268_gettyimagesb.64x64.jpg Joshua's Avatar

    Joshua

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    8199
    LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice