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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 44410
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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There, I am a disabled mother of two 18 months old twins

Customer Question

HI there, I am a disabled mother of two 18 months old twins and am having a second set of twins any day now. So that will be four children under two years old.
Five months ago we entered a formal contract with a nanny/maternity nurse to work with me for 26 weeks at £800 a week. She was paid a £3200 deposit at time of the agreement.
Today, just a few days before the start of the contract is due, she has said she is increasing her rates by 50% and I have no choice but to pay that.
The previous agreement was entered in to after several phone calls, a meeting in person, and after I took all references.
My first instinct is that she is in breach of contract. Would be glad of more help.
Sincerely NB
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello, my name is***** am a solicitor on this site and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Has she said why she is increasing her rates?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi Ben,

Nice to meet you.

Yes. The nanny emailed me today and said due to a change in personal circumstances "I am now having to increase my rates. Therefore we would be increasing my fees from £800pw to £1140.00."

Kindly, Nuala

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
You are correct that she is n breach of contract. If a specific rate was agreed then that would be binding on both of you – the nanny would be required to charge that and you would be required to pay that. If she changes her rates without there being a contractual right to do so or your agreement then it would be a breach of contract. You would not have to continue using her services and can request a refund of the deposit you paid. So you certainly have a choice and cannot be forced to pay her new rates. She has breached the original agreement and if you are not happy with these changes you can cancel it and get your money back. This does mean you will have to find a new nanny and hopefully it would not be too much bother with finding a suitable replacement at relatively short notice. I trust this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page). If for any reason you are unhappy with my response or if you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


I appreciate I can terminate the contract and request a refund of the deposit.

However, that is not where our "injury" lies. It is in the fact that finding someone to live in and work with a disabled mother, takes many weeks. We don't have that time. What is more, all of our other childcare plans (and you can appreciate there are quite a few with 4 babies) have been built around our arrangement with her.

We can hire emergency cover for a month or so from an agency. This is wildly expensive at around £1700 per week for live in care. We would have needed several months notice to find another person at £800 per week, take references etc.

Do we have any legal claim to pursue the nanny for the extra costs incurred. It is truly not clear to me I am in position, physically or emotionally (I am in a wheelchair and will shortly have premature newborn twins) to advertise and find a reasonably priced replacement. An agency will provide vetted, professional help - but we would need to recover the difference in costs somehow.

If the nanny/maternity help has so radically changed the terms of the contract after a 5 month agreement was in place, and had done so with only a few days notice, can we reasonably expect her to cover our extra costs of finding an alternative?


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Relist: Answer quality.
I received ONE initial brief answer to which I replied immediately with an important question that hadn't been addressed. Nearly 45 minutes on and I haven't received anything back depsite repeated requests.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hi yes it is indeed possible to pass on any losses you have incurred as a result of that breach. The law on contracts states that if someone is in breach of contract they must place the innocent party in the same position they would have been had the breach not occurred. So if you are placed in a position where you cannot get a replacement at short notice for the same or similar costs and you are now forced to pay more you may hold the original nanny liable for these additional expenses. It will not necessarily be easy to do so as she may not be willing to pay you and in that case you are eventually looking at going to court to get what you believe you are owed so it can get complex but it is your right to take it there should you decide to. Hope this clarifies your position?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Ok. Thanks. that is clear enough.

For this to be a truly helpful response a brief outline of how one would pursue the matter legally - small claims court? limits of claim permitted through small claims? - etc would have been much appreciated.

Overall your final answer was clear. But I would mention that are one, relatively brief answer, to which I replied immediately for clarification, it took over an hour to hear back. That felt a little too long.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Apologies for the slight delay in responding - we are all practising lawyers so we do have our day jobs in the meantime. But it is how you get these much lower rates for legal assistance by asking real lawyers who will not see you face to face and charge extortionate amounts but dedicate their spare time to assist you, even if it is around their main jobs with a potential short delay. So I hope this explains. Going back to your query it is indeed the small claims court you would be looking at. The limit there is £10,000. The claim fee would depend on the value of the claim - you can see the fees at page 3 of the following document: As to the procedure, as legal action should always be seen as a last resort, there are certain actions that should be taken initially to try and resolve this matter informally and without having to involve the courts. It is recommended that the process follows these steps: 1. Reminder letter – if no reminders have been sent yet, one should be sent first to allow the debtor to voluntarily pay what is due.2. Letter before action – if informal reminders have been sent but these have been ignored, the debtor must be sent a formal letter asking them to repay the debt, or at least make arrangements for its repayment, within a specified period of time. A reasonable period to demand a response by would be 10 days. They should be advised that if they fail to do contact you in order to resolve this matter, formal legal proceedings will be commenced to recover the debt. This letter serves as a ‘final warning’ and gives the other side the opportunity to resolve this matter without the need for legal action.3. If they fail to pay or at least make contact to try and resolve this, formal legal proceedings can be initiated. A claim can be commenced online by going to Once the claim form is completed it will be sent to the debtor and they will have a limited time to defend it. If they are aware legal proceedings have commenced it could also prompt them to reconsider their position and perhaps force them to contact you to try and resolve this. Whatever correspondence is sent, it is always advisable to keep copies and use recorded delivery so that there is proof of delivery and a paper trail. The court may need to refer to these if it gets that far. Hope this clarifies things for you?

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