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 Buachaill Your Own Question

Buachaill
Buachaill, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10189
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
53108719
Type Your Law Question Here...
Buachaill is online now

I am a defendant in a small claims case in which a neighbour

Customer Question

Hi, I am a defendant in a small claims case in which a neighbour has alleged that i damaged the plastic roof of a lean to shed buy lighting a fire. He has claimed ~£900 for the cost of repairing the roof. This happened almost 6 years ago I denied responsibility at the time and wrote back laying out the facts. 6 years later he has decided to to take this action.
I have never had any fires in the garden and am in no way responsible for the damage. I have filled in all the forms and submitted a defence. I now have a hearing on Dec 5th.
My understanding is that the claimant has to prove that I am responsible for the damage but since I didn't do it I cant see how he can. He has been economical with the truth in his claim and I am concerned about what other tactics he might employ at the hearing.
I would like to know whether I should get legal representation for the hearing or whether I can have someone look over the facts/documents and advise a course of action.
Grateful for any advice
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Buachaill replied 1 year ago.
1. Be aware that unless there was some form of contract in place between yourself and your neighbour that covered the fire or the shed, this claim of your neighbour's is now statute barred as it has been taken outside the three year time limit allowed for this type of action. So you can successfully defend any legal proceedings by pleading the Statue of Limitations. As a fall back you can make reference to the facts and to your clear denial at the time of the incident. However, it is now too late for your neighbour to recover damages from you as too much time has elapsed since the fire occurred. If you have not already pleaded the Statute of limitations, you can go back and amend your defence to plead that the case is time barred. It will be necessary to specifically plead this point in your defence as the claimant, your neighbour must be put on notice that you are relying on this defence. I would not advise you to use legal representation if you feel you are able to represent yourself. The Small Claims procedure is informal and designed to allow people to represent themselves. Employing a solicitor would mean that costs would quickly rise to more than the £900 which is the cost of the shed. So you are better off representing yourself.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for your reply. For the avoidance of doubt, there never was any fire and the damage was clearly natural and due to aging and weather. The neighbour alleges there was (after previously saying the damage was caused by a BBQ and then a Patio heater both of which are impossible.) but I categorically denied this and also wrote back to him denying responsibility and asking him to stop making further allegations.With regard to the 3 year limit, I was advised that the limit was 6 years by a legal colleague at work. If the limit is definitely 3 years then this seems like a good defence but I want to make it clear in any further submission that I am 100% not responsible for any damage and the incidents that my neighbour alleges did not take place,Re a contract, at no time did I accept responsibility or agree to pay for any damage so there was definitely no contract. We had a conversation during which he accused me of causing the damage, and in which I denied responsibility. He then sent us a invoice for the work which was not requested and unexpected. Almost 6 years later , he decided to go to the small claims court. In his submission to the small claims court, my neighbour states that I initially accepted responsibility then changed my mind. This is untrue and at best a lapse of memory or at worst an outright lie.I have a few further questions.If the limit is 3 years, could you please advise if you would be able to help with the wording of an amendment to my defence
to ensure I use the correct legal terminology.The hearing date is Dec 5th. The claimant has to produce evidence, statements etc by Oct 1st after which I have until 15th October to do the same. Should I wait until I receive his submission or amend by defence straight away.Thanks
Expert:  Buachaill replied 1 year ago.
2. The time limit is only six years if there was a contract in place between you. Otherwise it is 3 years. YOur colleague at work is incorrect here. An appropriate wording to deny liability is "The Defendant will rely upon the Statute of Limitations to defend the claim and any claim made is time barred and not recoverable." I would advise you to amend the Defence right away as otherwise the claimant will be seeking to further amend his submission. Be aware that if the Small Claims court accepts the limitation of actions defence none of the evidence denying liability will be necessary. However, I note what you say.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
thanks. I assume that to amend my claim i have to submit form N244 ?
Expert:  Buachaill replied 1 year ago.
3. NO, you simply reserve the Replying to Claim form you submitted the first time out and put the words "amended" before it and underline the paragraph that now pleads the Limitation of actions point.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks. Dont I need permission from the court to do that as the original statement of case / defence was submitted over a month ago and has been served ?Sorry for all the questions. Hopefully this is the last one.
Expert:  Buachaill replied 1 year ago.
4. In strict point of law you need permission of the court. But as informality is the byeword for the Small Claims court simply serve the amended Defence and apply subsequently to validate the service. Be sure you have a Certificate of postage for the sending of the document. However, if you wish you can make a separate application to serve an amended Defence.

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
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/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.com/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.com/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.com/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.com/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.com/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.com/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
 
 
 

Related Law Questions