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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 47882
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I have lived in France years. I work as a project manager

Customer Question

I have lived in France for 12 years. I work as a project manager / builder. To date with no issues legal tax etc.
I have an (ex) client who is about to take me to court in the UK for not completing a job and now for faulty workmanship ( this is not been made clear in what context).
I was given a schedule of works and basic architect plans which I estimated an amount for the works. When I met the client they had a modified set of plans not majorly different but different to those I quoted on. There were issues at the beginning which were resolved but any 'extras' were constantly re argued from their point. Eventually without using all the funds and not owing money I shut the site. I was subsequently asked to leave the site. My question is can they peruse me through a UK court . I've been advised that as a foreign national living in France they can't ? Is this correct. I'm not trying to hide away but fully expected as the property / work was in France and I'm based here that they would use the French system. In my view the contract is tenuous due to the changes. Please advise. I appreciate this may not be simple answer,but guidance as what to prepare for would be useful. Many thanks.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
What is the connection to the UK apart from your nationality?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have an address for building society and another address for driving licence.
My brother lives in Cornwall girlfriend in Huddersfield. I'm not on the electoral role.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The client is English.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your response. I will review the relevant information and laws and will get back to you as soon as I can. Please do not respond to this message as it will just push your question to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Many thanks for your patience. It would be possible for them to pursue you through the UK courts if necessary, however, a County Court Judgment can only be obtained against a UK resident and cannot legally be obtained against a debtor that is living outside of the UK. This means that if they go ahead with the claim and obtain a court judgment against you and you no longer live in the UK, they cannot enforce that judgment and will have to find ways of transferring it to France to enforce there. Under the Brussels Regulation and Lugano Convention, a creditor can enforce a debt in another country if that country uses the regulation or convention. The Brussels Regulation includes all EU countries so if you are in France, they can enforce judgments made in other countries. However, they will still need to pay certain costs to do so and there is no guarantee they will go all the way with it. So to answer your question, it is possible for them to sue you in the UK courts but the issues will be with enforcing a judgment and pursuing it abroad. I hope this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (3, 4 or 5 stars) as that is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. 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
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello, I see you have read my response to your query. If this has answered your question please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars from the top of the page. I spend a lot of time and effort answering individual queries and I am not credited for my time until you leave your rating. If you still need further help please get back to me on here and I will assist as best as I can. Many thanks.
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi I asked for a live call but not received as yet.
Just wanted to clarify a point, 1 the work was carried out In France . Does this change the ability to use UK courts.
A phone call would still be useful, many thanks
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello, I am sorry at resent I cannot take call. The fact that the work was carried out on France may make it more difficult for them to pursue but if the contract was entered into in the UK, it could still give them grounds to pursue it in the UK. Generally, they must be able to serve the claim on you in the UK, or if that is not possible because you are not there, they must show that the UK court has jurisdiction to hear the claim by satisfying at least one of what are known as ‘gateways’. For claims in relation to contracts the gateways are:(a) the contract was made within the UK;(b) was made by or through an agent trading or residing within the UK;(c) is governed by English law(d) breach was committed within the UK. If they can satisfy any of these they can still pursue this through the UK courts.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. ***** contract (?) was made through series of emails. Nothing signed in any formal way by either party.
B I do not live or trade in the UK
C (?)
D if a breach was committed it would have been (if by me) on French soil.
We had a meeting at their résidence I the UK where the plan I had estimated for was revisited . They had drawn changes to the plan at that stage.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Addendum to D. Could it be construed that the contract was agreed at the meeting in the UK therefore a UK contract?
There is also a matter of payments received but I would rather discuss that over a phone call.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
A contract would have existed whether an anything was signed or not - it would be an implied contract based on the arrangements you had agreed on. There could be arguments which either side could use to try to argue the UK courts have or do not have jurisdiction and as this is a rather complex matter it would be for the court to decide based on what they believe happened and if they believe these gateways apply. I cannot guarantee that the will find in your favour but at the same time I cannot guarantee that the other party will be allowed to go through the UK system either. This is a matter for the court to decide, that is the only way
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok thanks. I will think over the weekend.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
you are welcome