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Alex J.
Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 3557
Experience:  Solicitors 2 years plus PQE
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I recently took a married couple to the small claims court.

Resolved Question:

I recently took a married couple to the small claims court. At the hearing, the 1st defendant (the husband) told the judge that he would pay the debt in full by 4th February providing we took the 2nd defendant (the wife) off the complaint.
The Judge agreed to this and unfortunately so did our agent. Needless to say, no payment has been made and I want to add the wife back on to the order before taking further action to recover the debt. Is this possible to do by myself?
My legal representative wants £125 plus vat before she will even answer this question. I feel I have spent more than enough on this case but I don't the defendant to get away this time as I understand now that he has done this to a lot of people.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alex J. replied 1 year ago.
Hi. Thank you for your question and welcome my name is ***** ***** I will assist you. When you agreed to remove the 2nd defendant did you agree a Tomlin or consent order that was filed at court? Kind regards AJ
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No, not to my knowledge. I was not present but had a legal representative at the court. A copy of the Court Order still shows the 2nd defendant in the heading. I have attached a copy.
Expert:  Alex J. replied 1 year ago.
Hi thank you. Technically you have a Judgment you can enforce - if they owned a home for example you could seek a charging order or apply for the first defendants bankruptcy. Can you tell me why the 2nd defendant was party to the proceedings? Who actually owed you the money? Kind regards AJ
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We were selling up and moving away. This couple wanted to buy our furniture to send back to their house in Zimbabwe.
They both chose the items they wanted and the wife haggled on price. The husband signed the bill of sale and agreed payment terms. He made one payment which was late, then paid £20 her and £10 there. Then they moved house and gave us the wrong address. I found them and was promised payment. Then they moved house again but this time to social housing. However, I think this is because they couldn't get references for a private let. But in theinterim he has bought himself a bug 5 litre Mercedes 4x4 with a personalised number plate. My worry is that he has put all his belongings into his wife's name and that is why he wanted it taken off the order. We did tell this to our legal advisor, but she pointed out that he could put his belongings in anyone's name. The wife is a full time nurse and he runs his own business, supplying staff to schools and local councils.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
My other though is that the second defendant does not know there is an outstanding bill. If she were added back on to the order, I think we would have more chance of getting him to pay up.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am sorry, you seem to have stopped communicating with me. Is there a problem?
Expert:  Alex J. replied 1 year ago.
Hi. Thank you. My apologies for the delay. Even if he transferred assets to his wife, if he was subsequently made bankrupt you would be able to claim any assets transferred to his wife solely for the purpose of avoiding creditors. The problem you have with re adding her to the proceedings is that she did not sign the bill of sale- the only evidence you have that she is liable for the debt is the fact that she chose the furniture. If they still had the furniture would the value of the furniture cover the remaining balance of the debt?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The furniture would more than cover the cost but we packed it up for him and put it on a van to be transported overseas.
Expert:  Alex J. replied 1 year ago.
Hi. Thank you. I do not think you will be able to add to wife back on to the proceedings it seems like she was removed as she is not actually the debtor - aside from the consent arrangement. Have you tried sending the bailiffs to his property to see what can be recovered? Is it possible he may not have sent the furniture overseas?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
As far as I am aware, there was no mention of her being removed from the order until the 1st defendant asked specifically for that to be done. The legal representative we had at the court never mentioned the wife not signing the bill of sale and was quite happy to proceed against both parties as per out instructions.
I doubt he still has the furniture in the UK. When he made the purchase he was renting a property from us and although he kept a couple of pieces for that house, I know that most of it was too big to get past the bulkhead on the stairs. The property was a townhouse and only the kitchen was on the ground floor.
Expert:  Alex J. replied 1 year ago.
Hi. Thank you. You could try and make an application to court to re add the wife to the order but you will still have the same issue I have described above - what proof do you have that she is liable for he debt other than the fact that she chose the furniture? It may be that your only option at this stage is to make him bank rupt - if he has then transferred assets to his wife to avoid creditors these can be clawed back. Do you think she even knows about the proceedings?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have a feeling she does not know that he has not paid.
Expert:  Alex J. replied 1 year ago.
Hi, Thank you. Was she aware of the original court proceedings? Kind regards AJ
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Not that I know of. The papers were served by our solicitor through the mail.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
She has never responded to anything that has been sent in her name. I believe the husband works from home and is probably the one who is at home when the postman calls.
Expert:  Alex J. replied 1 year ago.
Hi. Thank you. It is a little bit of an underhand but there is nothing to stop you writing to the wife to tell her she was removed from the proceedings and on the condition her husband settled the debt. You cannot however make the letter threatening it just must say that you are considering all enforcement options available to you including petitioning for his bankruptcy. Would you be prepared to petition for his bankruptcy?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I would if it was the only available option. Perhaps a letter to both defendants stating my intentions to make him bankrupt might move things on a little.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The problem here would be (again) making sure she actually got the letter herself. Would it be acceptable to write to her at her place of work, which is an NHS Hospital.
Expert:  Alex J. replied 1 year ago.
Hi thank you. You could write a letter to her place of work explaining the situation, what you cannot do is send a letter to her place of work demanding payment - that could be a criminal offence. I would make sure the letter is marked as personal correspondence as well. Kind regards AJ
Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 3557
Experience: Solicitors 2 years plus PQE
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