Thank you for the detailed background. What would you like to know this?
I apologise for the delay. I had a client.
Thank you for all the information. That is very comprehensive and useful.
What I need to know is what exactly is it that you want to know about this? What is your question?
I’m afraid the all communication has to go through the website unless we are communicating by telephone (which we are able to do) but for which there is an extra fee. You shouldn’t have to keep changing password, it should be the same every time.
The amount of your claim is under £10,000 and hence, this would be dealt with in the Small Claims Court. Even if the defendant had legal representation, and your claim failed for any reason, you would only have to pay their fixed solicitors costs of about £100. You obviously wouldn’t recover the amount of money that you’re claiming. If they didn’t have legal representation, then you would normally only pay their out of pocket expenses.
This damage has been caused through no fault of your own and it would be something that I would be taking to the Small Claims Court if neither the neighbour nor the contractor were willing to pay up.
You have to give them due warning that if they don’t pay up by a particular date (given 14 days) you will get the work done, pay the bill and then seek the costs from them, through the Small Claims Court necessary.
To support your claim you are going to need a quotation for doing the work (not an estimate but a quotation) plus you are going to need something from whoever does the work or quotes the work which confirms how this is likely to have happened.
If they don’t pay up, you issue Small Claims Court proceedings which you can do quite easily online here www.moneyclaim.gov.uk
You ask who is the correct defendant, the neighbour or the contractor. The contractor was the agent of the neighbour and if the neighbour chose to use incompetent contractors then the neighbour is in some way culpable. What I would do is I would issue against the neighbour as first defendant and the contractor as second defendant and let the court decide which one of them (or both) is liable.
Based upon the evidence you have given me, I cannot see how they can have a defence unless they could prove to the satisfaction of the court that this damage was caused in some other way. These matters are decided on the balance of probabilities and hence, I think that is likely to be in your favour.
Can I clarify any points arising from this?
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If it was a toss up between the two, I would go for the contractor, not the neighbour. If this notice has already expired, then there is no reason why you cannot issue proceedings against them now. After all, it was them who did the work.
Don’t worry about whether you got a written reply or any reply, all you need to do is give notice that they don’t pay up or come up with a proposal to pay, they will end up in court.
If you given the neighbour notice that you were going to go to court, I would issue proceedings against them and Ground force because they can then put pressure on ground force.
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You cannot force someone to mediate. During the course of the legal process you will be asked whether you will agree to mediation when you fill in the Allocation Questionnaire and then, you tick yes. If the neighbour doesn’t tick yes, it goes to court if the neighbour does, then a mediator will attempt to arrange an appointment for you both.
The courts like people who will agree to mediation because it shows that they are reasonable. The reality is that it doesn’t make much difference in the end.
The courts rarely award costs against a party in the Small Claims Court unless that party has been completely unreasonable and refusing mediation would not be grossly and completely unreasonable.
If you sue them both, and they both use solicitors, (most unlikely) and you lost, you would have to pay the two sets of thick solicitors costs which would probably be no more than £100 each plus of course you would lose your court issue costs. For this amount of money, it’s unlikely that they would use solicitors purely because of the cost involved. They would have to pay the solicitor £200 per hour but they would only recover a maximum fixed cost of £100 in total.
You would not recover twice, you would only recover from one or the other or in proportion. If in doubt always go for the worker.
I think your rationale makes sense.
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Thank you for your observations and history, I’m glad to have helped.
You should find the small claims linked relatively straightforward although you may get a little confused with some of the paperwork which arrives later. I am happy to help you with that and if you ask for me personally, “for FES only” at the beginning of your question, it will be left for me because I know the history. Best wishes.
. Thank you. You will find that the judge may order you to send a fully structured claim at some stage in the future. You will then at some stage be asked to disclose all the documents you have and exchange all those that you wish to rely on court.
I must admit I find the online system frustratingly short myself.
The secret with the costs is to keep a note of the more and if it gets to court, make sure that you ask the judge in court on the day. You are only entitled to recover fixed solicitors costs to about £100 in the Small Claims Court.
Always ask for everything and let the judge decide what he will and what he will not allow.