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Nicola-mod, Moderator
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 21
Experience:  Moderator
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I have recently been to court to dispute a claim by a builder

Customer Question

I have recently been to court to dispute a claim by a builder for decorating work that I was unhappy about. The court 'dismissed' the case however because I failed to reply to an initial 'claim' letter sent to the court by the builder (October 2012). Though I did respond to a second letter they sent (February 2013) the court did not look at the circumstances of my claim.

Can I appeal this judgement? If so what is the best way to go about it and what costs are associated with it please?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  James Mather replied 4 years ago.
Hello, I am Law Denning and I am a practising solicitor in a High Street practice. I have been an expert on this website in UK law since 2008. During that time, as you appreciate, I have answered thousands of questions from satisfied users on a variety of subjects. Because we are all in practice with clients and court and other users, I might not always respond in minutes. Please bear with me in that case

It is my pleasure to try and assist you with this today. Please bear with me while I gather some further information from you in order for me to be able to advise you fully.

Unless I have all the facts that I need, my answer would not be accurate.

How much is the claim for?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The claim is for £500 plus courts costs - I do not know what the county court cost will be.

Expert:  James Mather replied 4 years ago.
Please clarify:
the case wasnt dismissed it seems, you lost. is that the case?
What was yr claim? Do you mean your defence?
On what basis do you want to appeal? Have you asked the judge for leave to appeal?
I need full background please. Thanks
Bear with me because I am online and offline all day
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

We received a letter yesterday saying the case had been 'dismissed' we therefore assume we lost.



Customer: replied 4 years ago.

We were the defendants.


At the hearing the judge asked 'had I received a letter from the claimant dated October 2013'. I said I had but I simply had forgotten to respond to it. The Judge said I should have replied and therefore the case was 'dismissed' - she did not listen the the actual defence or circumstances of the case and that was that. I wanted to note that I did respond to the claimants demand but to a reminder letter dated February 2012.


I think it unfair the judge makes this dismissal without actually hearing the defences case.


I then posted a defence response (form N244) to the county court.


The circumstances of the case I have copied below but basically I did not pay for shoddy decorating work the builder did for me (which I had to repair at a later date) and he is claiming for an unpaid invoice sent to me for approximately £500.


Sent o the Court as our initial defence

"We will be contesting this case on the grounds that the work was not carried out according to the verbal arrangement made with Mr Lassalle. Photographic evidence can be provided as proof as well as written receipt for repair that had to be made to correct the work Mr Lassalle had managed to do.

19th Sept 2012 Mr Lassalle was given instructions to paint in 2 colours a living room in a stripped design. This follows a design which is already present. He was also asked to paint the ceiling (2 coats) and to fix the ceiling rose, to varnish shelves, paint the skirting boards and the doors to the living room. I also asked for a plug to be repaired. He knew the job he was expected to do as I had already explained this before to him when he painted my bathroom. On the 19th I came back from work at 3pm and he had completed one coat of paint to the ceiling - only. I had texted him this day to ask what he had done. He replied he did not have the tools to do the job and he did not know anything about having to re-paint stripe effects onto the walls (despite me having clearly told him twice before and the stripes being clearly visible). Also that day he left me without light having disconnected the living room light without warning me. On the 20th he returned to resume work but after coming home I saw that the stripes were not even and very poorly applied and the newly applied paint was peeling off. Paint had dripped also onto my plugs and electric cables - he had left a mess. Please see continuation sheet enclosed"....



We have not asked the judge for leave of appeal - we did not know that was an option or told that was an option.


Expert:  James Mather replied 4 years ago.
Forget replying to the claimants letters for now. Did you file a defence before the court hearing?
If a case is dimsised it means that it is thrown one gets anything. Are you sure that was the wording used? Was it defence dismissed?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I will check the letter again (it is not currently at my desk as I am travelling right now but I will get back to you shortly) - and reply thereafter promptly here.

Expert:  James Mather replied 4 years ago.
Thank you. I will be on and offline later
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks for your patience. The letter from the court says thus:


'Upon hearing the claimant and the defendant in person IT IS ORDERED that


1: Action of claimant dissmissed'


What does this mean please as I am the defendant..




Expert:  James Mather replied 4 years ago.
This doesnt quite make sense.
Lets get this straight.
The builder did work.
The work was poor so you didnt pay him
The builder took you to court.
He is therefore the claimant.
You are therefore the defendant.
this where I am confused.
The letter says the builders claim is dismissed but that seems odd because it was you that didnt reply to papers although I still dont know if you filed a defence. let me see if any other experts have any ideas.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

It seems odd to us too. We did eventually reply to papers, then had the court hearing - where we were defendants. The only conversation in the court with the judge however was a question about why we did not reply to the first letter ...

Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 4 years ago.

It seems the professional has left this conversation. This happens occasionally, and it's usually because the professional thinks that someone else might be a better match for your question. I've been working hard to find a new professional to assist you with your question, but sometimes finding the right professional can take a little longer than expected.

I wonder whether you're OK with continuing to wait for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will continue my search. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you.

Thank you!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Hi. I am happy to wait. Thanks
Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 4 years ago.

We will continue to look for a Professional to assist you.

Thank you for your patience,
Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 4 years ago.

I apologize as we have not yet been able to find a Professional to assist you. Do you wish for me to continue to search for someone to assist you or would you like for us to close your question at this time?

Thank you for your patience,
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
It's fine to close it thanks