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JGM, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 12082
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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i need legal advice re a debt thats over 5 yrs old i live

Customer Question

i need legal advice re a debt that's over 5 yrs old i live in northern Ireland the debt is for a solicitors bill for work carried out for property purchase that originated about 2007/08 i am still trying to find all the original paperwork as the practice ceased to trade and wasn't very well run, however it was a partnership and one of the partners has written on 2 previous occasions which i did not acknowledge and he is asking for payment to be made to him he is now threatening to take me to court for same and apply the costs can you advise please.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 4 years ago.

Joshua :

Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.

Joshua :

Do you dispute the solicitors bill please - i.e. due to poor service for example?

Joshua :

Has your partner been able to supply you with evidence of payment of the claimed bill?

Joshua :

Did you have a partnership agreement?

JACUSTOMER-obhsvug5- :

Hi can i ask are you familar with northern ireland laws as i know these are covered by a different legislation

Joshua :

My apologies - I had not spotted that this was NI law. I will opt out for a NI colleague

Expert:  JGM replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for your question.

The law in Northern Ireland is that the debt is time barred after six years so you should, if you can, ascertain when the sixth anniversary of the debt is.

Here is an extract from the legislation:

"Time limit: actions founded on contract, etc.

4. Subject to Articles 5, 7 and 9, the following actions may not be brought after the expiration of six years from the date on which the cause of action accrued—

(a)an action founded on simple contract;
(b)an action founded on quasi-contract;
(c)an action to enforce an award where the arbitration agreement is not under seal;
(d)an action to recover any sum recoverable by virtue of any statutory provision, other than—
(ii)a debt created by Article 25(2) or 474 of the Companies (Northern Ireland) Order 1986(1); or
(iii)an amount recoverable under section 1 of the Civil Liability (Contribution) Act 1978(2)."

If court action is raised within six years the action is in time. If outwith six years it is statute barred.

I hope this helps.

Please leave a positive response so that I am credited for my time.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi, thanks for your reply I am currently trying to find the original paperwork for this account, we purchased several properties and paid the deposit etc. thru this solicitors practice. the solicitor's practice was a partnership. As there was a lot or work being done on our behalf at the same time we are trying to sort all that occurred as they were also dealing with a compensation case for assault (which they managed to let run for over 5 yrs.!) and a separate car accident claim our car was rear ended by a jeep. The practice closed down with the bulk of the business being sold over to another solicitor's practice this second practice finished the work on the two claims successfully and even made a repayment to me for monies paid to the other practice. I am at a loss as to how this person can now request payment to himself personally for work carried out by a practice that no longer exists. Can he request a payment be made to him and threaten me with the courts if its not paid?

Expert:  JGM replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for your response. A partner of the former practice is entitled to collect the debts of the practice even if the partnership itself has ceased to trade, in the same way that any business can collect its debts with a view to winding up its business.

Happy to discuss further.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

hi, i'm sorry o keep bothering you from the records i can find this refers to work carried out august 2007 i haven't been able to find an invoice for this work but i'm sure it will turn it up in the next few days, assuming the work was invoiced within the next two months which would bring it up to oct/nov 2007 do i count the 6yrs from when the work was carried out or when the invoice was sent. also if this is now time barred how do i deal with this ie request that he accepts its time barred. thank you for your help.


Expert:  JGM replied 4 years ago.
As the debt hasn't been acknowledged within the period you can take the date of the invoice as being the date upon which the cause of action accrued. If the invoice is dated more than six years ago you can argue time bar.