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Ask Alice H Your Own Question
Alice H
Alice H, Solicitor/Partner
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 2850
Experience:  Partner in national law firm
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I have had a claim made against me regarding a disputed invoice.

Customer Question

I have had a claim made against me regarding a disputed invoice. I have already offered the claimant settlement but now in his claim he has increased the amount from the original purchase order by approximately £800. I presume this is to cover the cost of raising the claim.
I am concerned that I am accruing costs in preparation the defence of this claim and yet am unsure whether I should address this in the form of a counter claim to cover the cost of having to defend this ridiculous claim against me. Or will I be able to do this at a later date when his claim fails. If I engage legal representation to assist in this defence can I claim this cost against the claimant if his claim is not upheld?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alice H replied 2 years ago.
My name is ***** ***** I am happy to help you today. How much is the claim for (ignoring the costs/interest aspect)?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The original invoice was for £1,200 - I considered that less than half the work commissioned (by way of purchase order) had been completed and when the claiment made it clear he was not going to do more without increasing the the PO amount further I offered him settlement of £600 for works he had completed and have since spent £700 getting the works completed by others.He is now claiming £2,000.I was expecting this but had previously sent him an open letter as follows:Dear *****dieThank you for your letter which we have received. We're sorry that we do not agree with your interpretation of the events surrounding this dispute.Our understanding is based on the following evidence:On the 21st April you sent a quote to our client (for works we had already won a tender to perform) to make the entire programme. In the breakdown of the quote you stated your entire pre-production costs to be £800. The works you were proposing to undertake for £800 were as follows:Research interviewees; Research and source potential archive material; review new footage, scanning/filming photos etc held by PNBPT, incorporating Elbow footage. Log, ingest and convert as required. Attend meetings/production discussions etcWe also put forward a breakdown of our own figures for delivering the programme. After consideration of both quotes and examination of our respective portfolio's the client continued to proceed with us but asked if it might be possible to find someway to work with you as you had already created a programme about the subject and would already have a good body of research. I suggested that this seemed workable and that you have already provided a competitive quote for the preproduction elements. Based on the aforementioned quote, Marnie contacted you to get a preliminary idea of how we could engage you to perform the pre-production research elements for the programme.At this point you suddenly produced a new figure of £1,200 and claimed to have already completed the work. I spoke to the Client's representative, Mark Butt, to explain that this was not tenable within the contract sum and had certainly not been agreed by us. By way of a gesture of good will Mark agreed to increase our pre-production fee to cover the £1,200 based on this being entirely sufficient to conduct all the research needed to complete the programme.At this point, without having received your research, we issued the purchase order. Twice you asked for the scope to be reduced. Twice we acquiesced. On the third attempt you signalled your agreement with the PO wording by sending us your research. To be polite about it - it was in part adequate, but woefully incomplete and significant elements were unworkable in a professional context. We gave you ample opportunity to rectify this but you then claimed this would now cost even more money. This resulted in a ridiculous ranting email from yourself which spuriously tried to divert attention from the glaring omissions in your picture research.At this point we decided to offer you settlement for the useable elements of the work and to engage the services of a professional researcher to complete the process. This work has now been completed and we believe it demonstrates clearly what deliverables we were expecting within the purchase order.Whatever fee's you may or may not have agreed with Mark Butt is between yourselves. We have a duty of care to our client, the HLF and all other funders to ensure that they get value for money for all elements we are engaged on. We are confident that we can demonstrate that meeting your unapproved demands is not something the client, or a court, should countenance.Again we repeat our offer of £600 exVAT as full and final settlement of the works you have completed. If you wish to proceed with your court action be aware that we will also be incurring cost for which we will counter claim.FinHe has written twice before but both time prefaced without predudice
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
So I am trying to work out whether or not I can / should /or shouldn't make a counter claim for my time and expense in defending his claim.
Expert:  Alice H replied 2 years ago.
Good morning. This is a 'small claim' and will be dealt with by the County Court through the small claims procedure. Neither party will be entitled to claim legal fees. However, if you have incurred losses as a result of the circumstances you have outlined you can certainly make a counterclaim. But when it comes to claiming your expenses in dealing with the claim the court is unlikely to award more than a reasonable sum for your time - usually if you take time out from work to attend court you can expect to receive about £90 for the day - you don't need to make a counterclaim for this; it's an application that you can make if you are successful in defending your claim.