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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 32177
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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HiI was the Claimant in a Civil Litigation case that was

Customer Question

I was the Claimant in a Civil Litigation case that was heard by a Circuit Judge at Chelmsford County Court.
The case started on 7th December 2015 and concluded on 10th December 2015. The Judge decided against me, however I do not feel that he gave me a fair hearing for numerous reasons, including the following:-
a - the Judge kept saying that the defendants did not have to participate i.e. he actually stated that they could 'sit there sucking their thumbs' and that it was up to me to prove the case, and that 'they do not even have to comment it is for me to prove the case not for them to disprove it'.
b - he would not hear much of my evidence and kept telling me to move on when I was questioning the defendants and they refused to answer.
c- when the defendants disputed the evidence they had submitted was theirs and I asked for the originals of what they had submitted to be produced, the defendants stated that they did not have them so the judge said to me 'you have your answer they don't have them so move on!'
d - the judge stated that there was an agreement in place (I disputed the agreement) even though the defendants had stated (on 4 different occasions) in emails and their statements that they did not agree an agreement with us.
e - the only witness the defendants had was allowed to sit in through the entire case (even prior to his giving evidence) and he was allowed to assist the defendants in their defence (he basically was the one that went through the files finding information for them to use - on the couple of occasions they did actually talk - which was confined to them cross questioning my witnesses and myself)
What I want to know is
A - from the above do you think I have good reason to appeal the judges decision
B - what would the deadline be for submitting the appeal.
C - is there a set procedure for me to follow to submit the appeal.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
HIThank you for the questionMy name is ***** ***** do my best to help you but I need some further information firstWhat is the nature of the dispute between you and the defendants?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

The Defendants stole my business, then said we had an agreement.

However the facts are that there had been certain discussions but nothing firm had been agreed.

Then my husband and I went on holiday and whilst we were away they took over my business.

We took them to court for damages etc the case took over 18 months to finalise. They put in a defence saying we had an agreement. However at the hearing they hardly said anything and denied that the documents they had entered in their defence were theirs, they said they had never seen them before.

The judge kept saying they didn't have to say a thing in their defence. And whenever I tried to question the defendants he kept pushing me on, saying I had my answer, which I did not have.

So they just sat there, the judge at the end of it all said that he didn't believe a word we had been saying (despite the fact that everything I said was backed up with evidence), including 4 different times when the Defendants stated they did not have an agreement!

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
What was the nature of the business?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Restaurant & Takeaway Menu Printing

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
So how did they actually take it over?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I was on holiday in Spain.

I had rented office space in their building (they were my landlord).

One of my employees basically decided to work with/for them and she assisted them in taking the designs, artworks etc whilst I was away.

Once I came back from holiday and discovered what they had done I moved out immediately (the judge said I was wrong to do that!)

I then obtained an injunction against them (which they breached for a year). I obtained committal proceedings against them which they admitted but the judge stated at the main hearing that since there was an agreement the injunction was not valid therefore the committal was dismissed!

I still maintain there was no agreement, (which they admitted in their emails and their statement) but the judge wasn't interested in that and dismissed my claim.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
So in fact what they actually did was steal your designs?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Yep, and my contact information (kept in my manual order book and on a computer). They then used many of the designs for over a year (despite being ordered by the court to delete them - which they clearly didn't) xxx

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
They denied using the designs?
and the information?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

No admitted it !

But they say we had an agreement that they could have it (albeit they disputed it in their emails and statement - on the statement they said the agreement was totally unacceptable! and that we had lied when we were making it!!!!)

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
So they agreed they used your designs and contacts - but said you had agreed to it?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Basically yep. But throughout the time the court action had been started and the final hearing they said that the agreement was not acceptable, on 4 occasions (emails and their statements), but the judge would not take that into consideration.

Also the Judge kept saying that they did not have to defend their action and that they could just sit 'sucking their thumbs' and that I had to prove my case. He refused to take any of my evidence into consideration.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Did you prove the damage you suffered from their use of the designs and the contact list?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I tried to, but the judge wan't interested. All he kept on about was that they didn't have to defend themselves and that I had to prove my case!

Even the usher said at the end she could not believe what had happened and that the judge was clearly in a bad mood.

The worst part is that they used the defence it was a limited company they had at the time that had the agreement. They didn't tell the Judge that they had subsequently put the company into liquidation. I told the Judge and he said so what all it meant was that the agreement was with the limited company so the designs etc now belonged to the insolvency practitioner.

I have spoken to the practitioner who was unaware of the court case and the fact that the defendants had used the liquidated company to pay for their legal defence (£20k they paid - the balance was outstanding being £10k - so that solicitor is not a creditor of the limited company).

Do you think I have a case for an appeal?

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
So what they said was that your agreement was with the company not them personally - is that correct?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

yep, but our arguement is that, we had no agreement with anyone, and since they stated that the proposal we put in writing to them was totally unacceptable, we can't see how they say there was an agreement anyway!

I had taken out the case against them personally.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
I begin to perceive the problem
Were you dealing with the company at any point?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Only when we gave them printing work to complete for us.

When they stole our designs they formed 2 additional companies and then said that they purchased the designs, contact details etc in the name of the original company then transferred the assets to the first of the new companies, then applied for that to be struck off and transferred the designs etc into the third company (hope you are keeping up lol).

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Yes I can see that progress.
But what was the basis of your decision to sue them personally?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Because there was no agreement with either a limited company of them personally.

So there was no need to involve a limited company in the action and there were two defendants, only one was a director of the original limited company. Albeit when they formed the following two companies both defendants put themselves down as directors

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
But what evidence did you have that they PERSONALLY used the designs/contact rather than as a company?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

They stated that they were trading the second company from the beginning, however there was no payments made into the limited company, all the payments were into one of the directors own personal bank accounts.

Also the company in question was formed on 7th May 2014 and they applied on 18th June 2014 to have it struck off, and under the companies act you cannot apply to have a company struck off within 3 months of it trading. Therefore they can't have traded it.

The third company was not formed until 14th June 2014 whereby they claim to then transfer the asset into that company at that time

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
But what positive evidence did you have that they PERSONALLY traded using the designs?An invoice?evidence from a customer?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

They admitted it at the committal proceedings and supplied various samples in their defence docs. Xxx

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Invoices you mean? in their personal names?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Not invoices. Actual printed menus showing my designs etc

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

No, I meant samples of the printed menus and they disclosed their order book (albeit they stated at the court that they did not know if it is was their book as they did not recognise the writing - despite the fact that they had taken payment into their bank accounts for these orders !!!!)

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
To succeed in your claim you would have to show that they raised an invoice in their names as a Partnership and not a limited company - can you do that?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

No unfortunatrly

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Do you have ANY evidence that they trade as anything other than a Limited Company? Anything at all - other than the arguments you set out above?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

No, nothing substantial xxx

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Is this was the Judge was trying to tell you?