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If the deposit is not registered or late I.e not within 30 days of start of tenancy then the tenant can make a claim. The award can be anything between 1 to 3 times the rent deposit value.
As it is contractual there is a 3 year limit so the tenant is within the period in which it can sue.
Pls confirm the dates, you mention 2013, then Dec 2014 and March 2014.
It is a penalty to ensure that landlords register deposits.
There is potentially a successful claim for the tenant. Court does have discretion but the law does state if the deposit is not protected then the tenant can be compensated.
You can pull the agent into it. Write to the solicitor and provide the details of the agent. If the tenant still claims against you you can pull the agent into the proceedings and counterclaim for any loss.
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Timing is irrelevant. as mentioned above the tenant has 3 years. The penalty is between 1 to 3 times the value of the deposit, if awarded.
You could offer to settle to avoid it going to court.