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Buachaill, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10955
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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We have been sent a Practice Direction Pre-Action Conduct &

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We have been sent a Practice Direction Pre-Action Conduct & Protocols letter for breach of contract for the 'defective laying of the flooring/underfloor heating in a new build property that we built & sold. This has been going back & forth since November 2013, where we do not agree & that the floor works fine.
We know we have to reply in 14 days plus they are demanding a payment of £164K+ in this time as well. Can they do this? Also what is the next stage after us replying?

1. Dear *****, the first thing you need to be aware of, is that it is usual to include your claim in making a demand for breach of contract. This is because the liquidated sum which is claimed here, becomes due and payable if you don't deny that it is due. However, here, where you are denying that there was a breach of contact and that the monies are due, the claim will merely go to trial at a later date. The claim here on their side will not be implemented against you because you are denying it is owed.

2. Secondly, the usual next stage after this exchange of Protocol letters is that each side will consider whether there is any documentation in the other side's possession which might be relevant for proving their claim. They will then send a letter seeking disclosure of any of these documents and seek to bring the matter before the next Case Management hearing to seek an order in these terms.

3. Ultimately, a claim of this nature which is fully denied, will go to a full hearing and trial. So, at this stage, now the parties are aware of the other side's attitude towards the claim, each side will not make preparations for a hearing of the action. Witness statements will have to be prepared and Counsel's opinion obtained on the preparations for the trial.

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