If I need to go down the small claims line do I claim for negligence and breach of contract?
1) Yes you claim for neglgence and/or breahc of contract in the alternative.
Those won't be difficult to prove. Can I also claim that the director started the job prematurely for financial gain for the company without regard to the consequences to me/ my home?
Well yes, but that just forms part of your breach of contract/negligence claim
As an experienced builder he would have known that his advice was false and should not have started the work. As a consequence he has caused me a huge amount of distress and massive financial loss. I respect your expertise but please can you explain why this would not be considered to be fraudulent?
Because you are bringing a civil claim. This is not criminal. It appears he was negligent, but that does not mean it is fraud.
I appreciate what you said about the bar being higher for this but please can you explain why the judge may consider that this does not reach that bar?
It would not be a small claim. If you want to plead fraud then it would be multi track. The Court fee just to hear the claim would be £1090 and you would need representation. You are looking at around £25k for this. If, for whatever reason you lost then you would be liable for your own and the other side costs.
Indeed, assuming you won on the claim, but fraud was defeated and that was the reason it was not a small claim, you would be liable for costs. So your exposure is about £50k in costs. Even then you dont get 100% of costs back, due to Court assessment. You usually get around 25%-33% knocked off. So you would only ever recover around £20k
Is there even a possibility that the judge may agree that based on the fact that they should not have started the work their actions/ behaviour would be considered fraudulent?
Possibly, but the bar is high. The Court has to be certain that fraud took place. It wouldnt be a small claim if there is an allegation of fraud.
If this was a possibility could I submit a claim based both on:
a) negligence and breach of contract
b) fraudulent practice/ advice
Could I claim against the company and directors at the same time?
Yes. But again, you are asking to pierce the corporate veil. It wont be a small claim.
What would be the consequence of combining these issues if I was able to do that?
Multi track and huge expense for you. If you bring fraud into it, it can NEVER be a small claim.
Would the judge be able to accept the negligence part of the claim whilst rejecting the fraudulent advice part? Would the outcome be the same as if I had submitted a claim only for negligence and breach of contract?
Yes, see above. I have answered that. You would be liable for Defendant costs of defending the fraud element as that is very serious.
I have also become aware that the builder's full-time employees have paid as self-employed workers which is tax evasion. If I remind the builder of this whilst requesting him to provide a fair settlement could it be construed as blackmail? Would I be party to any wrongdoing if I am aware of this but choose to keep quiet?
So what? That is notihng to do with you. That is to do with the bulders and HMRC
(I asked the builder if the workers were self employed or employed when he said he was laying them off as I was concerned that if he had to pay redundancy there would be even less money in the company accounts to claim back. he confirmed that they were self employed)
Can I clarify anything for you about this today, please?
If not, I would appreciate a 5-star rating for my answer. If you need anything further I am available for a follow up at no extra cost.