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JimLawyer
JimLawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 15479
Experience:  Senior Associate Solicitor
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Litigation advice: filing form n434 or agreeing to stay with

Customer Question

litigation advice: filing form n434 or agreeing to stay with current representative given impending CCMC hearing
JA: Where is this? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: England, UK
JA: What steps have been taken so far?
Customer: i have recieved letter from solicitor acting for me that they are ceasing to act, so I need to file a N434 before a CCMC hearing which is tomorow
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: I would like advice on what action to take - either (a) submit form N434 and represent myself personally or (b) ask the current lawyer to continue to act until after the CCMC. However I have been asked to pay 1/4 of legal costs in order to agree to this. And I dont wish to become liable to historic fees incurred as we have not agreed how to split the costs.
Submitted: 20 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 20 days ago.

Hello, this is Jim and welcome to JustAnswer.

Thank you for the question, I am reviewing the details now. I will aim to resolve it as quickly as possible for you.

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 20 days ago.

If your solicitors have come off the court record as acting for you, you are now a litigant in person and the hearing will still go ahead. The fact the hearing is tomorrow means you have no time to make an application (which would need to be on form N244, not N434).

An N244 form is for a general application and can be used to apply for an adjournment - the court fee is £108. If the other party agrees to an adjournment, a consent order can be drafted and lodged with the court (the court fee is the same) but you would need the other side's agreement, then an order to be drafted and signed by you both - then lodge at court - given the time constraints I do not see this happening.

You can attend the hearing and ask the judge to adjourn, so that you can seek alternative representation though there is no guarantee the judge will agree especially if your solicitors stopped acting a while ago.
The CCMC is a case management hearing - it is purely procedural and the judge will want to discuss dates for how the rest of the case will proceed.

You or your former solicitor will have filed a directions questionnaire before the hearing was listed - your solicitor should have done this and filed draft directions too (I am unsure if the directions have already been agreed with the other side - if so then the hearing is simply to let the judge know the directions are agreed and to ask for a formal court order to mirror the dates).

If no directions have been agreed then the judge will ask you and the other side for dates - the judge will then make an order.
You could ask your former solicitors to do the hearing but they will want to be paid for what is a procedural hearing. And you do have the option to ask for an adjournment but as I said, this is not guaranteed.

You could use an advocate - either of these companies should be able to provide you with an advocate at this short notice : http://www.lpc-law.co.uk and http://www.clerksroomdirect.com

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 20 days ago.

I hope this answers the question. If you have any follow up questions then please do let me know.

Many thanks,
Jim

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 20 days ago.

Just a final note that I am free most days and would be happy to assist with any other queries you may have.

Best wishes,

Jim

Customer: replied 20 days ago.
Hi Jim, there a four defendents in the case being my former employer, 2 directors and me (I was an employee only). Since this started the law firm have been acting for all of us as defendents. I have recently fallen out with the 2 directors which has sparked them to ask me to pay 1/4 of the costs to date, and the 1/4 cost for the current hearing. I think the best approach in the circumstances is to ask the law firm and the other defendents if they will act for me, so as not to risk adjournment and delay. But I do not want to become liabile for a 1/4 of the historic costs given my part in this (as an employee) would not justify paying 1/4 of the costs. I think it was reasonable for me to assume that the costs would be shared in a different way and the majority to be covered by the employer who is the main party at risk in the proceedings.So my question is: if I ask them to represent me, can I make clear that I do not agree with the split of costs and would like to agree something more sensible and properly documented as a next step?If they do not agree to this, then my question is: I am left as a litigant in person. Do I need to turn up to the hearing, do I need to have representation, if I take no action given the last minute nature of my lawyer ceasing to act, will I become liable to more costs or other risk?
Customer: replied 20 days ago.
the directions have been agreed with the other side I believe)
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 20 days ago.

Yes, you can make that clear - there is no current costs order so you can negotiate and try to agree this with them. If they disagree, you do need to turn up, or have an advocate turn up for you, you would not need representation as it is optional. But in a case like this it would be recommended. I would be surprised if there was a costs order made against you if the lawyer stopped acting at the last minute - you can convey this to the judge and say that they left you high and dry in effect and you want the option to seek alternative representation.

Customer: replied 20 days ago.
Can you possibly have a quick look at this email I am going to send back to the lawyer:Based on my understanding, if there is a risk of adjournment, then I would suggest it is most suitable (if the other parties agree) in the circumstances for LawBite to continue to act for me until at least after the CCMC. I am hoping to meet with Dom and Bash this month to agree what to do with this alongside the other issues (as referenced in your letter). I will also take my own advice but you’ll appreciate I haven’t had time to do that in the timeframe.In terms of costs the previous advice from you was that costs are decided after the main judgement (as to liability) and would be considered for each defendant. I have been working on the basis to date that OneE has been covering the costs and there has certainly been no agreement to split the costs equally between us as defendants. I have always been of the understanding that the risk to ourselves personally is low (and especially me as an employee who was working alongside a number of other technical members of staff at the same time). I am more than happy to negotiate and agree something with Dom and Bash asap on this but I can’t agree to cover ¼ of the costs when we have not had a discussion about it.Please can you confirm if this is agreed to at least get through the next stage?
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 20 days ago.

Thanks, ***** ***** say that looks fine, yes.