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JimLawyer
JimLawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience:  Senior Associate Solicitor
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I have received a notice from the small claims court as

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Hi I have received a notice from the small claims court as someone thinks I owe them money
JA: The Lawyer can help you determine if you have a case. Where are you located? These laws vary by location.
Customer: Cardiff
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: no

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.

You have to respond to it otherwise they will win the claim by default.

If they do sue, you will receive court documents (a response pack) which you must complete and return to the court. It is a tick box exercise for the most part and there is a short section to write a defence which is easy enough though please feel free to come back to this site if you need any more help. Your defence needs to say why you do not owe them the money claimed.

As I said above, you should not ignore the court papers as if you do, the claimant will apply for judgment in default meaning they win and you would not be allowed to defend the claim.

A claim will also take 9-12 months to be decided at court. If you lost then you would get 14 days to pay the judgment before the claimant can enforce the order, and 30 days to pay in full before it is registered with credit agencies. The claimant cannot recover legal costs if they win, in a claim under £10K (a small claim), all they can claim are the court fees and interest.

If the claim has no merit then you have an option (after your defence is filed) to apply to strike the claim out. The court will consider an application if the claim has no merit, or is misconceived.

You should first invite the claimant to voluntarily discontinue their claim within 7 days if it gets to this point - tell them if they don't then you will apply to strike out and seek your costs if you are forced to do so. If you have no response or they reply and refuse then you could apply to strike out.

The application costs £275 but this is recoverable if your application succeeds. If you are on a low income, have low savings or in receipt of benefits then you can ask the court to waive the court fee. If you won the application, the claim is struck out.

The hearing (if the case gets that far) is likely to be held remotely, it's you, a district judge (who is a practising solicitor or barrister) and someone from the claimant company. The Judge decides and if you lost, you get 14 days to pay the sum. If paid in full within 30 days then nothing goes on your credit record.

If you lost and if you were unable to pay the full sum owed at that point you can also ask the court to pay by instalments (a simple form is sent in, form N245, and a fee of £14 unless you qualify for a fee exemption so if you are on a low income, have low savings or in receipt of benefits then you would qualify).

If the CCJ was not paid in full though bear in mind the credit record would contain the CCJ details for up to 6 years. After that it comes off the credit registers. I can assist you going forwards if it gets to the point they issue a claim.

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

Many thanks,

Jim

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

JimLawyer and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 20 days ago.
They think I owe them £4680. I have paid one instalment, £2250 and not paid the others. It was for tuition fees for a school. The invoice was sent in January 2020 and they only chased me for the outstanding balance in October. I communicated with them and asked for more information. My query is that due to COVID the school was closed for over £22 weeks and I feel that I should not have to pay the full amount. I was to avoid all county court judgements

Thanks, ***** ***** reply in your defence to say that you believe the pandemic affected the contract to such an extent that the school was unable to comply with it's contractual obligations (and the contract is therefore void). If you lose, you get 30 days to pay - nothing goes on your credit record if you pay the court ordered sum within 30 days. This assumes your defence fails and you lose the case at a final hearing