Going to Court… Any Advice?

Home Forum Chat Forum Going to Court… Any Advice?

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 78 total)
  • Going to Court… Any Advice?
  • highclimber
    Member

    why haven’t you got a lawyer?
    why haven’t you taken legal advice?

    yunki
    Member

    sounds like they’re on the back foot .. still, rather you than me..

    make sure that you wear clothing which conceals your tattoos..

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    Can’t help you, but good luck. Having seen what my ol’ man’s going through with utterly shit solicitors I hope you win and win good.

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    It’s difficult being a litigant in person.

    Maybe go along the day before and sit in on other proceedings so you understand a bit about what goes on?

    Shibboleth
    Member

    why haven’t you taken legal advice?

    It’s small claims track. I’ve spoken to my property solicitor informally, but the claim is for about ยฃ1600… It would cost more to employ a solicitor to act on my behalf…

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    Get another lawyer? May not be what you want to hear but there is a chance you will be eaten alive!

    Keep all corresponding. Think carefully before replying. Have you tried any other means of dispute resolution? Ombudsman etc. Normally the first place to go.

    Have you complained to the (can’t recall the name but lawyers association) as this is the normal thing with a dispute. What was the results of your complaint to them?

    If you have simply refused payment and not been willing to sort it out they may have a case that you have been difficult.

    (sorry it’s not very positive but would consult some legal advice or at least the CAB)

    I’ve been a couple of times. Its all pretty informal.

    Sounds obvious, but be honest, tell the truth, be prepared for cross examination on anything you say, and sound as much as possible like you are reasonable person looking for a reasonable solution and you’ll be fine.

    Don’t worry about any intimidation tactics by them, it will almost certainly backfire as the judge will take a very dim view of it.

    Shibboleth
    Member

    Mike, I’ve been to the ombudsman – they won’t get involved in negligence claims. I’ve done the court mediation thing as well – they offered to halve the bill, but I wasn’t prepared to do that on principal.

    tyke
    Member

    Listen to what the judge says. He/she may be sympathetic and cut you some slack as you are pleading your own case. But if it gets tricky the judge will say that you should get proper legal advice. Be prepared to have to put the unpaid fees into an escrow account as the other side will argue that your lack of experience is causing them to expend unnecessary effort and cost.

    peterfile
    Member

    Obviously, being up against lawyers, there’s a danger of them trying to make me look like a clueless muppet, any advice that may avoid this would be greatly appreciated.

    They won’t try to make you look like one, you’ll either be one or you won’t. Code of Conduct does not permit solicitors to take advantage of the fact that someone has no legal representation. Judges are well aware of this rule and will enforce if necessary.

    If you get a reasonable judge then you might get a bit of breathing space re procedural matters, however good luck if you get a judge who is having a bad day and doesn’t like LiP.

    b r
    Member

    they offered to halve the bill, but I wasn’t prepared to do that on principal.

    Forget principles, take their offer!

    An example:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2087556/Millionaire-neighbours-Guildford-war-wiggly-path-homes.html

    Mr Kennerley is now seeking, as a matter of legal principle, to have his right of way

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    Mike, I’ve been to the ombudsman – they won’t get involved in negligence claims. I’ve done the court mediation thing as well – they offered to halve the bill, but I wasn’t prepared to do that on principal.

    So long as you have explored other avenues that should look better for you.

    Shibboleth
    Member

    BR, it was mediation. I refused the offer so now it goes to court hearing. Worst case scenario is that I have to pay the bill plus costs (a couple of hundred quid). But I think I have a very strong case and they’ve really put me through the mill, so I’m going to fight it.

    Just knowing the amount of hassle it is for them to bring this case gives me quite a lot of satisfaction, and whilst I may be ordered to pay something, I’m pretty sure I won’t be ordered to pay everything as they really f****d up…

    After coming a cropper in court due to the wording of a question*, I would say first and foremost make sure that EVERYONE present uses clear language, question anything you don’t understand, and make sure others understand EXACTLY what you mean when you say something. County court is based on probabilities, and if you’re still trying to work out what the defendent has said when it’s your turn you’ll get torn apart.
    Secondly, go early and ask if there are any solicitors there doing some pro bono work. My friend was going to represent himself (in the same case as I was involved in) and ended up with a solicitor with an hour to spare doing the legwork for him out of the goodness of his heart.

    *I was asked, “Are you aware (present tense) that you could have done x instead of y?”
    Given that I was arrested and in court for “y” and had about 6 weeks to reflect on my actions, I answered “yes”. The magistrates took this to mean that I was aware at the time of doing “y” that I could have done “x”, which was not the case. My solicitor tells me that is when my previously strong case fell apart at the seams.

    If this makes me seem like part of the criminal underclass, let me just say that “y”, the thing I was arrested for, was what I had been told to do by a police officer. “X” would have been refusing to do what the police officer asked. Given it was my first ever encounter with the police, I thought it better to do what I was told. I’ll never make that mistake again.

    Remember to point out how much of a hassle it was for you too.

    When i went, the CAB was almost completely useless, requiring a day off work due to waiting times and offered no more help than the advice you can get on the ‘net. Legal Advice would easily have cost more than the claim.

    higgo
    Member

    I’m sure you know this but… are you able to demonstrate clearly how their mistake cost you money and how much?

    Shibboleth
    Member

    Higgo, it’s difficult to quantify, but I intend on spending this week working out how much billable work was “undone” by the negligence.

    I also intend to build a file of my own hours, and how much time it took me from doing billable work in my own commercial capacity.

    And I intend to demonstrate the addition stress I was put under…

    cheez0
    Member

    I’ve watched Judge Judy.

    Take lots of paperwork and evidence to back up anything you claim.

    highclimber
    Member

    if you can indeed prove they messed up then I wouldn’t worry about it.

    cheez0
    Member

    oh, and good luck, nail the lying, cheating, money-grabbing bastards*
    .
    .
    .
    .
    *other opinions are available, but not many.

    Shibboleth
    Member

    Thanks Cheez0, I fully intend to! ๐Ÿ˜€

    spchantler
    Member

    i have a lot of experience as a LIB, but only in family court, to get access to my children. in my experience, the judge has given me lots of leeway on procedure, make sure you’ve got your evidence filed beforehand, stick to your case, and be clear about what you want. its a bit daunting, but its fine, don’t worry, i find a couple of minutes of deep breathing before i go in helps. get them, there’s no excuse for negligence in legal cases. good luck

    the CAB was almost completely useless, requiring a day off work due to waiting times and offered no more help than the advice you can get on the ‘net.

    i agree totally with this, i’m sure they do good work in other areas though

    Premier Icon ourmaninthenorth
    Subscriber

    Litigation and the rules around it are a nightmare.

    Not least because you only have 14 days to submit your defence. Linky to relevant bit of CPR.

    You seem to have 2 things going on:

    1. Defence to their claim against you for an unpaid debt

    2. A counterclaim against them in negligence for your losses (leading you not to pay the debt).

    You can rely on point 2 as your defence, or you could go to the court and ask them how you submit a counterclaim for your losses (which may or may not be greater than the ยฃ1600 you have effectively set off).

    I know you probably don’t trust lawyers now, but if you consider your negligence claim to be reasonably robust (as you see it), then separate legal advice may be better in the long run.

    Good luck.

    Shibboleth
    Member

    Well, Friday is D-Day… I’m being sued by my divorce lawyer for unpaid fees after I withheld payment due to what I consider to be negligence on his part. Long story, but he failed to act on instructions which resulted in the final divorce settlement being withdrawn.

    My argument is that he effectively undid a lot of the work already paid for, caused me a lot of additional work and an unquantifiable amount of stress.

    I’ve submitted all the documentation to the court, now I just need to prepare the delivery of my defence. But having never been to court, I’m not sure how much time I’ll be allowed and what is the usual procedure.

    Obviously, being up against lawyers, there’s a danger of them trying to make me look like a clueless muppet, any advice that may avoid this would be greatly appreciated.

    As an aside, they wrote to me last week to tell me my defence stood no chance and invited me to “withdraw forthwith”. They also included a para stating that if attendance at final hearing is necessary, they reserve the right to refer to this and previous correspondence to demonstrate my “unreasonable conduct”.

    I intend to reply and remind them that it isn’t “unreasonable” to refer a matter like this to the county court! I might also suggest that I will use their letter to demonstrate their intimidation tactics!

    But surely for such a small sum it wouldn’t be worth getting proper legal advice. And after being stuffed once, does he want to spend more money with another legal professional anyway?

    Hope it goes well for you – whether or not you win, it is good to stand up for what you believe to be true and not be intimidated by the fact they are lawyers themselves.

    And also bask in the warm glow of the time and effort this will have cost them anyway ๐Ÿ™‚

    Premier Icon mrhoppy
    Subscriber

    99% of lawyers give the other 1% a bad name.

    Good luck, stay calm, be clear and ask for clarity on anything until you are entirely clear on the question/response.

    Premier Icon Jerome
    Subscriber

    Good on you mate.
    This has obviously annoyed you – maybe an understatement.
    My advice would be to keep emotions out of it.
    Keep 100% to the facts, with no unquantified opinions…
    A crazed rant about how useless your ex lawyer was/or is will not go down too well..
    ๐Ÿ™‚

    Premier Icon easygirl
    Subscriber

    Ive seen many people defend themselves in court
    From my experiences
    Be reasonable in putting you case forward, dont start slagging off the solicitors, present your case in an balanced way, and let the court decide.
    If the prosecution start using court lingo, politely tell the judge you don’t nderstand.
    Don’t pretend you are a solicitor, you are not, and the court will,help you through the process if you let them.

    If you present your case in a reasonable CALM manner, the court will help you out, and solicitors will not like it.
    If you start getting arsey, the solicitor will tear you apart, and you will lose

    I’ll give you 3 tips

    Keep calm
    Keep calm
    Present the evidence and only the evidence
    Good luck

    Shibboleth
    Member

    Thanks for the advice… I’m getting the message that I need to keep calm? ๐Ÿ™‚

    OMITN, I’m glad you dropped in as your advice at the mediation process was very helpful.

    I’ve just replied to their recent letter declining their kind offer to withdraw my defence. I also reminded them that my desire to have the case decided by a county court judge was not “unreasonable conduct” and that I reserved the right to refer to their letter as evidence of their attempt to intimate me. Grrrrr.

    Premier Icon Jerome
    Subscriber

    Trying to imagine possible scenarios of how the case could develop, and then how you would respond to these is the obvious advice.
    What will the line of targeting be on you.
    How exactly will you respond to questions on a,b,c, etc..
    What do you think the opposition is trying to achieve ??

    Premier Icon ourmaninthenorth
    Subscriber

    99% of lawyers give the other 1% a bad name.

    Dealt with many?

    peterfile
    Member

    Dealt with many?

    At least 100 it would seem ๐Ÿ™‚

    It’s the typical scenario where someone looks around for the cheapest high st lawyer they can find, doesn’t get what they wanted and then blames all lawyers. Or their only encounter with lawyers is when they get screwed over by their ex wife, or from watching PI claims adverts on the telly.

    I would be surprised if a non-lawyer could identify 99% of practise areas where the majority of the legal profession actually practise. I certainly still have to google some of my colleague’s practise areas ha ha!

    Premier Icon ourmaninthenorth
    Subscriber

    I reserved the right to refer to their letter as evidence of their attempt to intimate me

    A “drop hands” proposal isn’t unusual. I’ve got one on now, and we’ve said no as well.

    I suspect their letter has somewhere at the top of it “without prejudice” or similar. Note that WP correspondence is generally not admissible to court.

    But, since you’re a LiP, you could show it to the judge and ask him/her to help you out in determining what can and cannot be included as evidence.

    Sounds a nightmare. Good luck.

    Premier Icon easygirl
    Subscriber

    ive dealt with 100s of lawyers, barristers
    dont think they are bad people generally, but morally i would question them
    they will chat quite happily with you outside court, but when they get you in the box, they will try and totally dismantle your intergrity without a second thought.
    afterwards they will chat with you agian as if nothing has happened.
    in my experience most lawyers are driven by money

    peterfile
    Member

    ive dealt with 100s of lawyers, barristers
    dont think they are bad people generally, but morally i would question them
    they will chat quite happily with you outside court, but when they get you in the box, they will try and totally dismantle your intergrity without a second thought.
    afterwards they will chat with you agian as if nothing has happened.
    in my experience most lawyers are driven by money

    You’ve dealt with 100’s of litigators. That’s only a small part of the legal profession, and one which, due to the nature of the work, is often confrontational and driven by a win/lose scenario, where the losing party is obviously going to feel aggrieved.

    Most legal work isn’t like that. Litigation is for when things go wrong. Most things don’t end up being the subject of litigation.

    Incidentally, are you suggesting that the integrity of all litigants/defendants/witnesses is 100% intact or should not be subject to being examined by the court, paricularly where the integrity of the providing evidence is linked to the integrity of the evidence they are providing to the court?

    Litigants/defendants and witnesses lie just as much as lawyers do

    Premier Icon mrhoppy
    Subscriber

    Yep, individually theyre alright but they can be a right pita when you get 2 in a room. I did forget my smiley though.

    Premier Icon binners
    Subscriber

    Standards are slipping around here….

    2nd page and not a mention!

    mogrim
    Member

    in my experience most lawyers are driven by money

    Biased here, as my dad’s a lawyer, although he’s a solicitor in public employment, not a barrister, and he’s certainly not driven by money. Much to my mum’s disgust at times ๐Ÿ™‚

    Personal experience suggests that they’re not all like that in Spain, either. We spoke to a couple of lawyers when my wife had an accident, the first was the stereotypical fast-talking sleazy lawyer type, the second was a lot calmer and a pleasure to deal with.

    mogrim
    Member

    Oh, and good luck Shibboleth – has anyone mentioned the most important thing is to keep calm? ๐Ÿ™‚

    Shibboleth
    Member

    Jerome, it’s quite a complicated case. Negotiations had reached a point where I kept ownership of my rental portfolio that I’d had when I entered into the marriage and my wife kept the former marital home. I would also keep my current business premises that I’d acquire during the marriage.

    I just needed to demonstrate that I could refinance that property in my sole name and we could go our separate ways. The existing lender said they would remortgage it in my sole name and sent an offer letter, but my financial adviser warned me that this would impede my ability to buy a house on my own and advised me to restructure some business loans to include the business premises, therefore giving me a higher personal borrowing potential.

    I discussed this in detail with my solicitor and asked him to advise the opposition what I planned. He wrote asking if he could show them the letter from the existing lender, and I emailed him back to say yes. They had a system failure and lost that email (it was at the beginning of Jan 2010). I was of the belief that they had carried out my instructions and I was waiting to hear back (this often takes weeks and weeks). Nearly 12 weeks later, my solicitor’s colleague, chasing up loose ends while he was skiing, rang to ask why I’d not responded.

    I re-forwarded the email with express instructions that they apologise for losing my email and to carry out the instructions.

    By July that year, my ex-wife’s solicitors had withdrawn the proposed consent order and attempted to put my business premises on the market because I was “obviously unable to secure finance” – that couldn’t have been further from the truth, but over 6 months after asking me, he still hadn’t shown them the letter that proved finance was available, or explained what I planned to do.

    At that point, I sacked him and renegotiated the entire consent order from scratch. They’d smelt blood and tried to force me to sell the property and halve the equity which would have resulted in me loosing around ยฃ45,000.

    Phew, and that’s just the potted version!!! Basically, he wants me to pay the final bill, I’m saying I won’t due to the hassle it caused me and the fact that we basically rewound to the beginning of all the negotiations, but with an impatient opposition!

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 78 total)

The topic ‘Going to Court… Any Advice?’ is closed to new replies.