Court re-instates a claim because of its own error!

legal updates

One wonders how many times the courts have made the same error.

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When receiving court directions or orders, it is always advisable to read the terms very carefully – that is what we tell our members day in and day out.

And this is why we paid particular attention to a court notice that stated: “Unless the Claimant pays the hearing fee by (date) the Claim will be stuck out and will no longer exist. A fresh claim will need to be commenced.”

The deadline passed, and the Claim was struck out. 

The Claimant applied to have this decision changed and to reinstate the claim.

A hearing was called and our member, the Defendant, attended with an advocate at the cost of a couple of hundred pounds. The argument was that the claim had no reasonable prospect of succeeding, so it should not be reinstated.

The judge went on to reinstate the claim – but not for the reason anyone could have foreseen.

It was explained that because this was a 30-minute Dispute Resolution Hearing (or Early Neutral Evaluation as it is sometimes known), the judge who made the previous order should not have said a hearing fee was payable. The hearing fee is only payable in advance of a main hearing, and not a preliminary hearing. 

The judge thus had no other alternative than to allow the claim to be reinstated for that reason alone. This is all very good, except for the court’s original oversight that cost our member a lot of time and a fair amount of money too.

One wonders how many times the courts have made the same error and Claimants have paid a hearing fee, even when the type of hearing does not command a fee payment.

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