Got a court case in the pipeline? Don’t make life unnecessarily hard for yourself

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Seven 'deadly sins', that you must not fall foul of unless you want to make life in court even more difficult than it is already.

Author: Jason Williams
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Going to court as a car dealer and winning against a consumer is often hard going.  Whether we like it or not, consumers are usually given more leeway, more benefit of the doubt and more assistance “on the day” than car dealers are.

Consequently, here are seven “deadly sins”, that you must not fall foul of unless you want to make life in court even more difficult than it is already.

  1. DO Listen to Lawgistics. If we tell you that you are likely to lose in court, that your defence is not robust enough and that you should settle, remember that we are saying it to save you a defeat in court. We want the best outcome for you and do not want to waste anyone’s time (yours and ours) unnecessarily nor cost you more in the long-term.
  • DO NOT rely on others. It might seem a good idea to have your accountant listed as the company address at Companies House. But, will they be able to pass on important legal documents – with tight deadlines to comply with – if they are still working from home or if they are away from the office on business, holiday or otherwise? Using your physical trading address for the service of court documents will save you the grief, cost and risk of having to plead forgiveness to the court for not having responded to a deadline or court order, either on time or at all.
  • DO NOT assume that simply sending us a claim form is all we need. Unless you tell us your version of events, why the claimant is wrong and how you want us to help you defend your claim – and provide such information in a timely manner and not last minute – then we simply won’t be able to help you at all.
  • DO read what we have sent you in draft very carefully before signing. When we send you documents such as a suggested defence, please take the time to absorb every word and tell us if there is something inaccurate. Once you have signed and submitted a defence or a witness statement detailing your version of events, you cannot change your story and say something different in court
  • DO send us every communication from the court and your opponent. Ensure you send all communication promptly, no matter how unimportant it might seem to you. We will decide what is important and what is not when we see it, not when it is too late.
  • DO plan ahead as to when you are not going to be available to attend a court hearing. You are normally asked to give dates of unavailability up to six months ahead. So, if you don’t want to go to court on December 23rd or January 2nd, during half term or the night before your stag do, please let the court know that you won’t be available.  And if you need a particular day of the week to undertake religious activities such as prayers, tell the court not to book a hearing on that day of the week.  If plans change, e-mail the court of your new unavailability dates before they schedule a hearing.
  • DO remember that going to court is likely to be the only chance you will get to win your case so please, be prepared. Don’t think you can always appeal a loss because, in reality, it is most likely not going to happen. Lawgistics can often help arrange an advocate to attend court with you – supplied by an external advocacy company who will charge you separately – but only if you tell us in plenty of time before the hearing. An advocate can present your case for you by questioning your opponent and challenging their evidence and story.  However, they cannot answer questions for you and so the need to always be thoroughly prepared is a fundamental necessity if you want any chance of success in court.

Haswent

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Jason Williams

Legal Advisor

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