In? Out? Let the court shake it all about!

legal updates

Costs can be awarded against a party in a small claims hearings if the judge feels that a party has conducted themselves unreasonably.

Read our disclaimer keyboard_arrow_down

This website content is intended as a general guide to law as it applies to the motor trade. Lawgistics has taken every effort to ensure that the contents are as accurate and up to date as at the date of first publication.

The laws and opinions expressed within this website may be varied as the law develops. As such we cannot accept liability for or the consequence of, any change of law, or official guidelines since publication or any misuse of the information provided.

The opinions in this website are based upon the experience of the authors and it must be recognised that only the courts and recognised tribunals can interpret the law with authority.

Examples given within the website are based on the experience of the authors and centre upon issues that commonly give rise to disputes. Each situation in practice will be different and may comprise several points commented upon.

If you have any doubt about the correct legal position you should seek further legal advice from Lawgistics or a suitably qualified solicitor. We cannot accept liability for your failure to take professional advice where it should reasonably be sought by a prudent person.

All characters are fictitious and should not be taken as referring to any person living or dead.

Use of this website shall be considered acceptance of the terms of the disclaimer presented above.

A somewhat unique court case this – and we shall wait to see which way it goes. But what do you think?

A fairly mundane start. Our client, a Motor Dealer (MD) sells a car to a Finance Company (FC) who, in turn, supply it to their Customer (CU).  Nothing unusual there. The CU alleges the car is defective and issues court proceedings for the cost of repair – about £3,600 – against our client exclusively. The MD’s position is that there is no claim against them because they did not sell the car to him – only to the FC.

Even though it is small claims, the CU instructs solicitors. We convince the solicitors that if the case proceeds against the MD, their client, the CU, will have to pay the MD’s advocate’s attendance costs at the hearing because the CU had been repeatedly told of the lack of contractual ties between him and the MD. Costs can be awarded against a party in a small claims hearings if the judge feels that a party has conducted themselves unreasonably.

The CU’s solicitor agrees with us, draws up a formal consent order that is signed by all parties, it’s sent to the court, and the order is paid for by the CU. The consent order was for the CU to discontinue the claim against the MD in exchange for no attendance costs order. The claim against our client is thus no more – it has been discontinued. Yippee!

The CU goes away and brings the exact same claim exclusively against the FC. In fairness, the FC defend the claim because they don’t believe the car was defective. We are subsequently told that at the hearing, the CU started to blame our client, the MD, for some alleged wrongdoing on their part as regards to some warranty that was given. The judge – oblivious to all of the above – tells the CU that he is allowed to make an application to the court to ask for permission for the MD to be joined as a defendant to proceedings!

The CU has made the application. Naturally, we have helped our client oppose the application on the basis that it is wholly inappropriate for a claimant to formally discontinue a claim against a defendant – and then request for them to be reintroduced as a party to the same claim 10 months later.

So, will the court allow the CU to reintroduce our client as a defendant? Despite the CU having previously told the court that he did not want to continue the claim he previously made against the MD? What do you think will happen?

Don’t rush with your answers though. The hearing to decide this issue only is set for, er, June 2023!

HaswentWebsites for dealers small and large

Composer is a next-gen automotive platform that has been designed from the ground up to give you an intuitive way to promote your stock. You have extensive stock management options, and you'll gain a brilliantly responsive new website to advertise your stock, starting at just £39.99/month.

Jason WilliamsLegal AdvisorRead More by this author

Related Legal Updates

Proceed with caution: legal pitfalls in caravan and motorhome deals

Curious if one of these vehicles is in your possession? Verify your stock and arm yourself with essential legal knowledge to navigate any potential challenges.

How to win a court claim from the outset

A poorly prepared or non-compliant claim could result in the case being thrown out and/or not everything being awarded to you.

The Importance of Discontinuance

What was evident in our member’s claim, was that the Claimant wanted a second bite of the cherry after withdrawing their previous claim.

An eventful small claims hearing

Discover how a simple oversight in witness representation and off-screen coaching at a remote hearing can dramatically impact legal outcomes, underscoring the critical need for adherence to procedural rules and proper pre-action conduct in our latest insightful article.

From initial complaint to court claim form – let us help you

You can feel assured that court deadlines are attended to with the required attention and specialism.

Is it time to ditch “Dear Sirs”?

Clearly, “Dear Sirs” is old-fashioned, but is it sexist?

Location, Location, Mislocation: A costly oversight in court attendance

What the unfortunate Claimants (husband and wife) had not appreciated, was that the hearing was listed for the court at Central London.

Get in touch

Complete the form to get in touch or via our details below:

01480 455500

Vinpenta House
High Causeway

By submitting this quote you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy & Cookies Policy.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.