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  1. Hi all. Someone suggested I post the outcome of my small claims defence/counterclaim, so here goes: Not great. Judge was 'good at managing the case' = really good at steering course of day the way she wanted, with no chance to divert from her purpose. Which was to ignore most of the evidence and to go on verbal accounts. Judge hadn't read any of the statements, or report, or any part of the paperwork. Thought paperwork excessive. Did not realise claimant was source of all the paper - thought it was me. Perhaps because mine was neatly tabbed with easy-to-find tabs. That thi
  2. Good evening, anyone who's got time to read this: another question, please. Included in the bundle is now a 'witness statement' from one a supplier who sold the claimant a product we think was completely unsuitable for the job. This same person told me on the phone (rough transscript made during call) and in two separate e-mails that the product was not suitable as used, and I appended this as part of my statement. This supplier's signed statement is dated two days after document exchange. It contradicts what the man told me directly. While I can probably argue that he's tweaked his
  3. Thank you, Steampowered! So many unknowns... Here's another: going through the bundle, I found a copy of the claimant's defence to counterclaim, unsigned. He sent that in the spring, in response to my counterclaim, by e-mail, also unsigned. He never sent me a hard copy. He may have sent a signed hard copy to the court, but I don't know. If he hasn't done so, does that invalidate his defence to the counterclaim? And if that were so, what would be the implications for the hearing? As ever, any tips and advice more than welcome. Now back to the bundle... Cheers! Sue
  4. Thank you, Steampowered, that's sound advice. I'm struggling to get away from trying to present myself as 'the reasonable one' and the other side as unreasonable; I can see it's important to focus on the contents of statements etc - will try to practice that. The bundle has just materialised, will require a lot of work to file all the loose leaves supplied in document pouches. It does not include items I asked to be included - e.g. an annotated drawing to illustrate a typical sash window and post-report correspondence with the expert. Can I provide information like this at the hearin
  5. Good morning! Another question, as I prepare for the hearing: how would I address the question of privileged information with the Judge? I would be quite happy to have all the settlement negotiations with the claimant out in the open, as they indulged in a series of, shall we say, 'creative' calculations in offering settlement, telling me that I'm only after money etc. The offers, while far too low compared to what it would cost to fix their mess, did effectively include 'dropping the claim' (that was verbatim in the privileged letter they included in their evidence pack) and offering
  6. Thank you! Update: the claimant's son, who is as involved in the litigation as his father, has just informed me the father is in hospital 'for tests' after 'a suspected mini stroke'. So the case may be delayed anyway... but I have to carry on regardless. Can't help feling sorry for the man either, even though he's putting me through all this so needlessly. Thank you for all the advice - it is helping me focus on what matters. Cheers! Sue
  7. Thank you, Sadie, Steampowered and SabreSheep - this is all very helpful. Writing to the Court with request to pass communcation with claimant about the bundle has helped concentrate the claimant's mind - he is now trying to get a bundle in the post today. Claimant has not responded to several enquiries regarding witness statement filed after exchange. I know from asking a court official that he did file such a statement with the Court. From the comments here I gather that I can at the very least expect the Judge to disallow this, and possibly it may lead to the case being struc
  8. Update: Claimant now says he is 'currently' working on the bundle (was due today) and claiming ignorance of court process (but was well able to get instant response from court about filing a new witness statement - so I hope that won't wash). Reply came only after I wrote to the Court asking the matter to be referred to the Judge. New question: claimant has now asked for additional documents that he wants to be included in the bundle. I think he wants those in the hope of incriminating me in some way (e.g. quotes that I used to ask for increase in counterclaim - but that part of the pr
  9. Thanks for the comment, Steampowered. Yes, I had thought of bringing a bundle myself - but to do all that extra work and have all the expense is very upsetting. It would probably take a day to do this - which takes time away from preparing for the hearing on Tuesday: even just going to buy more printer cartridges, folders, paper etc, let alone all the systematic work required - quite different from the papers I need to prepare just for myself. It's all complex and a vast amount of cross-referencing to correspondence is needed to show discrepancies, lies etc. This case has dragge
  10. Hi Sabresheep, that's such a fun idea - 'enjoy the chaos'. Wish I could - instead I rang the court again yesterday: they say it is quite possible the judge will adjourn the case if there is no proper bundle and tell the claimant to go 'do his homework'. At our local court here, adjournment means about three months before the next hearing. I can't stand the thought of turning up next Tues, having spent over a week swatting up on all the details, working out what matters and how to focus on it - only to be sent home again. And having to do it all over again a few months down the line.
  11. PS there is a point in the most recent court order specifically instructing claimant to prepare a bundle, with a deadline. Sue
  12. Thank you very much, BankFodder (I trust you were an indigestible meal for that bank?) The tips about asking questions are really useful - more homework! Meantime, another thing: we came to realise the claimant didn't know the significance of a bundle. Because of the implication (no bundle before hearing = judge won't be able to form such a clear picture of the case/during hearing chaos as sheaves of unsorted paper are shuffled) we sent the claimant some online info about how to prepare a bundle. They have just written back (bundle should be with the Court tomorrow) saying th
  13. Good morning, Can someone please help me understand: The claimant wrote to the court late last week saying that in the light of my witness statement, he wants to change HIS witness statement - that is, after exchange of documents. The Court admin has told me today that the Court sent a letter to the claimant saying that they "do not need the Judge's permission to file statements" - which apparently means they can file another statement as they please. I thought that exchange of documents is on the same day so that one party's evidence can't be used to influence the wa
  14. Thank you very much for the comments, BankFodder. Strategic thinking doesn't come naturally for me, so these tips about keeping things up my sleeve are great. To clarify - I wasn't all that courageous - until the MCOL claim landed on the doormat, legal action didn't feature on my horizon. Those joiners sued ME, and it was then I decided to counterclaim because I had of course started to look in more detail at their work: by then I could see the repairs would amount to more than the outstanding amount they were suing for. The investigations while trying to fight the case brought out
  15. Good evening. In a two-year small claims case (yes - two years!) it looks like things are finally heading to trial*. I am the defendant/counter-claimant and litigant-in-person. Other party also representing themselves. I have just exchanged documents with the other side. On reading their witness statements, I find that one of the statements makes explicit reference to previous settlement offers from us that were clearly marked 'without prejudice'. The figures cited are figures that were presented, but are used to misrepresent the actual offers/counteroffers dialogue (to make me sou
  16. Thanks, Steampowered. I agree that it can't be a good defence - but was hoping to be able to add in some definite regulation about this, just in case the judge who finally looks at this (not till August... but have to submit now) doesn't know the rules himself/to make even the obvious as crystal clear as possible. Although we raised several concerns before they left, the claimant is simply denying this, so no proof on that one. Sigh... amazing how difficult it can get to prove something when the other side is happy to tell straight lies. Cheers, Suse
  17. Hello again! The saga continues... after some legal contortions, we now do have permission to submit a draft for amending our original counterclaim. So I'd love a bit more advice, please: Question: the joiner says our dispute with him is not valid because we did not raise our concerns with him before he left the premises (this is untrue anyway - we raised several concerns while the work was going on). Is there legal chapter and verse I can quote about consumer rights in relation to this? Where can I find official guidance about time limits for complaints in the building trade, and
  18. Hi everyone - another update, another yelp for help... So far: cowboy window people made MCOL claim against us as we withheld (a small amount of) money from their final bill. Recently filed request to vary the counterclaim (form N244) as further problems with the windows had emerged since original counterclaim. Then - two days before going on holiday 10 days ago, received an order that we must attend a hearing for this request: but on the day after our holiday, and provide evidence re change of claim. Rang court in panic: advice was to send e-mail showing holiday bookings evidenc
  19. Happy just-after-Easter everyone. Here is yet another question from the small claims minefield: filed a form N244 to vary the counterclaim a couple of weeks ago, and obviously still waiting to hear (courts seem to take a couple of months for any sorts of responses). This overlapped with dates for delivering documents given in the court order we had received. So the other side have now sent an envelope with papers. I haven't opened it yet, because I am wondering the following: if I open this, then I could be 'ahead' of the other side because I haven't reciprocated (pending permission
  20. Hi again - update. I had been given to understand that an Order has to be complied with even if it is about to be superseded by something else. At the weekend I got talking to a lawyer at a social event and expressed my surprise at this. He told me I don't have to comply with the Order if there is a request to vary my counterclaim pending and the request was made within the 7 day limit given in the order. He really seemed to know his stuff, so I'm going with that. Phew. Cheers. Sue
  21. Hi everyone - no questions this time, just an update, bascially for anyone who ever browses here in search of info: Filed Form N244. Now I've got a week to comply with the original order because it arrived at the weekend and I could only find out about how to vary the counterclaim on Monday (and all the questions about that form over the days since). I thought this was worth a mention because I was so surprised to learn (doing some very careful reading between the lines from the court enquiries person, who would not give a straight answer about this) that I definitely have to comply with the
  22. Oh... that's interesting. Do the courts go by when the first claim was made, then? Because the adjusted counterclaim, assuming this Form N244 is accepted, could certainly not go in before 1st April. I wouldn't want to file a separate, fresh claim against the other side, even if I thought they might pay up. We only filed the counterclaim because, having been forced into defending ourselves, we felt this would give us a better chance of showing how bad the workmanship is - and also to have a compromise to offer - you drop yours, we'll drop ours, sort of thing. In an ideal world, I'd r
  23. Cheers, Andy. They claimed £1100, the money we withheld from them once we realised there were real problems - about 10% of the total. We have claimed £2500 to cover raking out the unsuitable caulk they used to fit the windows, repair damage to plaster from smashing out windows, and re-painting - not enough even for that, but we didn't have proper quotes in yet nor the results from the Dulux paint check when we initially had to respond. What the extra work might cost I have no idea. Going to try and get some actual window makers in to take a look now, although as I've noticed before w
  24. Thank you so much - almost ready to send off the form now, and it feels great to have a bit of confidence. But I've got another question: if the new quotes, once we've got them, take the thing over the £5000 cut-off, what happens? I'm asking because I think it is very likely, given the problems we're now uncovering. I'd be grateful for some indication of the various options. Cheers! Sue
  25. Thank you so much, Andy! Almost all clear, and incredibly helpful. Just to be sure: do I fill in Box 3. as I wrote it in previous mail + also use that text, just as you have formatted it in your reply, to draw up a Draft Order myself, which I would attach to the form? Really grateful and cautiously sighing relief, Suse
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