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Legal Costs from dropped vexatious claim?

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Don't know if this is the right place to ask this advice but here goes.

 

I am in dispute with a tiler and sought advice from tilersforums.co.uk. I then started to receive solicitors letters threatening harrassment and defamation etc. As I was working abroad, I had to get a Solicitor to deal with it. After 2 letters (the second only one line) and 1 response in the middle, there has nothing been received back from the other solicitors but I now have a bill just short of £500 (a lot of background information to be read but still a bit extortionate for a trainee grad 4 on £110).

 

This was action by the other party was designed to either scare me or cause me further financial loss.

 

My question is - is there any action that I can take to re-coupe my losses for legal advice.

 

Thanks in advance

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How many letters did your Solicitor write? How long did your Solicitor spend on the case for you?

 

Has your dispute with the tiler been sorted out? How? What happened?

 

In order to give competent advice substantially more information is needed!


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:!: All the information I impart is my advice based on my experience. It does not constitute professional advice. If in doubt, always consult with a professional. :!:

 

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Hi LegalPickle,

 

The issue is not resolved yet with the tiler-I have decided to hand the matter over to our legal cover on the home insurance (which we just realised we have) - if they accept, due to the fact the other side have a solicitor involved.

 

Having to do everything remotely, I sent an email to the solicitor containing the posts from the forums (there was a quite a number of them), and copies of letters sent and received, along with a potted history in brief. The solicitor did give the indication of a couple of hundred pounds for the work. He sent a 1 page letter to which they responded (and i have not seen this letter) - and he sent a letter back which by his own admission was only 1 line long to which he had no response. During this time (from 22 Apr) - i have received 2 phone calls - one to say he had not heard anything back yet, and the other today where costs were raised by him. His Client letter indicated the lowest amount of all the options on there - less than £500 ticked - and it will be - by about £5 :shock: although he has said they would go away and look at the costs again but that was only after he found out we were going to be using legal cover!!! obviously hoping to get that work

 

The history with the tiler is he done a dangerous and poor quality installation - spot fixing large heavy tiles in the bathroom and general poor quality. These had to be ripped off, walls made good and re-tiled - £1800 costs plus monies paid to the tiler. I have tried on a couple of occasions to resolve the issue with him - and even ended up being threatened by his Dad!! who I believe is funding his son with this.

 

I had a lot of support of Pro Tilers on tilersforums, and kept them upto date on progress - then when I posted the bathroom was being tiled - within one day, my wife, myself and the hosting company for the Forum (a general email address) received letters - all the same threatening Harassment and Defamation and demanding costs etc... This is where we sought the legal advice.

 

As I mentioned earlier - this was only caused to cause distress to my wife (as far as the other party knew I was working in Germany although I was home that week for Easter), slander my name by trying to censure me on tilersforums, try to scare us into dropping the case and last but by no means least - cause us further financial loss.

 

if you require any further information I am willing to supply as much as I can

 

Cheers

 

L

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Also, I have asked for a complete breakdown of time etc from the solicitors

 

Cheers

 

L

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1. I would have asked for advice on here if necessary, but actually ignored the letters. If their Solicitor had any clue of the laws on defamation, it would be a nightmare to prove, have to go to the High Court and be in front of a jury [the only civil matters that are in front of a jury].

 

2. What did the forum do?

 

3. When will you know if your insurance accepts taking on the matter?

 

4. So you have incurred the costs of another tiler to replace the shoddy work? [The costs you paid the original tiler would not be recovered, you would recover the costs to rectify the work, as that's the damage you have been caused]. Any other expenses, besides for the Solicitor, incurred?

 

The problem I foresee is that £1,800 is below the small claims limit of £5k so it is likely your claim will go through the small claims track, if it goes to court, and that means costs [above court fees] are unlikely to be recoverable.

 

6. What's the latest you've heard from the tiler's Solicitors?

 

7. Get copies of all correspondence between your Solicitor and the tiler's Solicitors.

 

8. Did you pay the original tiler by credit card or cash?


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:!: All the information I impart is my advice based on my experience. It does not constitute professional advice. If in doubt, always consult with a professional. :!:

 

:-) If you feel my post has been helpful, please click my scales. :-)

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1. I would have asked for advice on here if necessary, but actually ignored the letters. If their Solicitor had any clue of the laws on defamation, it would be a nightmare to prove, have to go to the High Court and be in front of a jury [the only civil matters that are in front of a jury]. Thanks - realise that now and really the solicitor that I got should of advised me of this for minimal cost!!

 

2. What did the forum do?They moved the thread into a professional members area and gave me access to there as a "honory tiler!!" and told the solicitor to shove it

 

3. When will you know if your insurance accepts taking on the matter?Forms coming in the post - need to fill them in and send them back

 

4. So you have incurred the costs of another tiler to replace the shoddy work? [The costs you paid the original tiler would not be recovered, you would recover the costs to rectify the work, as that's the damage you have been caused]. Any other expenses, besides for the Solicitor, incurred? Nothing except for my personal time of which it has taken a lot and caused a lot of stress

 

The problem I foresee is that £1,800 is below the small claims limit of £5k so it is likely your claim will go through the small claims track, if it goes to court, and that means costs [above court fees] are unlikely to be recoverable. I know that £260 costs can be recovered for legal advice etc to get you to court - I believe

 

6. What's the latest you've heard from the tiler's Solicitors? They are trying to get me to go through the construction ADR Protocol (from what I can gather anyway)

 

7. Get copies of all correspondence between your Solicitor and the tiler's Solicitors.Requested these and a complete breakdown of the invoice.

 

8. Did you pay the original tiler by credit card or cash?

- Cash I am afraid - total Job £500 including materials excluding tiles and trims. Job was not completed and he requested £350 which I paid him two days after the request from him and at this point I raised the quality and the spaces behind the tiles to be told that my walls are out (5 yr old new build) all over the place and you can't bend tiles!

 

Originally he scheduled the work for 3 days - he still hadn't completed after 10 business days although after the first 3 days it was a couple of hours here and there most days. A right pain for my Wife.

 

I have spoken to the legal advice today - they have informed me to register a complaint against the solicitor with LCS: Legal Complaints Service home due to the actions he has taken - I believe he breached the DPA when he sent a copy of his letter to me - unedited - to a "general" email address at the hosting company and also to look at persuing the other side for harrassment as :

 

1. They attempted to intimidate me in my own home (tiler and his dad) when I had invited the tiler round to try and resolve the issue

2. His Dad threatened me on the phone when I tried to resolve the issue by phone

3. His Dad later came back round to our house by himself to try and intimidate again

4. Due to the fact that they have not persued their harrasment and defamation claim further - this goes to prove that it was a tactic to cause us harrasment, distress, financial loss, and to try to scare us into dropping our case.

 

They said if you can show 3 events - We can show four and we actually got a police reference number for the threat in two above.

What are your thoughts on this?

 

Cheers

 

L

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2. Classic! Love it! :D

 

4. Costs issue. Rubbish! I don't know who told you that! In small claims track you can only claim costs if the other party acted unreasonably and it can be proven as such and the final decision is up to the judge. In accordance with CPR 27.14[2][g].

 

6. Do NOT communicate by phone with them. What's the name of the firm? If they contact you, ask them for their proposals by post, and when you get it, scan it in, remove confidential details and attach it here.

 

7. Excellent. When you get it, scan it in, remove confidential details and attach it here. What's the name of the firm you hired?

 

I have been thinking about the LCS for complaining about your Solicitors. Firstly, to the best of my knowledge complaints to the LCS can only be made against a firm that had a contractual relationship with you. Secondly, they can only be made after the firm has had sufficient time to respond to your complaints [usually 28 days].

 

Next, the first 3 issues you raise are issues between you and tiler [& his dad]. You cannot blame their Solicitor for this. Such a complaint would get thrown out for being unreasonable.

 

Also, the sending of the letter to the hosting company might not constitute a breach of the DPA, if the letter referred to alleged defamation on your part on the forum. If it raised anything else - that was not necessary to this cause - then it may breach the DPA, but that would be unlikely to be severe enough a breach to get anything for it.

 

I don't know what they meant by 3 events. I have never heard anything of the sort and have been involved in lodging a lot of complaints with the LCS and the SRA. To the best of my knowleydge it's complete rubbish.

 

I recommend you get copies from your Solicitor of everything ASAP and also let us know on whether the insurance company accept the claim, first and then we decide what to do.

 

Best of Luck!

 

Please keep us posted.


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:!: All the information I impart is my advice based on my experience. It does not constitute professional advice. If in doubt, always consult with a professional. :!:

 

:-) If you feel my post has been helpful, please click my scales. :-)

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2. Classic! Love it! :D I will let Dan know that ;)

 

4. Costs issue. Rubbish! I don't know who told you that! In small claims track you can only claim costs if the other party acted unreasonably and it can be proven as such and the final decision is up to the judge. In accordance with CPR 27.14[2][g].Sorry - I put that wrong - I can claim for up to £260ish - as you rightly point out - I might not get it however, I do feel that we can show they acted unreasonable by trying to bring a vexatious claim

 

6. Do NOT communicate by phone with them. What's the name of the firm? If they contact you, ask them for their proposals by post, and when you get it, scan it in, remove confidential details and attach it here. haven't since the phone call after our meeting with the tiler to try and sort it out - everything has been done by letter since

 

7. Excellent. When you get it, scan it in, remove confidential details and attach it here. What's the name of the firm you hired?sent you PM

 

I have been thinking about the LCS for complaining about your Solicitors. Firstly, to the best of my knowledge complaints to the LCS can only be made against a firm that had a contractual relationship with you. Secondly, they can only be made after the firm has had sufficient time to respond to your complaints [usually 28 days]. Thanks - on further looking it is the SRA I need to raise my complaint against - after writing to the senior Partner to raise my complaint with them

 

Next, the first 3 issues you raise are issues between you and tiler [& his dad]. You cannot blame their Solicitor for this. Such a complaint would get thrown out for being unreasonable.I was meaning against them - not the solicitor

 

Also, the sending of the letter to the hosting company might not constitute a breach of the DPA, if the letter referred to alleged defamation on your part on the forum. If it raised anything else - that was not necessary to this cause - then it may breach the DPA, but that would be unlikely to be severe enough a breach to get anything for it.Not looking to get anything for it - He has p155ed me off so want to make it uncomfortable for him - The only detail needed to be passed was my Username and the details of particular posts their clients considered defamatory or harrassing - there was much more in it than that - including my details and their clients - their solicitors were the ones that let those details out :p not me - never mentioned them by name or anything

 

I don't know what they meant by 3 events. I have never heard anything of the sort and have been involved in lodging a lot of complaints with the LCS and the SRA. To the best of my knowleydge it's complete rubbish. I think that the more events you have - the more likely your claim will be accepted/succeed

 

I recommend you get copies from your Solicitor of everything ASAP and also let us know on whether the insurance company accept the claim, first and then we decide what to do.

 

Best of Luck!

 

Please keep us posted.

Will do!!

 

Thanks

 

L

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4. I repeat RUBBISH! There is no limit if the Judge thinks they were unreasonable. The other problem you have is the Judge may say well so what if they threatened you with defamation that has nothing to do with the case for shoddy workmanship. I'd say it's a 50-50 if that.

 

6. Good. Keep a record.

 

7. Just for public knowledge - because it's against CAG rules for advice by PM - the PM was the names of the Solicitors, as the OP doesn't feel comfortable making that info public at the moment.

 

7.Cont. It's fine that you don't want the name of the firms involved, so when you get the letters from your previous Solicitors regarding the costs, scan them in and remove all confidential information, including identifying details regarding the firm, and then post them as attachments to a new post on this thread.

 

Regarding the complaint about the firm, no you don't need to raise the complaints with the firm before, if you're complaining to the SRA. You'd complain to the Fraud & Confidential Intelligence Bureau at the SRA. But, as I say it is VERY unlikely anything would be done about it.

 

Yeah, but the issues against the tiler & his dad can't be complained about to the SRA, so what's the relevance?

 

You're wrong. Communication from Solicitors should refer to the clients details. There's nothing wrong with that. If there were seriously confidential issues besides for that, then you would need to prove they could have caused you damage and violated the Solicitors Code of Conduct which is extremely unlikely.

 

Yeah, the more issues you have the more likely complaints & claims will succeed, but the only issue you raise that may remotely cause any damage to their Solicitors - which is extremely unlikely - is the alleged breach of the DPA. I suggest you hold on with this and wait to see if you can get any more ammunition as at the moment any complaint would be likely to be seen as sinking to their level and put straight into the shredder!

 

Awaiting updates on letters to proceed further.


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:!: All the information I impart is my advice based on my experience. It does not constitute professional advice. If in doubt, always consult with a professional. :!:

 

:-) If you feel my post has been helpful, please click my scales. :-)

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Hi LegalPickle,

 

Yeah, but the issues against the tiler & his dad can't be complained about to the SRA, so what's the relevance?

the Harassment claim would be against the other side - not their solicitor - I think we have had crossed wires there.

 

I would be complaining against the solicitors tactics to the SRA

 

The "email" sent to the hosting company was sent to contact@unt....... Not even directed at a position (ie director etc) and was an email containing a PDF - that could of been forwarded onto anybody by anybody who monitors that address. I would of thought that something like this should of been sent by mail - the address is available.

 

The defamation allegation was crafted and timed for after work had commenced on the bathroom (as posted on the forum in question) when keeping others up to date. They had been monitoring the forum for two months before that letter without raising any issue with ourselves. I feel - however I realize that that might be irrelevant in the law - that this shows their actions - and demanding a response in 24 hours as unreasonable behavior when their clients were aware that I worked away in another country at the time, and sending a copy to my wife to cause distress - this forced me to get a solicitor involved etc.....

 

Cheers

 

L

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I understand your frustration, but playing devil's advocate, I'd say you're not likely to get the SRA to do anything! I'm talking from experience.

 

Pressurizing a client's opponent is common in the legal field. There's nothing unlawful about it.

 

Sorry, but I'd say you'd be wasting your time.


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:!: All the information I impart is my advice based on my experience. It does not constitute professional advice. If in doubt, always consult with a professional. :!:

 

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Hi LegalPickle,

 

so, the law allows for people to be harassed and put at a financial loss for no good legal reason because some solicitor thinks he is God (and to quote somebody who knows him - loves himself) and untouchable with no comeback?

 

L

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Hi LegalPickle,

 

so, the law allows for people to be harassed and put at a financial loss for no good legal reason because some solicitor thinks he is God (and to quote somebody who knows him - loves himself) and untouchable with no comeback?

 

L

Nope. But there is a limit. Common business practices, whilst not nice, that are entirely lawful, do not grant you comeback unless you can prove that it was the Solicitor who deliberately decided to cause you financial loss.

 

Unfortunately such a complaint would not stand up.

 

If this Solicitor really has such a high and mighty attitude, the odds are that he will cross the wrong person one day and trip himself up, so I wouldn't be too concerned.


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:!: All the information I impart is my advice based on my experience. It does not constitute professional advice. If in doubt, always consult with a professional. :!:

 

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But I could still launch a claim for harassment against the other party though for their actions?

 

L

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But I could still launch a claim for harassment against the other party though for their actions?

 

L

You could try [i can't stop you doing anything you want!], but harrassment cases are VERY difficult to argue, cost a lot of money, and are rarely successful unless there is substantial evidence of harrassment, and I mean substantial. [Like telephone calls at all hours, letters every day, etc...]

 

On the basis of what you've posted so far, I'd say go for the shoddy workmanship claim and try to get your Solicitor's costs down. Next step would be waiting for the documents and costs breakdown from your Solicitors and the forms from the insurance company.


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:!: All the information I impart is my advice based on my experience. It does not constitute professional advice. If in doubt, always consult with a professional. :!:

 

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Thanks

 

L

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Thanks

 

L

No problemo.


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:!: All the information I impart is my advice based on my experience. It does not constitute professional advice. If in doubt, always consult with a professional. :!:

 

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Where:

 

1. A threatens to sue B

 

2. B takes legal advice

 

3. A backs off

 

B cannot claim the costs of his legal advice from A, however unreasonable A was to threaten to sue. Costs are in the award of the court. If there is no court case, there can be no award. No separate cause of action arises by which the costs can be claimed. It was B's choice to take legal advice.

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Where:

 

1. A threatens to sue B

 

2. B takes legal advice

 

3. A backs off

 

B cannot claim the costs of his legal advice from A, however unreasonable A was to threaten to sue. Costs are in the award of the court. If there is no court case, there can be no award. No separate cause of action arises by which the costs can be claimed. It was B's choice to take legal advice.

Pretty much true and what I was trying to say, though it was put much more clearly. There are very rare cases this wouldn't be the case, but they are very rare and this would be unlikely to be one of them.


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:!: All the information I impart is my advice based on my experience. It does not constitute professional advice. If in doubt, always consult with a professional. :!:

 

:-) If you feel my post has been helpful, please click my scales. :-)

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Expand a bit further....

 

B is looking to take A to small claims over dangerous work - not looking to involve solicitors etc.. to keep costs down

 

A then threatens to sue B issuing unreasonable demands

 

B takes legal advice and letters exchanged - the last being ignored by A's solicitors

 

A backs off - having succeeded in their attempt at putting B to further monetary loss and causing distress to B's wife

 

B continues for claim but has now lost more than 33% of the value because of A's scurrilous claim

 

As legalpickle states - it is up to the judge at the end of the day - I will include this to show unreasonable behavior of the other party and include the costs within my claim - I either get it or won't - nothing to loose really in that respect.

 

I can't but feel that this must go on all the time and really the law must be changed to somehow cover the other party if it can be proved it is a false or invalid claim - just my thoughts

 

Heard from our solicitor today - they have reduced the amount they are looking for - but did not let me know by how much. Wait and see

 

L

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Expand a bit further....

 

B is looking to take A to small claims over dangerous work - not looking to involve solicitors etc.. to keep costs down

 

A then threatens to sue B issuing unreasonable demands

 

B takes legal advice and letters exchanged - the last being ignored by A's solicitors

 

A backs off - having succeeded in their attempt at putting B to further monetary loss and causing distress to B's wife

 

B continues for claim but has now lost more than 33% of the value because of A's scurrilous claim

 

As legalpickle states - it is up to the judge at the end of the day - I will include this to show unreasonable behavior of the other party and include the costs within my claim - I either get it or won't - nothing to loose really in that respect.

 

I can't but feel that this must go on all the time and really the law must be changed to somehow cover the other party if it can be proved it is a false or invalid claim - just my thoughts

 

Heard from our solicitor today - they have reduced the amount they are looking for - but did not let me know by how much. Wait and see

 

L

Firstly, I would seriously think twice before doing what you are considering doing. Judges can get VERY annoyed when a party alleges things irrelevant to the claim. In your case, I would recommend leaving this out of the claim. Especially if you take the claim yourself, where the judge will most likely say that you could have found out the law yourself and responded to the other party whilst only incurring costs of postage. The last thing you want to do is **** of the judge and damage your real claim. In my humble opinion, you stand a higher chance of success in getting the costs you incur in your real claim, if they act unreasonably in defending it, than doing anything good for your claim by raising this in it.

 

Secondly, you're not completely right on the law. If a claim is actually issued in court and is vexatious or false, even if it is then dropped, then costs can be awarded on that claim and are more likely to be awarded in such a case.

 

The problem here is that no claim has been issued on this matter by the other side. If they had issued it, even if they had discontinued it 5 minutes after you respond to them stating an intent to defend the whole claim, you could apply for a costs order.

 

Onto changing the law, ranting about something does no good to you besides for getting it off your chest. It is probably the least important of any law that should be passed and there would be a high risk of abuse if such a law was formed, probably a higher risk of abuse with such a law than without it.

 

Finally, ok, please scan in all documents, erasing all confidential information, and post them as attachments when you get them.


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:!: All the information I impart is my advice based on my experience. It does not constitute professional advice. If in doubt, always consult with a professional. :!:

 

:-) If you feel my post has been helpful, please click my scales. :-)

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I understand what you are saying - I just feel that this is a cost we would not of incurred if the tiler had done his job right in the first place. For me I see it as all arising from one cause - his dangerous work!!

I will definitely use it at least if needed to show their unreasonable behaviour - if not for the costs element.

 

For me I see a clear path and cause of the whole issues - which starts at his doorstep

 

The letters will not be up for another week as we go on hols tomorrow

 

L

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I understand what you are saying - I just feel that this is a cost we would not of incurred if the tiler had done his job right in the first place. For me I see it as all arising from one cause - his dangerous work!!

I will definitely use it at least if needed to show their unreasonable behaviour - if not for the costs element.

 

For me I see a clear path and cause of the whole issues - which starts at his doorstep

 

The letters will not be up for another week as we go on hols tomorrow

 

L

Enjoy


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:!: All the information I impart is my advice based on my experience. It does not constitute professional advice. If in doubt, always consult with a professional. :!:

 

:-) If you feel my post has been helpful, please click my scales. :-)

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Enjoy

 

Thanks - will post soon :)

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