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N1 Claim Form - No Particulars

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I have just 14 days to reply to a N1 claim form and urgently need help. If somebody has time to comment I would be very grateful.

 

I have received an N1 County Court Claim Form which lists no Particulars of Claim and does not indicate whether they are attached or "to follow".

 

What should I do?

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Is the N1 form stamped by the Court ?

 

If so, give the Court a call to see if they can provide any further info.


 

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Is it from Northampton does it have a case number and your unique MCOL password and logon name?

 

 

Andy


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Is the N1 form stamped by the Court ?

 

If so, give the Court a call to see if they can provide any further info.

 

I have phoned the court and got a very dissinterested person on the other end who just wanted to get off the phone.

 

They originally told me to contact the Claimant about it.

 

Then when I said there was only 14 days to respond so waiting for a response was risky they said I could file the acknowledgement of service to get 28 days but that I didn't have to because there was no particulars of the claim.

 

I then responded that if I didn't file an acknowledgement of service and I didn't file a defence they could just proceed and the rely was that they shouldn't do that without particulars of the claim.

 

It's all very confusing and the Court officials attitude and answers don't fill me with confidence that they are in fact correct.

 

Is there any way I should proceed with this advice? Should I write to the court documenting what I have been told or will that have no value should the advice have been correct?

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Is it from Northampton does it have a case number and your unique MCOL password and logon name?

 

 

Andy

 

Hi Andy,

 

Thanks for your advice. It is in fact Liverpool County Court.

 

John

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Just acknowledge the claim for now that will give breathing space for further investigations. who is the Claimant or Sols acting does the claim amount or company ring any bells with your financial dealings?

 

Regards

 

Andy


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Just acknowledge the claim for now that will give breathing space for further investigations. who is the Claimant or Sols acting does the claim amount or company ring any bells with your financial dealings?

 

Regards

 

Andy

 

Hi

 

Yes, I am well aware who the Claimant is and they have previously demanded the amount claimed. The trouble is I dispute the amount and am not sure they are the party who should be paid.

 

This all relates to service charges on a flat. The ownership of the block of flats changed last October and the Claimant is the old landlord's managing agent. On sale of the freehold the 'right to sue' usually passes from the old landlord to the new landlord. Since October I have been demanding proof of the charges from the new landlord (who is connected to the old landlord) and they have been saying they don't have it and that I should take any disputes to the old landlords managing agent.

 

Unless the whole thing is bogus then the debt must have been assigned to the old landlord's managing agent. I have, however never been told of this assignment and a letter to the managing agent dated 2/7/10 asking for proof that they have the right to sue has not been replied to.

 

To further complicate matters, on 5/7/10 I applied to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal (LVT) to determine 'to whom the payment should be made' and 'whether the amount is reasonable'. The Respondent for this is the new landlord.

 

I've had some advice that I should tell the County Court about this dispute and the court have told me to write to the Court Manager. However I'm worried about time limits.

 

The Acknowledgement of Service form asks you to indicate whether you defend all or part of the claim. I have no idea how much of the claim I dispute because I don't know if the debt has been assigned and I don't know if the debt is reasonable because I have not been provided with receipts and invoices for the services provided. It is also not purely a matter of whether charges have been paid by the landlord, these charges have to be reasonable too.

 

You say to acknowledge the service, but what should I say about how much I'm defending? Or should I acknowledge receipt in a letter and ask for the case to be put on hold until the LVT have come to a decision?

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You must acknowledge using the form provided otherwise it will be rejected and the Landlord will attain a CCJ against you.With regards to defending defend all of the claim its the only way to ensure no CCJ by default.Defend all then argue the amount within your defence.

Liability is upon the Claimant to prove their claim and amount.

 

 

Regards

 

Andy

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You must acknowledge using the form provided otherwise it will be rejected and the Landlord will attain a CCJ against you.With regards to defending defend all of the claim its the only way to ensure no CCJ by default.Defend all then argue the amount within your defence.

Liability is upon the Claimant to prove their claim and amount.

 

Thanks Andy,

 

I've spent a fair amount of time reading posts on here and looking at some of the Civil Procedure Rules. It's a lot to take in and I will no doubt have to read it a few times before I feel comfortable about what to do.

 

One thing that worries me are the time limits. When I spoke to the Court yesterday they said they try and respond to letters within 10 days which sounds like it can eat up a lot of whatever time you have left.

 

The Claimant can wait 14 days before sending in particulars of the claim. If the case isn't transferred to the LVT then I could be in trouble trying to get a defence written. Then there's things like CPR 31.14 and Discovery which I might need to do.

 

If the claimant sends particulars of the claim, does it have to go to the Court or can he send it direct to me? I'm thinking that they may claim to have sent me something that I haven't received.

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Hi

 

Time limits are critical in any claim and 95% of all claims are successful on the misunderstanding of how the process works.Claims once submitted and if defended are allocated into tracks dependent on the value of the claim.SCT Small claims FT Fast Track and MT Multi track.I would envisage that yours would fall into the SCT (less than 5K).

Good on costs bad on disclosure and very much steered by the DJ dealing with the claim.

Also restricted to the use of the CPR so try not to complicate this matter.

If the Claimant wishes or as to change the P.o.C there is a process which will impact on your time to A.o.S.They have to request the permission of the Court and also inform you the defendent of this change.All this takes time and essentially it is not your concern or your problem.Its their claim!!!

Speaking to Court staff may feel satisfying they say this that and the other and dish out advise which really you should take with a pinch of salt.

I will just outline again the process you have 33 days to act on any claim 5 days deemed served that leaves you with 28 days.Fourteen to AoS (acknowledge service) and a further 14 to submit ones defence.

I will reiterate the only way to stop a CCJ by default is to AoS on time and Defend in full anything else ie partial or dithering will give rise to the Claimant attaining said CCJ after that it will get very messy appealing fighting saying you was told this that and the other by Court staff.

Acknowledge ASAP send the Claimant a CPR 31.16 in the absence of no detailed P.O.C(you can send a CPR 31.14 if and after they amend the P.o.C) request pertaining to the Claim and Defend all.

Once you have done the above sit back relax and let the Claimant sort out what exactly they are claiming,you will be on safe ground and able to prepare your defence.

 

Regards

 

Andy

Edited by Andyorch

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Hi

 

Acknowledge ASAP send the Claimant a CPR 31.18 in the absence of no detailed P.O.C(you can send a CPR 31.14 if and after they amend the P.o.C) request pertaining to the Claim and Defend all.

 

Thanks again Andy.

 

Where should I be looking to find out about a CPR 31.18?

 

I'm looking in Civil Procedure Rules and find:

 

Rules not to limit other powers of the court to order disclosure

 

31.18

 

Rules 31.16 and 31.17 do not limit any other power which the court may have to order –

(a) disclosure before proceedings have started; and

 

(b) disclosure against a person who is not a party to proceedings.

 

Is this what you are referring to?

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Apologies RGK should read CPR 31.16.

However try not to get to bogged down with the CPR as said I assume your case will fall into SCT and therefore the CPR is very restricted to this track.

 

Moving back on to the CLaimants blank P.o.C

The particulars of claim in English litigation is the statement of facts attached to the claim form that sets out the causes of action that the claimant intends to press against the defendant in litigation.

The particulars must contain a concise statement of the nature of the claim, the remedies that the claimant seeks from the court; the sum of money claimed, where the particulars contain a claim for money; whether interest is also claimed. Civil Procedure Rules require additional information in certain types of cases.

Ideally, the particulars of claim should be served with the claim form. If it is not, it must be served within 14 days of service of the claim form. The particulars must be supported by a statement of truth, in the form ‘[i believe][the claimant believes] that the facts stated in these particulars of claim are true.’

The document should be broken up into individual numbered paragraphs.

Importantly, the following information must be set out in the document:

  1. Any allegations of fraud
  2. Alleged illegality
  3. Details of any misrepresentation
  4. Details of alleged breaches of trust (including fiduciary duties)
  5. Notice or knowledge of a fact
  6. Unsoundness of mind or undue influence
  7. Details of wilful default
  8. Facts relating to mitigation of loss or damage.

Where injunctive relief or a declaration is sought in respect to land, the particulars must identify the land; where goods are sought to be recovered, the value of the goods must be specified; where the claim is based on a written agreement, the contract should be attached to the particulars or at very least the relevant clauses should be set out in the document; where an oral agreement is relied upon, the contractual words must be set out in the particulars; and in the case of an agreement by conduct, the acts relied upon must be set out.

 

 

Regards

 

Andy


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Apologies RGK should read CPR 31.16.

However try not to get to bogged down with the CPR as said I assume your case will fall into SCT and therefore the CPR is very restricted to this track.

 

 

You are correct about the the tracking. The amount claimed is circa. £1700

 

My obsession with CPR 31.16 is down to my suspicion that I will not receive any P.O.A. and that the claimant will try to rely on the brief details of claim. You seemed to suggest I could use Discovery to force them to produce the P.O.A. Will that be the case with the SCT?

 

CPR 31.16 relates to 'disclosure before proceedings start'. When do proceedings officially start?

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Proceedings start from the moment the N1 is deemed served IE within the 5 days then the 28 days for your response and intended intentions.

Your case being different to the norm, CC, loan,OD cases on here, the CPR can be used to discover the foundation of the Claimants claim.What it can be expected to return would be paperwork to justify the Claimants case and amount in question. All this will have to be backed up in a Court has to how the Claimant makes his claim and proof that which his case relies upon.

Can you actually post up the scant details of their P.o.C verbatim and I will see the best way to use the correct CPR request if any is required.

 

As I have said you have no control over how and when the Claimant amends their P.o.C and in the meantime can only submit an intention to defend all until such time the Claimant can explain and justify their claim.

Owness is upon them as they will have to explain to the DJ the merits of their claim,or are they expecting you not to defend on the hope of a CCJ by default?

 

Regards

 

Andy


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Can you actually post up the scant details of their P.o.C verbatim and I will see the best way to use the correct CPR request if any is required.

 

There is no P.o.C. Neither of the "attached" or "to follow" statements have been crossed out.

 

Under the title 'Brief details of claim' on the front of the N1 form it says:

 

The Claimant provided services to the defendant at Flat N, N VVVVV Road, HHHHHH, Postcode

 

The Claimant invoiced the Defendant, providing certified copies of expenditure. The Claimant claims:-

 

1 The Sum of £1652.27

2 Late payment interest under the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1988 ("the Act")

3. Late payment interest on a daily basis to the date of judgement

4. Statutory Compensation under the Act being a fixed sum of £70

 

I appreciate that I don't need to do anything yet (I've sent the acknowledgement of service) but I always feel happier knowing my next move.

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Hi RGK

 

I would normally advocate the use of CPR 18 in these cases which will request all documents they wish to rely upon.Send not less than recorded delivery and retain proof of postage.I would allow them 10 days to respond and head the request "Request for documentation under CPR 18"

They may respond they may not (CPR 18 is not applicable to SCT) but you can refer to it later in your defence.

 

You may also wish to print this off for your file if not all ready done so:-

 

http://www.justice.gov.uk/civil/procrules_fin/menus/protocol.htm

 

Further ammunition for your defence.

 

Regards

 

Andy

Edited by Andyorch

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Hi RGK

 

I would normally advocate the use of CPR 18 in these cases which will request all documents they wish to rely upon.

 

Excellent. Thank you!

 

I note your comment that these rules are not applicable for SCT cases. I've also seen other postings on here that advise requests for information before a track is selected by the courts, these people are saying that because it has not been assigned to the SCT yet then they can use the procedure. What do you think of that argument? At what point is a track selected?

 

The description of 18.1 says "the court may at any time order...". Should my request not be sent to the court rather than the Claimant?

 

The "at any time" bit in the above statement would suggest that I could actually go ahead with a request right away, before the P.o.C are received. What do you think of that idea?

 

Thanks again

 

John

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Excellent. Thank you!

 

I note your comment that these rules are not applicable for SCT cases. I've also seen other postings on here that advise requests for information before a track is selected by the courts, these people are saying that because it has not been assigned to the SCT yet then they can use the procedure. What do you think of that argument? Nonsense have they been successful? At what point is a track selected? At Allocation and then AQs are released after consideration of complexities of each case.

 

The description of 18.1 says "the court may at any time order..." This is referring to FT and MT. Should my request not be sent to the court rather than the Claimant? No send it to the Sols names on the N1 acting for the Claimant

 

The "at any time" bit in the above statement would suggest that I could actually go ahead with a request right away, before the P.o.C are received. What do you think of that idea? Absolutely its the norm to send CPR as soon as any Summons hits the mat,this enables more time for response before submission of ones defence (if they decide to comply)

 

Thanks again

 

John

 

 

Ok for now John?

 

Regards

 

Andy


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Ok for now John?

 

Regards

 

Andy

 

Yes, Many thanks.

 

Incidentally, if you're interested, that post which suggests discovery action before allocation to SCT is of significance is here. I'm not sure if the argument has been used successfully.

 

That letter also suggests demanding receipt of the information within 7 days of receipt. Is that something you recommend?

 

It is also pretty specific about other points such as how much effort they need to go to. What do you feel about all this? Is it worth adopting the whole letter and replacing the CPR31.4 with CPR18?

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CPR 31.14 would apply to the this line in the Claimants P.o.C and only that specific document

 

The Claimant invoiced the Defendant, providing certified copies of expenditure. The Claimant claims:-

 

Considering the nature of your case CPR 18 may be considered to prove fruitless as little data would be expected to be held in in relation to the claim in this matter, however it may reveal the nature of :-

 

The Claimant provided services to the defendant at Flat N, N VVVVV Road, HHHHHH, Postcode

 

 

and also :-

 

2 Late payment interestlink3.gif under the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1988 ("the Act")

3. Late payment interest on a daily basis to the date of judgment

4. Statutory Compensation under the Act being a fixed sum of £70

 

 

 

I would therefore advocate sending both the CPR 18 / 31.14.

Seven days grace would be reasonable as you are requesting all information pertaining.Seven days would also allow time to make application to force disclosure before allocation.

 

Regards

 

Andy

Edited by Andyorch

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Also, and sorry if youve already thought of this Andy,

Did they actually provide certified copies of their expenses?

IE, what were they actually charged by their contractors?

What profit is there , if any, added on to this figure?

Is there a deed of covenant in place or some similar document which would give them rise to claim against you?

 

Its all about them proving what you owe, so these are pertinent questions that could give rise to doubt and the reason for you defending.

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Also, and sorry if youve already thought of this Andy,

Did they actually provide certified copies of their expenses?

IE, what were they actually charged by their contractors?

What profit is there , if any, added on to this figure?

Is there a deed of covenant in place or some similar document which would give them rise to claim against you?

 

Its all about them proving what you owe, so these are pertinent questions that could give rise to doubt and the reason for you defending.

 

Sorry, bazaar, I totally missed your reply for some reason.

 

I've had certified copies of the service charge statements. This is just a summary which includes general items such ar Repairs, Insurance, Electricity, Gas etc together with amounts for each item. I've received copies of some gas and electricity bills but these aren't complete. I've not received any other invoices and none of the bills I've received are certified.

 

I'm not sure whether there is a profit element to the charges. There is a management charge which is one of the amounts I wish to dispute.

 

The normal grounds for claim are specified in the lease. The managing agent usually demands these on behalf of the landlord. However in the County Court Claim the claimant is actually the Managing Agent.

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Right, well the management charge MUST be on an agreement such as Lease agreement or deed. So have you ever received this?

Was it signed by you?

At this stage, youre in discovery mode, IE, you want to know what they have and whether they can claim for it.

 

Also, if youve got the lease agreement, does it have anything on it that states they can charge extra for services over what theyve actually paid?

What is the percentage?

If they refuse this information, you can be quite pertinent in your questioning and ask them for accounts theyve submitted to the Inland Revenue.

Thus opening up a can of worms if they pursue further.

This may give you a foothold in offering them a reduced amount, should you ever want to do so.

Are the bills theyve supplied for Gas , electric, just specifically for your address? Or are they a group of homes? If theyve given you a statement and not actual bills, then there could be some additions.

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Right, well the management charge MUST be on an agreement such as Lease agreement or deed. So have you ever received this?

 

I have a copy, yes. It's a long term lease, not a tenancy agreement, essentially I own the flat and the freeholder has the duty to keep the building in good repair and heated etc. and can claim back (in advance even) any reasonably incurred expenditure.

 

Was it signed by you?

 

No, but it was assigned to me when I bought the flat

 

At this stage, youre in discovery mode, IE, you want to know what they have and whether they can claim for it.

 

Also, if youve got the lease agreement, does it have anything on it that states they can charge extra for services over what theyve actually paid?

What is the percentage?

If they refuse this information, you can be quite pertinent in your questioning and ask them for accounts theyve submitted to the Inland Revenue.

Thus opening up a can of worms if they pursue further.

This may give you a foothold in offering them a reduced amount, should you ever want to do so.

Are the bills theyve supplied for Gas , electric, just specifically for your address? Or are they a group of homes? If theyve given you a statement and not actual bills, then there could be some additions.

 

There's nothing specific on charging extra. I really just want to get hold of the underlying invoices etc. so I can decide these sort of things. I'll then pay whatever is reasonable and fight them over anything else. The bills I have are for the building, which contains 6 flats.

 

I also want proof that the claimant has a right to claim. He is the old landlord's managing agent. It is my understanding that for him to make the claim, then he must have been assigned that right. I want them to prove this.

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Well, youre gonna have to specifically tell them , that the info they have given you, doesnt break the bills down sufficiently to let you access what is owed.

It sounds like theyve split the 6 flats bills,

Who knows what the other flats are used for? ( If someone is growing cannabis, Thats a bloody big lump right there).

So you need to be firm and demand the Actual billing for your residence. With breakdowns of other resident usage to allow you the correct assessments

If it ever gets to court, you want to make it easy for the judge to see how unreasonable they are being by witholding this info and order them to comply.

 

Let them know that under CPR they may not rely on documents that they refuse you CPR31.21.

Also, CPR 31.23 States @' Proceedings for contempt of court may be brought against a person if he makes, or causes to be made, a false disclosure statement, without an honest belief in its truth.'

 

Not sure how much power that last bit gives you, but maybe a mention of it, will jerk a response

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