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Can anyone help, myself and my partner used to run 2 pubs however due to lack of support from the pub company and also extortionate rent we quit in February 2012. During March 2012 we wrote to pub company confirming that we wished to make an offer of repayment of any sums owed in respect of goods however disputed the level of rent we hd been charged on both pubs. We received no reply. In November 2012 we received a pre action protocl letter from pub companys solicitor , we sent a lengthy reply stating we had wanted to make a repayment offer in respect of the o/s goods but disputed the rent and had received no communication from the pub company. We received no reply to this letter.

 

We have now received a claim form in respect of the sum of £39,245.45 which is stated is in respect of goods. This is not broke down between goods and services. What do we do as we wish to avoid a CCJ, myself and my partner have nothing the pub trade nearly caused us to go bankrupt and we now survive on a small income, we explained to both pub company and their representation that they had nothing to gain by taking this action as we own nothing and have nothing???

 

Any advice on defences to this debt and the fact the rent and goods have been lumped together for claim form purposes?????

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You would need to request that they re plead their Particulars of Claim and particularise..... CPR 16.

 

 

http://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/civil/rules/part16

 

Regards

 

Andy

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  • 3 weeks later...

I submitted a defence based on they did not allow time to reach a settlement have ignored attempts to settle, have nothing to gain by taking Court action as we have no assets or money and they they should re plead their particulars of claim, I have now received an Allocation Questionnaire??? W

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You need to get the AQ sent off to the Court within the time scale.

Judgment will only be entered by default if you ignore Court directions-or on conclusion of a trial which is some way down the line yet.Do you want help filling the AQ in ?

We have had 2 or 3 previous reported cases of pub companies taking legal action.

I will see if I can find one that I remember was a lengthly case.

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Advice offered by Martin3030 is not supported by any legal training or qualification.Members are advised to use the services of fully insured legal professionals when needed.

 

 

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I submitted a defence based on they did not allow time to reach a settlement have ignored attempts to settle, have nothing to gain by taking Court action as we have no assets or money and they they should re plead their particulars of claim, I have now received an Allocation Questionnaire??? W

 

You need to be very careful here. Saying that they did not allow time to reach a settlement and you have no assets is not a defence to their claim. It would only be relevant to the amount of legal costs you are ordered to pay. If there are any reasons why they are not entitled to the amounts they are claiming, you need to raise this now. You will be deemed to have admitted anything claimed in the POC that is not in defence, so it will be very difficult to challenge the amounts later. If your defence does not claim a denial of legal responsibility (as opposed to ability to pay) I imagine the pub's solicitors will try to get a summary judgment (i.e. expedited judgment without a full trial). If you want to challenge the amounts then you need to amend your defence to deny liability for the £39,245.45 and making a request for them to particularise their particulars of claim as suggested by andyorch.

 

Its important to think about your strategy generally. If you are clearly liable for the money but you just can't afford to pay, then the reality of the situation is that you cannot stop the pub from getting a CCJ. You can write to them explaining the situation but you cannot stop them. If they go for a CCJ monthly repayments would have to be agreed with the pub or set by the court at a later stage as obviously they cannot take what you do not have. Make sure you explain this in writing to the pub's solicitors in a letter with the heading "without prejudice" and it would be a good idea to offer monthly repayments. You need to try and get the solicitors to advise the pub that pursuing this might not be worth the legal costs, do not simply rely on what you told the pub before because it clearly has not been listened to.

 

If you fight the claim through the courts then you will buy some more time but remember that the loser pays the winners legal costs. If you fight this tooth and nail and take it to trial you could easily end up with an additional bill for tens of thousands for the pub's legal costs. I guess this does not matter if you literally have no assets, but do be careful if you have any assets the pub might try to get their hands on (e.g. your house if you are a homeowner).

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Our argument is we agree to the money owed on the account for goods purchased, but not the rent that they have charged for the properties. They have however lumped it together as one amount for goods???? Any help with AQ would be great if you have ones against pubs??? Do I try and negotiate with solicitors directly or just deal with the Court????

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If you didn't explain that you aren't liable for the rent in the defence, you need to amend your defence to include it ASAP. Any arguments you want to raise in court need to go in the defence, a holding defence is not enough.

 

It is always a good idea to negotiate with the other side's solicitors, because this will help you when the court comes to look at costs and may help you get a better deal than you would otherwise. Do remember that significant legal costs will get added to the bill if this goes all the way and you lose. Given the amounts at stake it is worth trying to get some proper legal advice here. Good luck.

Edited by steampowered

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