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I will keep this as brief as possible.

 

 

A letting agent was initially approached to a tenancy and the applicant was asked to provide a 'guarantor' to the rent. My 'client' was willing to stand in that capacity and he completed and signed an application to become the said guarantor. That application was then processed and due to him not having a high enough income his application was refused.

 

The letting agent and LL agreed the tenancy to the son without a guarantor. The son later ran into arrears with the rent and eventually he left the property. The landlord then took to recover the rent from my 'client' naming him to be the guarantor, when the matter got into court my 'client' ask for the obvious.....copy of the agreement that showed him as guarantor, the court ordered the LL to provide that document.

 

LL submitted documents to the Court that were allegedly signed by my 'Client' as guarantor...despite my 'client' objecting very loudly to the fact he had never had sight of the documents prior to that moment, he had to agree the signature did look to be his.

Judgment(s) were given to the claimant (LL) My 'client' was subsequently chased by Sherforce and forced to pay.

 

Still protesting to the fact he had never signed the documents given in evidence to the Court, my 'client' engaged the services of a Court approved forensic handwriting expert.There is now no doubt the signature on the documents has been forged.

 

Being in receipt of state and a small private pension my 'client' was refused legal aid to get this all reopened by appeal and he does not have the finances to instruct a solicitor.

 

It was suggested he simply made a N1 claim to recover the monies he has paid to these Judgments (3) but it has now been suggested he cannot do that until such time as the Judgments are appealed. Full circle..

 

Can anyone offer clarity to the way forward?

 

WD

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I'm not sure an appeal is appropriate. The purpose of an appeal is to say that the judge interpreted the law wrong, an appeal court won't re-examine evidence about factual issues (such as whether the signature was forged) and won't take into account things that weren't made available to the original judge. It was really your friend's responsibility to get the expert report done before the judgment was issued.

 

In any event, your friend is presumably out of time for issuing an appeal (the time limit is 21 days).

 

If you can clearly prove fraud/perjury - bearing in mind every report I've ever seen for things like signatures is pretty inconclusive - I think the correct course of action would be to ask for the final judgment to be set aside using form N244. I imagine you'd have to go back to the county court first before appealing anything. Setting aside a final judgment is extremely difficult and would merit trying to get proper legal help.

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What is the value of the claim please? Is it a small claim? If so then there should be no costs associated with the appeal.

 

Do you have the forensic report in writing? Please could we see it - in private if you prefer.

Don't forget the litigation nowadays and especially the County Court is governed by the civil procedure rules and CPR 1 makes it clear that the Overriding Objective is to ensure a just outcome. With this in mind it may be possible to lodge notice of appeal even though it is out of time. I would have thought that if there is clear evidence of a forged document which has been used to pervert the course of justice, then the court would be very receptive to a request to have a look at it all again.

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I'm not sure an appeal is appropriate. The purpose of an appeal is to say that the judge interpreted the law wrong, an appeal court won't re-examine evidence about factual issues (such as whether the signature was forged) and won't take into account things that weren't made available to the original judge. It was really your friend's responsibility to get the expert report done before the judgment was issued.

 

In any event, your friend is presumably out of time for issuing an appeal (the time limit is 21 days).

 

If you can clearly prove fraud/perjury - bearing in mind every report I've ever seen for things like signatures is pretty inconclusive - I think the correct course of action would be to ask for the final judgment to be set aside using form N244. I imagine you'd have to go back to the county court first before appealing anything. Setting aside a final judgment is extremely difficult and would merit trying to get proper legal help.

 

At the time the Court adjourned the initial hearing to allow the claimant to submit his 'evidence', my friend, secure in the knowledge he had not entered into any agreement as guarantor, had no reason to even think he would need the services of an expert.There was an application to set aside but the expert evidence was not available when that was heard, it was the Judges opinion he 'evidence' was conclusive to my friend being the guarantor..right to appeal was refused.

 

The police are involved and they have made an excellent statement of case...they are being stonewalled by the court to getting the original documents (given to the court by the claimant) coupled with that, that the letting agent has since done a runner to New Zealand presents them with a problem of furthering their enquiries but it remains on going.

 

Ps The police are 100% behind the expert's findings.

 

My friend used his life savings to pay the Judgments, instruct the expert etc. and would be more than happy just to get that outlay back and leave the police to decide if criminal prosecution should follow. A straight N1 money claim would seem to be the answer the problem is trying to establish if he needs to overturn the original judgment prior to making such a claim?

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What is the value of the claim please? Is it a small claim? If so then there should be no costs associated with the appeal.

 

Do you have the forensic report in writing? Please could we see it - in private if you prefer.

Don't forget the litigation nowadays and especially the County Court is governed by the civil procedure rules and CPR 1 makes it clear that the Overriding Objective is to ensure a just outcome. With this in mind it may be possible to lodge notice of appeal even though it is out of time. I would have thought that if there is clear evidence of a forged document which has been used to pervert the course of justice, then the court would be very receptive to a request to have a look at it all again.

 

The claim will be approx 5k without costs...yes I have a copy of the report it would not read very well on the forum due to redacting several names, but I will be happy to email you a copy,

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You haven't said whether the time for appealing has expired. Maybe you could confirm this.

 

In any event because it is a small claim, I think that it is worth the risk of making an application to appeal on exceptional grounds. About the worst that can happen is that you will lose your fee for the form n244.

 

We can help you fill it in if you want.

 

I would suggest that you apply for an exceptional leave to appeal on the basis of CPR 1 that the overriding objective requires that the case be revisited.

 

State as part of your grounds for appeal that the court has been deliberately misled by means of forged documents and that there are grave suspicions that there has been an attempt to pervert the course of justice.

 

I think that if an N244 is properly supported with the forensic report and also a police statement then I think that the court would have a great deal of difficulty refusing you. The court would want to exercise its own initiative in respect of perjury and perverting the course of justice.

 

I would also suggest that an N244 would also include a request to amend the defence in order to include references to the latest evidence which had previously been hidden from the court

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Ok now had professional legal opinion on this.. it is the case the previous Judgments have to be appealed and if successful then they can be followed by a claim to recover the monies paid to them. Estimated cost of instructing a solicitor to carry this through is 4-5K. Obviously that sort of money is not within reach to my client, plan B is to approach pro bono barrister. Plan C is to go it alone.

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