The County Court and High Court
County Court and High Court (save the small claims court, family and employment cases)
Going to Court is normally a last resort but the right to bring a claim does not normally last indefinitely. Therefore, you should bring a claim (i.e. deliver the proper court papers to the correct Court office or through the correct Court internet site and pay the correct Court fee) within the time allowed or face a defence that you are out of time.
Unless you are close to this “Limitation date” you should normally try and resolve matters without going to Court and indeed the Court will often penalise those who fail to do so with an adverse costs order even if they have gone on to win their case. There is a formal procedure to try and resolve disputes without a Court case called a “Pre-Action Protocol” or the “Practice Direction on Pre-Action Conduct”. When it was bought in over 20 years ago there was a real worry that it would just duplicate costs but its success rate in securing a settlement without the need for Court cases has shown it is worth using.
Once a Court case starts the normal rule is that the successful party is entitled to recover their essential costs incurred from the unsuccessful one. There are exceptions to this rule. Some types of claim such as most possession claims are subject to fixed costs only. Some Trusts and Will disputes have costs paid by the Trust or the Estate of the person who made the Will but the rules here are complex. The most common exception is where one party has made an offer that the other has not beaten. It is not normally referred to in a Court Hearing except at the end when the issue of costs come up. If made in accordance with the rules and is not beaten by the opponent, it normally means that where a Defendant has made such an offer they are regarded as the successful party from the date the offer is made (plus a short time, normally three weeks, to consider the offer) and where it is the Claimant who made the offer they normally get 10% more than the Judge awards and improved interest and cost calculation Orders. These are called Part 36 offers and are a very important part of Court claims. They are usually the best way for Defendants to deal with Claimants who have an argument but are claiming too much or giving insufficient consideration in negotiations to the risk they may lose.
It is important to keep all evidence (including electronic evidence) that is potentially relevant. Disposing of any evidence knowing of the dispute will normally count against you and almost all relevant documents will have to be disclosed to the opponent as part of the Court claim.
Following the Court rules is very important. Failure to do so could result in losing the case whatever the merits of your argument. If you fail to properly meet a deadline, you need to act quickly to get permission to continue with your argument.
Here at Berry Redmond Gordon and Penney we have solicitors with over 35 years experience of resolving disputes without Court action, but where necessary taking cases to Trial and if necessary to Appeal. Many of our solicitors Court of Appeal cases have been reported as breaking new ground in the interpretation of the law.
Berry Redmond Gordon & Penney charge at an hourly rate, which is influenced by the following:
- The particular expertise and experience of the person dealing with the case
- The complexity of the transaction
- Whether the matter requires unusually urgent and swift action
- The time spent on the matter
We always give an estimate of the likely costs at the beginning of the matter, with regular updates as the matter progresses, so that you can always be certain of the costs involved in your particular case at any given time.
To find out more, call us now or fill out our enquiry form.
Legal fees are subject to VAT.