civil LITIGATION & dispute resolution
Do you need a solicitor to help you claim for, or settle a civil dispute, loss of money or a commercial debt?
If you are thinking of making a claim against another party, you should carefully consider the points addressed in our FAQ’s below, then, on-balance, if you feel justified that your claim could succeed then please talk to one of our expert dispute resolution & civil litigation solicitors.
If you believe you have been wrongly treated and you want to take legal action to resolve a matter and gain compensation, then please contact us.
It may that you are dissatisfied with a purchase you have made or services that have been provided to you, however if you have been wronged then justice should be done and the law should help you to right that wrong.
Our specialist solicitors can help you with everything, from claiming compensation for your losses, including expenses, to remedial action to get your life back on track.
Pursuing a civil claim is not something you have to do on your own, you need specialist advice. Trust us to help you.
Our experienced solicitors can help you with a wide range of civil claims such as:
- Purchases of goods (from tv’s to wedding dresses to cars)
- Services (professional negligence from a solicitor or surveyor)
- Contract disputes
- Debt recovery
- Contentious probate/trust
- Neighbour/building/business disputes
If we believe we can assist you we will invite you to one of our offices to discuss the case in full with one of our experienced litigation solicitors. They will set out the procedure for proceeding, the chances of your case succeeding and the cost associated with the same. As any adverse costs are likely to be payable by you (costs awarded against you) we attempt to negotiate a settlement where we can. We have many years of experience of negotiations and if you have a genuine claim against a reasonable person/company then most cases do settle out of court with costs at a minimum. Unfortunately, other cases may be complex or of high value or if the defendant is unreasonable, the matter may proceed to a court hearing.
If you are looking to claim and you want free advice from a fully qualified solicitor then please contact us now. Using one of our specialist solicitors ensures that you have a better chance of winning your claim and receiving all of the compensation and help that you are entitled to all.
We have offices throughout North Wales and Cheshire and you can contact us safe in the knowledge that one of our expert solicitors will take care of everything for you.
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Civil Litigation FAQ’s
PSR Solicitors help clients who have been left disappointed or out of pocket due to the failure of other people, businesses or professionals who have not performed as agreed. This would usually involve suffering loss to your finances, your property, or your health.
We have provided this simple guide to answer the most pertinent questions you are likely to have regarding your situation: the process of making a claim against another party, the courts procedure and costs associated should litigation and court proceedings be necessary.
Above all it is of critical importance to consider both the likelihood of your claim being successful and whether it is actually worth litigating when taking into the potential costs involved.
Can I sue someone in the England & Wales?
There are many situation where you can actively seek compensation from others following an event that has left you injured, with financial losses or upset or damaged in some way. Broadly speaking, all such claims would fall under one of the following claim categories: Tort claims, Breach of contract claims, Equitable claims and Landlord & Tenant issues.
A further description of these types of claim are made in the final point at the bottom of this page.
It is also possible that court proceedings may not be necessary if your case is strong, and the wrongs you have suffered are evidently undeniable with liability being crystal clear. In such cases, it may be possible to settle the claim out of court.
Indeed, at any time during the course of a case (even one that initially looks destined for court), you (the plaintiff) can agree on a satisfactory resolution to your situation with the individual or business that has caused the harm (the defendant). Settlement often involves the payment of financial compensation or an undertaking to put something right, such a settlement and can even be structured to result in an enforceable judgment.
How much will it cost to sue someone?
Civil claims can prove very expensive, so again we would warn that “It might not be worth making a claim if it’s going to cost you as much as you’re claiming”. There is little point in suing someone for £1000 if its going to cost you £1000 to take them to court as in some cases legal costs are not recoverable form the other side even if you win.
If your claim is not disputed, the costs involved in each of the relevant steps of the claims process are set out below.
Our standard fees are as follows:
Review of evidence:
Opening file, drafting of the client care letter and letter Before Action, advising upon response/failure to respond: £250 plus VAT for a claim valued at up to £10,000.
Our fees for claims worth more than £10,000 will be negotiated with you and agreed in advance.
To trace an individual: £45 plus VAT, £3 Land Registry and £5 Companies House search
All response letters: £20 plus VAT
If we are unable to negotiate a satisfactory outcome or the defendant ignores our letter of claim the court proceedings will need to be issued.
To draft court proceedings:
£250 plus VAT
£1,500 - £3,000
£350 plus VAT
£3,000 - £5,000
£500 plus VAT
£1000 plus VAT
£10,000 - £200,000
5% of claim
To be agreed
Request judgment: £75 plus VAT
If your debtor fails to acknowledge the claim or enter a defence within 14 days, we will request judgment from the court.
To attend Court hearing: £300 plus VAT
If the matter is defended and a judge is required to determine the case.
Different routes exist for civil claims, called 'tracks', If your claim is for £10,000 or less and is relatively straightforward, it will be allocated to the 'small claims track'. If the value of your claim is between £10,000 and £25,000 it will be allocated to the 'fast track'. If it is a complex case and the value of your claim is more than £25,000 it will be allocated to the 'multi-track'.
In ‘small claims track’ cases, covering claims of up to £10.000, generally, legal costs are not payable. This means that even if you win you will not recover legal costs incurred by you, from the defendant, whereas if you lose it is unlikely you will have any legal costs to pay to the plaintiff.
Any claim worth over £10,000 will incur legal costs and legal costs can be awarded against you of course which may run into several thousand pounds.
Is the defendant worth suing?
Another important question to ask yourself, “if you win the case, can the person or business you are suing pay what you are owed?
If you are suing to get money, you need to know that your opponent - the defendant, has the money to pay. This may mean they have suitable insurance to cover them for such eventualities or they have personal assets or wealth meaning they can definitely pay.
There is no central pot of government money standing by should a successful civil court claimant find the defendant is for all intent and purposes broke.
So, you need to find out if your opponent has money or assets and where those assets are, because that will affect your ability to make them obey a court order to pay you.
Depending on who you are looking to make the claim against, you should consider:
- Is the individual bankrupt?
- Has the firm or company ceased to trade?
- Can you even trace them, or have they disappeared?
- Is there a property over which you can obtain a charge? (Basically a security so that when the property is sold you are paid from any sale proceeds).
PSR Solicitors can also provide investigatory services to help trace individuals and to identify financial standing and personal assets.
Also, if you do win your case and the defendant does not pay up, you will likely need to go back to court to make an application for the money, this is known as ‘enforcing the judgement’ and can involve instructing bailiffs or the High Court Sheriff.
There is a 6-year time limit on starting court proceedings against someone that you wish to make a claim against.
What proof do I need to make a successful claim?
The more proof you have the more chance you have of succeeding. If you have a contract, documents, letters, emails or texts – all these assists in building your proof and your case. Photographs, bank statements and other documents may be appropriate depending on the specific circumstances of your case.
If you do not have any of these and are basically relying on verbal evidence, your chances of success are very low, and you could be setting yourself up for high costs and little to show for it at the end of the court process.
What evidence is permissible?
Generally, the court is interested in ensuring that justice is done. As such the courts have a generally open stance to documentation, other than those obtained illegally for example or if documentation has been obtained for one reason and used for an entirely different reason.
What if my claim boils down to a verbal agreement only?
Like the old saying ‘any verbal agreement is not worth the paper it is written on’. Basically, it is virtually impossible to enforce a verbal agreement unless there are witnesses to the verbal agreement who are willing to provide written statements attesting to the conversation, or if there is other behaviour to support your version of the verbal agreement, such as someone agreeing to pay you £50 per week for the use of a car parking space and you have, for example, photographic evidence of their car being in that space and also bank statements showing them transferring £50 every week. That sort of evidence can build up a picture to support any verbal agreement.
An audio-recording of a verbal agreement would also strengthen your chances of success if your claim boils down to a verbal agreement only.
Where does the burden of proof rest in civil cases?
it is generally you the claimant who must prove your case, and that your loss suffered is of direct consequence to the actions or lack of actions taken by the defendant. The standard of proof is the ‘balance of probabilities’ so, it must be demonstrated that your claim and what you allege to be the causes of your troubles are more likely to be the case (the defendants fault), than not, even if this cannot be 100%.
The courts must simply agree that your version of events is more likely than not to be true.
How long will could the process take and are there time limits?
The duration in civil cases can vary greatly. At PSR Solicitors we will always aim for a non-court settlement, and one that satisfies our clients, as this route will always prove less expensive and quicker.
The length of time it will take to conclude your case depends on the exact nature and the complexity of the dispute. We will be able to provide you with a more accurate idea on timescales our following initial consultations and conversations.
In most circumstances we are required to take certain steps before bringing court proceedings. Some types of claim are governed by specific Pre-Action Protocols
Pre-action examination of the facts and negotiations with the defendant (or their representatives) may last no longer than 2-4 weeks where circumstances are straightforward, but where clams and case are more sophisticated in nature, this initial stage could take months to conclude.
If court proceedings are issued, the case will normally be allocated to a track, based primarily on its value and complexity.
As a rough guide, a small claim will generally be concluded within 6 months and a fast track claim within 9 months, whereas multi-track claims generally take over 1 year to reach trial.
What are the main types of claim that can be made in the Civil Courts?
A "tort" is a wrongful act (sometimes called a "tortious" act), usually resulting in injury (or damage) to someone's person, property, reputation, or the like, for which the injured person is entitled to compensation. Cases involving claims for such things as personal injury, battery, negligence, defamation, medical malpractice, fraud, and many others, are all examples.
Breach of contract claims
A breach of contract case typically results from a person's failure (or failure of a business) to perform some form of contract, whether the contract is written or oral, without some legitimate legal excuse. Cases involving claims for such things as not completing a job, not paying in full or on time, failing to deliver goods sold or promised, and many others, products being not of the quality promised… are all examples.
An "equitable claim" asks the court to order a party to take some action or stop some action. It sometimes, will be made in conjunction with a claim for financial compensation. Cases where a party is seeking a temporary restraining order or injunction to stop something (perhaps the destruction of property, the improper transfer of land, the solicitation of a business' customers) are examples.
Civil courts handle disputes arising between tenants and landlords. Such cases would involve events such as where a landlord is trying to evict a tenant from a rental property, or a tenant has moved out and is suing a landlord for the return of a security deposit.
Civil Litigation Summary
PSR Solicitors have experienced a wide and varied range of civil dispute scenarios over the years and helped many people make successful claims. We have also had conversations with people who feel they have been treated poorly or they have suffered at the hands of another individual or business, where, although the desire to seek legal recourse and compensation is there, the evidence to prove their case is not.
If you are thinking of making a claim against another party, you should carefully consider the points addressed in our FAQ’s below, then, on-balance, if you feel justified that your claim could succeed then please talk to one of our expert dispute resolution & civil litigation solicitors. We will be happy to discuss things and determined to help you get justice.
Mr U, Staffordshire
Miss G, North Wales
Mr J, Cheshire
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