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Small claim court costs

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  • Small claim court costs

    My mum recently took her housing management agents to small claims to refund some of the fees they had been collecting on behalf of the management company. She lost as the judge ruled she was suing the wrong party. She should have claimed from the management company as they are a party to the lease. Although the lease states the management company should have been handed over to the residents 13 years ago it never has been. It has a single professional director and has never held an AGM or appointed any residents.
    The agents appointed a team of lawyers to defend small claim and they have claimed costs which were awarded and far exceed any figures mentioned in any guidance she has seen.
    She understood the defendant would normally get the courts permission to appoint legal representation and that her potential costs would be limited. She was claiming for 250.
    The costs have to be paid within 28days which she cannot afford. Can anyone explain if she has any options?
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  • #2
    How much are the costs?

    Also you want a breakdown of the management agents solicitor costs before you do anything else, if they seem high they need to be challenged.

    What you could do is fill in an Income and Expenditure form.

    The court should only ask you to pay what you can reasonable afford to pay, if that's 1, so be it. It's not a priority debt.

    Here's some more info - https://moneynerd.co.uk/what-happens...ims-judgement/


    • #3

      Sorry to hear this, but this is why it is important that you sue the correct company. Just to answer some of your questions:

      1. There is no requirement for parties to a claim to require permission for legal representation except in certain circumstances such as one party lacking the mental capacity. Where did she get her information from that said you must require permission from the court to have legal representation?

      2. The normal rule in small claims cases are that legal fees are not recoverable, unless there has been unreasonable behaviour by one of the parties. Suing the wrong party could lead to costs over and above the limit because it can be deemed unreasonable behaviour if you pursue the wrong company and they have to shell out defending the claim. An example where a court may agree to award costs for unreasonable behaviour is where the Defendant makes reference in their defence that the wrong company is being sued, so at that point you are on notice but decide to do nothing and continue with the claim. It is then up to you to prove that you are suing the correct company but if a court rules against you, then you open yourself up to additional costs for wasting everyone's time.

      3. In terms of options, has she received the order from the court yet and what does it actually say regarding the costs? One option is that she can consider submitting an appeal against the decison on the basis that the costs should not have been awarded because it was in the small claims track and genunely thought she was suing the right company. Alternatively she may try to argue that the defendant ought to have made an application for summary judgment once it became aware that of the defect and thus mitigated their costs. Instead they allowed the claim to run and continue racking up those costs which was no proportionate or reasonable, particularly where the claim is being brought by a litigant in person who is not likely to know the rules.

      Unless she qualifies for a fee remission, there's a 120 cost for appeal and shouldn't be made lightly or in a slap dash way as your mother is likely to have her application for appeal dismissed.
      If you have a question about the voluntary termination process, please read this guide first, as it should have all the answers you need. Please do not hijack another person's thread as I will not respond to you
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      • #4
        Please read post 3 before post 2.


        • #5
          Rob and Echat, thank you both very much for the response and advice.


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