District Court - Need for Solicitor

Discussion in 'Askaboutlaw' started by Cooperman, Dec 22, 2016.

  1. Cooperman

    Cooperman New Member

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    i am in a dispute with a roofing contractor who charged me for unnecessary work and who hasn't completed some work. He has multiple times promised to refund funds to me but has not done so.

    I started to file a claim though small claims court, but was advised at the court that there are only parts of my claim applicable to small claims court. But also advised that I could make the whole claim through the District Court.

    My whole claim is only about € 1000 so I can't really afford a solicitor - Although I can claim costs if I win, I would of course have to pay them if I lose.

    The process appears fairly straightforward - One starts off by filing a claim at the court and there is a pro forma form which can be used.

    I am thinking of going ahead and filing a claim. But before I do, I am trying to find out if it is a foolish thing to do on one's own without a solicitor.

    I would welcome advice from anyone who can comment on this question. Either direct advice or suggestions where I can obtain advice.

    Thanks very much for your help.
     
  2. Ravima

    Ravima Frequent Poster

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    2,131
    you cannot claim costs if you win if you are a lay litigant.
     
  3. Thirsty

    Thirsty Frequent Poster

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    I believe the OPs point was that if he used a Sotlr and was awarded costs that would cover some of the Soltrs fee, but equally there would be a risk that he would not be awarded costs and would therefore be liable for the full fee.

    Cooperman, my advice would be to go for it; keep your statements clear and simple. Support everything with documentary evidence, photos, statements, reports, invoices.
     
  4. Bronte

    Bronte Frequent Poster

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    I say nothing ventured nothing gained. I suggest you go down to the sittings of the District Court to familiarise yourself with the proceedings. Also the court staff are very helpful (with the forms and stuff) Make your case simple and clear cut.

    In all likelyhood as this is such a low amount, the fact you serve the builder will probably end up with him sending you a refund and avoiding his own solicitor and more costs.

    Also the 1K is about negotiation. So I'd put in a slighly higher claim for the aggrevation so that you negotate down to 1K. One shouldn't start with the figure one wants.
     
  5. Cooperman

    Cooperman New Member

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    3
    Thanks to all for your responses. I will definitely go to the court...that was a great suggestion. I did previously try to file a small claims court claim and, as you say, the staff were very helpful....which is partly how I got to this point.
     
  6. T McGibney

    T McGibney Frequent Poster

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    In situations like this, it's usually a lot easier to initiate and pursue court proceedings than it is to ever get your hands on the money.

    A complaint of "unnecessary work" is inherently subjective and difficult to prove in front of a judge unless you're willing to spend a lot of money on expert testimony.

    And even if you get a judgment in your favour, there's no guarantee the contractor will ever pay up.
     
  7. Cooperman

    Cooperman New Member

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    3
    Given my experiences of the past year, I am worried about collection. I'm really hoping that serving the claim will get him to pay up to avoid court proceedings and any publicity this might bring. The unnecessary work is pretty clear - After they had done some work I had leaks. Without inspection, they said it was unrelated to their initial work and had me pay them for new work on a skylight. There were still leaks. When their guy went back on the roof he found a problem with their initial work. He fixed that and there were no more leaks. Of course, there is no documentation of this although third parties have heard phone conversations over speaker phone when they agreed to reimburse me for the unnecessary work.

    If I have understood correctly, if don't use a solicitor, the cost to initiate proceedings is just the court stamp fee. So there's not much to lose in giving it a go.