Before you decide to issue a County Court claim ensure that your conduct of the matter has been compliant with the Civil Procedure Rules Pre-Action Conduct and Protocols. There are currently 13 protocols including amongst others, Construction and Engineering Disputes and Professional Negligence.
If there is no relevant Protocol you are required to follow Pre-Action Conduct as set out in the Civil Procedure Rules Practice Direction Pre-Action Conduct and Protocols (the Practice Direction).
Paragraph 3 of the Practice Direction sets out the objectives:-
Before commencing proceedings, the court will expect the parties to have exchanged sufficient information to:
Paragraph 6 of the Practice Direction sets out the steps the court expects you to take prior to the issue of legal proceedings:-
The steps will usually include:
The Practice Direction introduces Alternative Dispute considerations and invites the parties to take steps to settle the matter without the need to issue legal proceedings. Indeed paragraph 10 of the Practice Direction other than the parties negotiating a settlement between themselves sets out means to alternative dispute resolution. Parties may negotiate to settle a dispute or may use a form of ADR including:
In terms of the orders a court can make where there has been non compliance and the sanctions a court can enforce reference is made to paragraph 15 and 16 of the Practice Direction:
15. Where there has been non-compliance with a pre-action protocol or this Practice Direction, the court may order that:
16. The court will consider the effect of any non-compliance when deciding whether to impose any sanctions which may include:
The message the Ministry of Justice is sending is ‘Do not storm into court without first exploring alternative dispute resolution, because if you do storm in, the courts have powers and sanctions that will stall proceedings and in some cases order the party at fault pay the costs of the other party on a grander scale than would usually be allowed.’
Want to find out more?
If you are owed more than £525 and are unsure how to collect the debt because the debtor has raised a dispute, call award winning Credit Management Expert and Legal Executive Carlo Pegna on 01920 481467 for a FREE debt recovery assessment.