Being sued as an individual – do the courts know the rules?

The Civil Procedure Rules (CPRs) state where (geographically) the case will be heard.  This can be important where car dealer and the consumer are at opposite ends of the country.

Apart from a few exceptions, the general rule is that the case will be heard in the county court closest to the Claimant.  However, it is held in the nearest county court to the Defendant if that Defendant is an INDIVIDUAL*.  

We see all too often, cases being allocated to the Claimant’s local court all of the time, even though this rule is pointed out when the car dealer Defendant asks us to complete their Directions Questionnaire.  Where this happens we write a letter for our client for them to send to the court asking that it be transferred  to their local court.  It works - but not always first time.  One court wrote back saying “case to remain in this court as the Defendant is a trader”.  So another letter was drafted making it clear that the test is not whether the Defendant is a “trader” but whether he or she is an “individual”.  In this case, our client was a sole trader and was clearly an individual.  Eventually, two weeks before the hearing and another judge transfers the case to the court local to our client – a saving of a 400 mile round trip!

But guess what?  I pick up another file and the same court has done it again!  Time to draft another letter and maybe, just maybe, they will realise the error of their ways this time but I won’t be holding my breath...

Lawgistics Members can get advice and support in relation to Court procedures from the legal team.

*Civil Procedure Rule 26.2A (3)

 

Authors: Jason Williams

Published: 11 Dec 2018

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