We have been instructed by Mr. Jason Furlong in connection with catering work undertaken by him in connection with the marriage occasion of your daughter. We are further instructed that the total agreed cost of the catering came to i?? 6,763. However, our client has not received any of the sum agreed. An Invoice for the balance of i?? 6,763 was sent to you by our Client on the 27th August 2006 despite requests by him for, and promises by you of payment, it has not yet been settled by you. However, you may not be aware that the invoiced amount bears the interest of 8% per annum from the date thereof if not settled within 30 days of receipt.
Our clients Invoice is now over three months overdue. We write to advise you, therefore, that if we, or our client, do not receive the said sum of i?? 6,763, plus interest as above for the period of 92 days i?? 136. 37 within the next ten days, we have instructions to institute proceedings against you for the recovery thereof, together with additional interest and costs. Should this become necessary, we would advise you that it might seriously affect your future credit rating. The CPR introduces what are called pre-action Protocols.
These are very important and are designed to be sets of "best practice" guidance about those steps that should be taken by parties or their legal advisors before proceedings are instituted. However, at present there is no protocol for such an action but we should still follow the Protocol Practice Direction, and prior to commencement of proceedings, supply full information regarding the claim, or defence to the claim if it is disputed, and copies of all documentation relied upon in support of that claim (or defence).
Even though specific protocols may not exist (and further protocols will undoubtedly be made to cover other actions in the future), parties can still be penalised as to costs if the spirit of the protocol is not followed. It follows, therefore, that a letter should be written to the Defendant (or his Solicitors if he has any) stating that you have been instructed, what and why your client is claiming and that proceedings, together with costs and interest, will be instituted against the defendant if the claim is not settled within a reasonable time.
This is now called a "letter of claim". The purpose of this is, as mentioned, to save unnecessary court proceedings. If the defendant knows that the plaintiff has reached this stage in his efforts, then the defendant may very well settle. It will also, if a settlement is not immediately forthcoming, open up negotiation, which could result in an agreed settlement. As they have not responded to the letter of claim we will not be penalized for going straight to issue at part 7 of the claim form, form number N1.
As Mr and Mrs Fry have filed a defence the next step will be allocation. The Court will send a copy of the defence to the Claimant (or his Solicitor). If a solicitor is acting for the defendant then it is usual, as a matter of courtesy, for the Defendant's Solicitor to also serve a copy of this defence on the Claimant's Solicitor direct (or on the Claimant direct if he does not have one). At the same time they send form N150 allocation questionnaires to both parties who must complete and return them within 14 days. The Allocation Questionnaire is completely new under the CPR.
It asks the parties (or their Solicitors) whether the relevant pre-action protocol (if any) was complied with; whether a stay is sought for settlement; about possible transfer to another court; for the parties' view of the appropriate Track for the case; for details about factual and expert witnesses and for details of any contemplated interim applications (i. e. applications to the court for specific pre-trial orders). Upon receiving the form the Court Staff refer the claim to either a District Judge (County Court) or Master ( High Court).
The Claim is allocated to either the Small Claims Track; Fast Track or Multi Track. This case will probably be allocated to the fast track under Part 28,and the directions that would follow are standard directions concerning disclosure of documents, exchange of witness statements, and exchange of experts' reports), and a date for filing the Listing Questionnaire. In turn the Court sends parties the Listing Questionnaire for return (with the appropriate fee) within 14 days.
This asks whether the parties have complied with all directions given, whether any further directions are required; whether Experts Reports have been agreed; whether permission is being sought for the Experts to give oral evidence at the trial; the number of witnesses being called and their names and addresses; dates when witnesses will not be available; whether an interpreter is needed; whether the party is being represented on the trial in person, by a Solicitor or by Counsel (a Barrister); how long the trial is estimated to last.