Tracey Ashford - Fleet Solicitors
There is always a temptation to try and do it yourself to save costs, whether it be home improvements, gardening, running your business or a number of other situations. When it comes to legal matters, there is a general perception that legal fees are expensive and better off avoided where possible.
However, unless you are fully confident with how our legal system works and the rules that apply, it may actually work out cheaper for you in the long run to obtain specialist legal advice at the outset. The Supreme Court’s decision this week in the case of Barton v Wright Hassell LLP highlights this.
Mr Barton wanted to bring a claim against his former solicitors, Wright Hassell, for negligence. He chose to do this himself without instructing solicitors to represent him. He issued a Claim Form in the Court to start the claim. He then emailed it to lawyers acting for Wright Hassell. You may think that in this day and age that that is perfectly acceptable, everyone corresponds by email. But did you know that the Court Rules specifically state that a Claim Form cannot be sent by email unless the party receiving it has specifically agreed to receive it by email? Wright Hassell’s lawyers hadn’t been asked whether they would accept the Claim Form by email, so they could not give their consent. The claim was therefore ruled to be an invalid claim and Mr Barton was unable to pursue it.
Mr Barton was naturally aggrieved. How was he to know of this unusual Court Rule. The Court Rules are too complex for him to fully understand and the Court should make allowances for this. Unfortunately for Mr Barton, the Court did not agree. In the first instance, a District Judge decided that Mr Barton wasn’t entitled to ‘special rules or indulgences’. This decision was then backed by the Court of Appeal and then again, this week by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court was clear in that the Court Rules must apply to all parties equally.
Can you afford not to get proper legal advice?
CAP BUSINESS CLUBS BLOG
Visit us on Facebook - We always appreciate any "Likes"
T: 01594 723120
M: 07811 981929
The Main Place
Old Station Way