Chapter 10 Case study documentation

Suggested answers to case study questions: Bollingtons Limited v Mrs Elizabeth Lynch t/a The Honest Lawyer

Questions 1 and 2

  1. Consider the initial steps you would take regarding the Claim Form and Particulars of Claim.
  2. Consider what issues you will need to cover in your first letter to your client.

Mrs Lynch is a new client to the practice and you have only spoken to her over the telephone. Before undertaking any substantive work on her behalf, you need to comply with the relevant Money Laundering regulations as well as the SRA Code of Conduct. You need to despatch to her the firm’s client care letter in duplicate including a request for monies on account of costs and request that she attend your office with her passport/driving licence and a recent utility bill showing relevant address in order that these can be copied (you do not need to see her, your secretary or receptionist can deal with this); or you can undertake a s.192 credit search with her consent which will verify her ID for ML purposes.

However as this is a potentially urgent matter, you may decide to look at the Letter before Claim, Claim Form and Particulars of Claim and undertake the following whilst she deals with the above requests: you will need to calculate when the Acknowledgement and/or Defence was due. Once you have done that you will need to call the court to see if judgment has been entered. As you are not on record as acting for Mrs Lynch (nobody is) the court should give you this information. Alternatively, you could contact the Claimant’s solicitors to ascertain the position.

Once you have this information you will need to write to Mrs Lynch confirming where you are procedurally, explain in layman’s terms whether you believe she has a real prospect of successfully defending the claim and if so how can she be given the opportunity to do so. (see also Chapter 14 Interim Applications – Some Common Applications, paragraph 14.2). You should outline the nature of the setting aside application in terms of what you need to prepare, what documentation you will need from her, your thoughts on prospects of success and likely costs orders along with an initial costing for the application and attendance at court. You need a prompt response from her if the application is to stand any chance of success and if you have not had the client care letter back and monies on account when she gives you instructions to proceed, you will need to press for these. Technically you should do nothing until you have received these.

Additionally, you will need to go on record as acting and will need to file and serve a Notice of Change (Form N434).

If you have not already spoken to the Claimant’s solicitor, you should pick up the phone and invite them to consent to the judgment being set aside and give the reasons (beer delivered to wrong place, was of inferior quality and your client has been away and you have acted promptly on receiving her instructions). This should be followed up by a letter repeating the same and if you it feel appropriate, a statement that if they refuse to consent, you shall be seeking costs on the indemnity basis as their refusal is unreasonable and their conduct is contrary to the overriding objectives.