Susan Hopcraft Archive

When to issue and serve a claim form and what to do if your solicitor misses the deadline

Claims for breach of contract must be made within 6 years of the breach. A claim form must be served within four months of issue. Any reasonably competent solicitor ought to make sure these deadlines are met, but there are pitfalls. They can lead to disputes over the conduct of the litigation, a fiendish outcome for the client.

Commercial disputes: shorter trials scheme

Should the courts work faster? Reaching trial sooner may be more of an advantage to the Claimant, if the Defendant is happier dragging a claim out to put off the evil day, but the courts are nonetheless trying to provide ways to get there more quickly and at less cost. The Courts in London have been piloting a Shorter Trials Scheme (STS). “Shorter” here means coming to trial no later than 10 months after issue of the claim.

Settlements - babies and bath water

When settling a dispute it is usual for the defendant to seek the widest possible waiver of all claims that might be brought against them in the future. If the dispute is a genuine ‘one-off’, that might be thought acceptable, but if an unforeseen claim later arises you could be shut out from that claim due to the width of the waiver you signed when settling the earlier claim. Can it ever be sensible to settle beyond the identified dispute? The case below makes the point.

Rising Ground Rent in New Build Homes: Are solicitors to blame?

Over the last year there have been reports of newly built properties being effectively worth nothing after just six years due to excessive ground rent charges. A reported example was £101,000 paid for a flat in a new development but lenders then refusing to give mortgages to prospective buyers because a clause in the original leasehold agreement meant owners were liable to pay ground rent to the freeholder that would spiral to £8,000 a year.
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