General Legal Action – Financial Loss claims

Click on the questions below to reveal the answer.

I believe that my employer is treating me unfairly, or that I have just been unfairly dismissed from my employment. What should I do?

Being treated unfairly at work by your employer can cause much anxiety. Losing your job is often a very stressful experience, particularly where you believe that you were unfairly treated.

There may be some remedies available. You may have a claim for unfair dismissal – that the circumstances surrounding your dismissal were harsh, unjust or unreasonable, or for breach of a general protection – including the refusal of legal entitlements, adverse changes to the conditions of your employment, and workplace discrimination.

Claims involving dismissal must be lodged within 21 days of the date of termination, and late claims are rarely accepted. Other claims may be made within 6 years of the breach giving rise to the claim.

An unfair dismissal claim may be successful if the dismissal is found to have been harsh, even though it was nevertheless reasonable or just. This may include circumstances where your employer fails to allow procedural fairness, provide a written warning regarding workplace behaviour, or responds disproportionately to the concerns regarding your conduct in the workplace.

The usual remedies awarded for an unfair dismissal claim are re-employment or monetary compensation for the time it will likely take to find other work (limited to 6 months’ income). A retraction of the dismissal and the tendering of a letter of resignation, often also form

part of such an outcome.

If you believe that you are being unfairly treated by your employer or have been unfairly dismissed, you can call the lawyers at
Scammell & Co. for advice regarding the options that may be available to you. Remember that the first half of your first appointment is usually free.

I have been ordered to pay money, by a Court order, against a debt in my name. I did not know about the matter, i.e. that I was being sued for payment of a debt.

There can be many reasons why people have a Court order (judgment) recorded against them for payment of a debt.

Sometimes people take issue with the nature of the debt they have incurred (for example, where the debt relates to work done or services rendered), thinking they have been overcharged or the work / services rendered was unsatisfactory. On other occasions they simply cannot afford to pay. There are even times when people have a Court judgment recorded against them without even being aware of the Court action.

A simple check with a credit reporting authority can reveal whether any such judgments exist.

If the debt, which is the subject of the judgment, is in dispute, you may be able to have the judgment set aside and the matter brought back to Court for determination (re-assessment). You will need to show that you have an arguable defence and that there was a valid reason for not responding to the earlier Court action. For example, that you were not aware that you were being sued for the debt).

If the first judgment is not set aside, you should consider what options may be taken to recover the judgment sum. This may include an Investigation Summons – being brought to Court to discuss what ability you have to pay the debt and ability to enter into a payment plan. It may also include a charge over your home, or an order for the sale of goods. While it is rare, a wilful failure to comply with Court ordered payment arrangements can result in imprisonment.

Contact Scammell & Co. for advice regarding the options that may be available to you.

I am applying for finance and want to check my credit history. What can I do?

Applying for finance can be a daunting experience, especially if your credit history is poor. There are a number of financial and other institutions that are able to contribute towards your credit history. This includes loan and credit providers, utility companies (electricity, gas, telephone, etc.), rental agencies and so on. This may also include public authorities such as the Courts.

There is also the increasing prospect of identity theft, where loan and credit applications are made in your name illegally by someone else.

Fortunately in most cases, you can obtain a free copy of your credit report to check that information.

Among other things, your credit report will show:

1.  Your personal details;

2.  Previous loan or credit applications;

3.  Loans or overdue debts;

4.  Whether you have been declared bankrupt; and

5.  Any Court judgments recorded against you.

Although many of these matters are updated automatically, a Court judgment can be overlooked and appear on your report as outstanding even after it has been repaid or set aside. This may prevent you from being able to obtain finance in an otherwise successful application.

In those circumstances, you should consider obtaining the written approval of the other party, or a copy of the order of the Court (as the case may be), and forwarding that onto the credit reporting agency requesting your history be updated. In some cases, a Court action will need to be formally discontinued before your details will be properly updated.

Someone that I did building work for is refusing to pay the invoice. What advice can you give me? What are my options?

In most cases, there are three reasons why someone refuses to pay for building work:

1.  The invoice exceeds the amount quoted, or is otherwise in dispute.

2.  The quality of the building work is in dispute.

3.  The person is unable to pay the invoice.

The first step is to ensure that you were properly qualified to do the work. Most trades and builders need to be licensed and certified for the work they do. If you lack the proper qualifications, you may be unable to recover any money for the work done.

The next issue to consider is the quotation and/or agreement for the work. This should clearly set out the scope of the work to be done and the amount to be charged. If any additional amounts are chargeable for the work, the quotation/agreement should detail the circumstances in which those charges might arise and the method of calculation. If the amount of your invoice is going to be an issue, it is better to identify this before commencing the work.

Where the quality of the work is in dispute, the most common approach is to obtain an independent building inspection report. The report should identify any defects in the work and the cost of rectification. A report may also be helpful in cases where the invoice is in dispute, to consider whether the amount charged fairly reflects the amount of work done.

Where someone simply lacks the ability to pay, the simplest solution may be to enter an agreement to pay by regular instalments.

Contact Scammell & Co for advice regarding the options that may be available to you.


I loaned money to a friend a while ago and now the friend is refusing to pay it back. What can I do?

There are three main reasons why people refuse to repay a loan.

The first is a dispute that the monies are due: either that some later date was agreed or that the loan would be payable once the money was available. The second is that the friendship has deteriorated and they are refusing to pay out of spite. The third is that they simply do not have the money to pay the loan.

Unfortunately, many people lend money on the strength of a handshake, a verbal agreement, or a written agreement that they have prepared themselves. Whilst a verbal agreement may still be enforceable, the inability to look to written terms often leads to ambiguity and disagreement.

Written loan agreements that have not been prepared by a solicitor may also fail to record such vital terms as the due date for repayment, events causing the balance to become immediately payable and steps that can be taken in the event of a default.

Where someone simply lacks the money needed to pay the loan, the common solution is to accept payment by regular instalments. Court Orders can be obtained causing property to be seized and sold and sale proceeds used to satisfy the loan. A charge can also be taken against real estate to secure payment, however this will be subject to any existing mortgages.

It is important to note that the cost of issuing Court proceedings may exceed the amount of the loan. For that reason, we recommend seeking legal advice before agreeing to lend money, and to have a formal agreement prepared which records the terms of the loan.

For specific advice, please contact the solicitors at Scammell & Co.


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