Counter Claims in the High Court
Starting a formal claim against someone for a substantial debt you’re owed may not get the quick result you want. Your debtor may dispute the debt, or even make a counter claim against you. Maybe the debtor claims you owe money instead; or you are accused of breach of contract and this has caused financial loss to the debtor that exceeds the amount you are claiming.
High Court proceedings are more complex and very costly. Careful consideration is therefore critical before proceedings are started in the High Court, including whether the debtor is likely to put in a counter claim.
The expert litigation solicitors at Selachii have years of experience successfully representing both claimants and debtors where counter claims are made in High Court proceedings. We will take full details of the circumstances of the debt you are claiming (or defending), and consider the potential for a defence and/or counter claim before advising of your next steps.
The debtor (the defendant in the proceedings) must indicate within a certain time period (usually 28 days after receiving the claim form) whether they intend to defend the claim – including any counter claim. The basis of the counter claim must be clearly set out. The counter claim must include a statement of truth verifying the truth of the information contained in the document.
It may be necessary for you and the other side to serve and file further documents clarifying matters. The Court will also set out a timetable for how the case will proceed. This timetable must be strictly observed.
As with any dispute, it is best to try to settle the matter before it proceeds to court. We are experienced in negotiating satisfactory settlements on behalf of our clients with the aim of bringing matters to a swift, cost effective solution.
What if the counter claim is without merit?
If the defendant serves a counter claim that is without merit, for instance, it is weak or groundless, you can apply to strike it out or seek ‘summary’ judgment. This provides a way of bringing the dispute to an early conclusion and avoids what might otherwise be unnecessary, time consuming litigation. It also gives you the obvious benefit of an early judgment in your favour which you can then take formal steps to enforce – if that becomes necessary.
What are the costs implications?
The general rule is that the loser pays at least a substantial proportion of the winner’s legal costs. So if you lose your claim, you may be ordered to pay the debtor’s costs and most of their legal fees. Where enforcement action is required, the debtor will be responsible for the legal costs involved.
If you believe the defendant may not be able to pay any costs award in your favour if you eventually win, you can apply to the court for Security for Costs. This means the defendant would have to provide security for any costs it may become liable to pay. Likewise, where the defendant is confident of successfully defending the claim, or counter claiming against you, it can apply for Security for Costs in the same way.
How Selachii Can Help
Selachii is a dynamic litigation law firm based in Kensington, London. Our dispute resolution team is highly experienced in debt recovery, including High Court actions and counter claims. We put the best interests of our clients at the heart of everything we do. We work with both businesses and private individuals, giving them legal advice and support which is unique to them and their situation.
We don’t believe in simply handing out one-size-fits-all solutions to problems. We will focus on your specific circumstances before working out the best and most cost-effective way of helping you achieve your aims.