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Guestimating costs up to allocation

Guestimating costs up to allocation

Postby caffiene » Mon Jun 29, 2015 6:31 pm

Proceedings may be started for a small claim but may actually end up on the multitrack.

How can a poor litigant dare to start proceedings if, once they are started, he cannot afford to continue if it does not stay on the small claims track?

There is the option of withdrawing after allocation if it gets multitracked. However, there will be costs up to that point.

My question is, how much is the bill likely to be?

I am not very familiar with the process, but so far I know the defendant will have costs for the following:

analysing the claim and filing a defence, filling in the allocation questionairre and possibly attending an allocation hearing.

Is there anything else likely to incur more costs up to allocation e.g. some other kind of preliminary hearing? If the defendant is a big corporation with big corporate lawyers, I guess they will charge £400 per hour at least, so how many hours would be likely? How is it actually worked out? Are there any guidelines I can look at or examples?

I know it's a case of how long a piece of string but if it could be more than a few thousand then it's prohibitive.

Thanks
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Re: Guestimating costs up to allocation

Postby atticus » Mon Jun 29, 2015 6:42 pm

No one can give you an exact answer.

However, courts should not allow claims for costs which are disproportionate to the sums claimed. Even that is not an absolute rule.

Do your case analysis first.

Use pre claim protocols to extract details of the likely response to your claim; don't just issue a claim and see what happens.
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Re: Guestimating costs up to allocation

Postby dls » Mon Jun 29, 2015 6:51 pm

Litigation is grabbing a tiger by the tail.

I know nothing of your case and cannot judge the situation, but if you are going to let go, things rarely get better for delaying. It just gets harder to let go.

I am sorry but it always has been the case that a rich litigator has more staying power than a poor one (legal aid in times gone by excepted). It isn't right, but it is.
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Re: Guestimating costs up to allocation

Postby caffiene » Mon Jun 29, 2015 7:24 pm

Thank you. Could you please elaborate a little on what is case analysis? What do I need to consider?

What aspects of the pre-action protocol will indicate the duration of proceedings up to the allocation stage?

There has been lengthy correspondence between all parties where my complaints are described in detail along with suggestions of resolution and have been fobbed off with no possibility for movement.

I will expect them to take the same line and claim they are within their rights to keep doing what they are doing.

I do not know how this translates into court processes, forms, hearings, etc and whether there is a limit to the hourly rate. Don't most cases follow a similar path in the early stages? claim, defence, allocation?

It seems unfair that a claim for <£1000 can end up with potentially ruinous costs. What kind of justice system is that? I can only try to mitigate by simplifying the claim (at the expense of the best arguments) in the hope it will stay a small claim.
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Re: Guestimating costs up to allocation

Postby Hairyloon » Mon Jun 29, 2015 8:02 pm

caffiene wrote:If the defendant is a big corporation with big corporate lawyers, I guess they will charge £400 per hour at least, so how many hours would be likely?

That should only be your problem if costs are awarded against you. I don't know what are the rules dictating whether this is likely.
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Re: Guestimating costs up to allocation

Postby atticus » Mon Jun 29, 2015 8:12 pm

If this claim is for less than £1,000, what makes you think that it may be allocated, not to the Small Claims Track, not to the Fast Track, but to the Multi-Track?

If your claim is likely to be met with such a whopping counterclaim, isn't discretion going to be the better part of valour?
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Re: Guestimating costs up to allocation

Postby caffiene » Mon Jun 29, 2015 10:58 pm

A lawyer warned me the issues were complex. The strongest claim would be for a CCA unfair relationship resulting from a debt assigned on worse terms than the original contract. The new terms breach the data protection act and the assignee is using the situation to make me pay money that is not due. There are 2 defendants.

I suggested a cut down claim against 1 defendant where I just claim the money back. The lawyer still thought it could grow out of proportion. I do not know if he was just scaring me off or just covering himself for something that may really be unlikely.

I cannot see grounds for a counter claim. If typical costs to allocation are over £2K then I cannot risk it unless it is very unlikely.

If there are particular things I can add up to get a rough Idea? I thought the early stages of a claim are similar for all claims, e.g. claim, defence, allocation? I just have no yardstick.

Is it possible to insure against allocation with ATE?
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Re: Guestimating costs up to allocation

Postby atticus » Tue Jun 30, 2015 5:55 am

Ask an ATE insurer.

Insurance policies require a premium to be paid.
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Re: Guestimating costs up to allocation

Postby atticus » Tue Jun 30, 2015 5:57 am

You should expect costs to allocation of the case you sort of describe to exceed £2,000 by some way.
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Re: Guestimating costs up to allocation

Postby dls » Tue Jun 30, 2015 7:23 am

Litigation is inherently unpredictable. It is unusual for a court hearing other than a formal one to go exactly as expected, let alone an entire action.

In similar situations, it may be that the company must bluster, but cannot afford to fight because it cannot afford to lose. A slight difference in advice may mean that they need and are confident of a win.

You will never be able to tell.

The overriding element is the confidence of others in your case. If nobody will inure it, that is a substantial indicator that neither should you.
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