Education Case Studies

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Article

26 September, 2019

Costs down the drain

The Dispute Resolution team at Forbes recently acted for an academy trust which had a vexatious claim issued against it by a neighbour. The neighbour's garden backed onto the school's playing field and he issued a claim for nuisance, alleging that his garden would flood on a regular basis due to a defect with an abandoned drainage system beneath the school playing fields, claiming for over £20,000 in damages.

On reviewing the claim, we noted that the Claimant had failed to supply any expert evidence to support his claim. Furthermore, the period in which the Claimant's garden was subject to significant flooding was during the time when the local area was extensively flooded and widely publicised in the national press. It was apparent that the claim had little merit, the academy had no responsibility for the flooding, and a robust defence was filed.

The Claimant was a litigant in person and unaware of the cost's risks associated with making a claim over 10k, in that the losing party bears the costs of the successful party. He continued to advance his claim, refusing to comply with our recommendation that expert evidence be obtained for the benefit of both parties. When he became aware of his cost exposure, the Claimant attempted to reduce his claim to 5k and an allocation hearing took place to determine whether the claim was to be allocated to the small claims track or fast track.

At the hearing, we successfully argued that the claim should be allocated to the fast track due to the technical/complex nature of the claim, the need for specialist and costly expert evidence, and the fact that the claimant had initially pleaded his claim above 20k.

The Claimant subsequently filed a Notice of Discontinuance in an attempt to bring the claim to a conclusion, believing incorrectly that he would not have to pay our client's costs incurred to date.

Unfortunately, the Claimant was mistaken and he was responsible for all our client's costs incurred up to and including the date of the allocation hearing in accordance with the Civil Procedural Rules. We successfully sought the recovery of our client's costs obtaining a more than satisfactory result for our client faced with stressful and uncertain circumstances.

Loan scheme rebate

We were instructed by an academy trust to review their contractual agreements with an iPad loan scheme provider. There were alleged financial discrepancies with both parties during the course of several years whilst the scheme was running, with each party claiming that they were due a refund or owed a payment.

Our client instructed us to bring matters to a prompt conclusion, as our client's accounting team were concerned that the dispute was affecting the accounting treatment of the monies owed to our client and payable by our client. On liaising with the iPad loan scheme provider, we ascertained that our client's payments were all up to date and the provider in fact owed our client the sum of around £15,000. We obtained the funds due and swiftly settled the matter for the client.

For more information contact Faraz Naqvi in our Education department via email or phone on 0333 207 1146. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.

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