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    • EagerLearner
    • By EagerLearner 18th Oct 16, 9:19 AM
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    EagerLearner
    Small court claim - can we contest once judgement is in?
    • #1
    • 18th Oct 16, 9:19 AM
    Small court claim - can we contest once judgement is in? 18th Oct 16 at 9:19 AM
    Hello,

    Thank you for taking the time to read this.

    I am assisting someone who was taken to court, in a nutshell, over placement of an employee who *had* initially liaised with an agency but he specifically did not want them to place him in the position as he found the agency unsatisfactory and wanted no further work from them.

    He was hired only on the proviso that it was his decision to do this and that he applied directly to a subsequent advert. Maybe the company were naive? He must have then told the agency this because they then sent a flurry of emails, the company defended the employee position and theirs which was to refuse payment of the fees suggested. In weirder developments, he was not great once hired and as such only worked a few days.

    The agency took the company to court over their viewed 'fee' (very high) and although this was defended by the company, it would seem the defense paperwork never arrived at the court (and the person handling it was lax on admin so never chased/checked court info), and so the company was not aware of this until too late and judgement was already made against them by default.

    They have immediately paid the fee (several thousands), and requested proof that it is no longer on their record.

    Question is, what can they do now? They never got the chance to defend themselves due to an admin error, and possibly, they would have not won anyway? Any thoughts gratefully received.
    Last edited by EagerLearner; 18-10-2016 at 9:27 AM.
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Page 1
    • zaax
    • By zaax 18th Oct 16, 9:28 AM
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    zaax
    • #2
    • 18th Oct 16, 9:28 AM
    • #2
    • 18th Oct 16, 9:28 AM
    This is contract law, we need to see the contract. Though I suspect the co would have lost. Is it worth spending good money after bad?
    Do you want your money back, and a bit more, search for 'money claim online' - They don't like it up 'em Captain Mainwaring
    • EagerLearner
    • By EagerLearner 18th Oct 16, 9:35 AM
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    • #3
    • 18th Oct 16, 9:35 AM
    • #3
    • 18th Oct 16, 9:35 AM
    Hi do you mean the contract between the company and the employee? It would not refer to the agency as was direct.
    There was no contract with the agency...
    I agree re good money after bad, just tending to think that if they had no chance of defence, would then get a belated one after paying up?
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    • Stevie Palimo
    • By Stevie Palimo 18th Oct 16, 9:35 AM
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    • #4
    • 18th Oct 16, 9:35 AM
    • #4
    • 18th Oct 16, 9:35 AM
    For the UK mainland they have paid it now and the CCJ drops off within a month I believe, Check with the Court in question as they may require proof, Look on the register of judgements for this.

    By rights they should have asked the Court to set it aside via an application notice n244 at roughly £250.00 or so and due to now paying the ccj after the hearing would probably need to take this to the next level, That may require a high court as the claim was issued but I am unsure on that point but believe that is the only way.
    " I refuse to censor myself because it may offend someone. If you don't like me that's ok, I don't need your approval. "
    • EagerLearner
    • By EagerLearner 18th Oct 16, 9:55 AM
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    • #5
    • 18th Oct 16, 9:55 AM
    • #5
    • 18th Oct 16, 9:55 AM
    Thanks Stevie, payment & request for proof of removal from register had already been sent off, so will keep an eye on that.
    I think they just panicked as they're a small company and didn't want bad credit re judgement, hindsight is a wonderful thing... with luck they won't be in this situation again.
    So high court may be their only choice now?
    I am worried as to how this works with agencies, do they have the right to do this if the individual chose to not work with them anymore?
    This is so much harder given he did not live up to all the hype and isn't there to help be a witness or anything...
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    • Stevie Palimo
    • By Stevie Palimo 18th Oct 16, 10:00 AM
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    Stevie Palimo
    • #6
    • 18th Oct 16, 10:00 AM
    • #6
    • 18th Oct 16, 10:00 AM
    The agency may have just used bullying tactics and if the Company in question is 100% sure they did nothing wrong then I would take it further and seek to have this situation resolved, Nobody likes to pay out for things that they should not be liable for and in my view a lot of agencies are quite aggressive in there approach when things do not go there way.

    For the sake of a meeting here with a solicitor that they could see for a 30-60 minute meeting the ccj and money taken may get repaid but will be at a further expense, I would only suggest considering this route if they 100% believe that they do not owe anything and never have done.
    " I refuse to censor myself because it may offend someone. If you don't like me that's ok, I don't need your approval. "
    • paddyrg
    • By paddyrg 18th Oct 16, 10:03 AM
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    • #7
    • 18th Oct 16, 10:03 AM
    • #7
    • 18th Oct 16, 10:03 AM
    Company originally engaged an agency, I assume? That's the only contract that matters. What the employee did with the agency is irrelevant.
    • EagerLearner
    • By EagerLearner 18th Oct 16, 10:10 AM
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    • #8
    • 18th Oct 16, 10:10 AM
    • #8
    • 18th Oct 16, 10:10 AM
    Thanks Paddyrg and Stevie.
    Yes they did originally want to use that agency, but once they heard from the person in question, they stopped working with them. As I understand it he later applied to another job listing and categorically did not want to work with that agency anymore. The agency were very firm on emails, and I feel only got the upper hand here because of lack of admin follow up.
    I am sure many companies will have a go at saving fees, but in this instance, I think they were naive not knowing a) enough about the guy & believing how good he was and b) trusting that they could work directly with him based on him 'not wanting' to be with the agency.

    Paddy I am unsure what contract would have been signed if any, *if* they did, would that not be null if the prospective employee no longer wanted to work with them?
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    • EagerLearner
    • By EagerLearner 18th Oct 16, 10:36 AM
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    • #9
    • 18th Oct 16, 10:36 AM
    • #9
    • 18th Oct 16, 10:36 AM
    I should add also, that the original role they referred him for was filled, due to them not getting messages to him in time/arranging interview dates properly etc. This is why he no longer wanted to work with them, and so subsequently applied direct several weeks later for a quite different job.
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    • unforeseen
    • By unforeseen 18th Oct 16, 10:46 AM
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    unforeseen
    It is normal in agency contracts that a fee is payable if somebody introduced by them subsequently gets recruited directly by the company.

    This appears to be what the agency have invoked
    • EagerLearner
    • By EagerLearner 18th Oct 16, 11:24 AM
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    EagerLearner
    Thanks unforeseen, I guess what they need to establish now is that due to poor agency performance the person made it clear they no longer wished to go through them, they have his emails stating this. As such he lost his chance at the original job, but yes by then he knew who the company were.
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    • Aquamania
    • By Aquamania 18th Oct 16, 3:38 PM
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    Aquamania
    Hello,

    Thank you for taking the time to read this.

    I am assisting someone who was taken to court, in a nutshell, over placement of an employee who *had* initially liaised with an agency but he specifically did not want them to place him in the position as he found the agency unsatisfactory and wanted no further work from them.

    He was hired only on the proviso that it was his decision to do this and that he applied directly to a subsequent advert. Maybe the company were naive? He must have then told the agency this because they then sent a flurry of emails, the company defended the employee position and theirs which was to refuse payment of the fees suggested. In weirder developments, he was not great once hired and as such only worked a few days.

    The agency took the company to court over their viewed 'fee' (very high) and although this was defended by the company, it would seem the defense paperwork never arrived at the court (and the person handling it was lax on admin so never chased/checked court info), and so the company was not aware of this until too late and judgement was already made against them by default.

    They have immediately paid the fee (several thousands), and requested proof that it is no longer on their record.

    Question is, what can they do now? They never got the chance to defend themselves due to an admin error, and possibly, they would have not won anyway? Any thoughts gratefully received.
    Originally posted by EagerLearner
    So are you saying judgement was given in default?

    If so, it's quite easy to apply to set the judgement aside. See here for details how to do that
    https://www.gov.uk/county-court-judgments-ccj-for-debt/if-you-dont-owe-the-money

    If the application is made, it is almost always granted in such circumstanmces, and the case will then he heard as usual.

    (I'm not going to attempt to give any legal advice on the matter itself - if that is needed I suggest a solicitor is asked; the internet really is no place to seek independent legal advice)
    • Voyager2002
    • By Voyager2002 18th Oct 16, 4:38 PM
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    Voyager2002
    I second the advice to see a solicitor about the case. However, I also suggest a visit to the court for a chat with the Clerk. Court officials cannot give legal advice but can be very helpful about the kind of circumstances when judgment can be set aside and the rules under which courts operate.

    I am also puzzled that you mention several thousand pounds: that would hardly be a realistic fee due to an agency for introducing someone whose work was not satisfactory.
    • Savvy_Sue
    • By Savvy_Sue 19th Oct 16, 1:20 AM
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    Savvy_Sue
    It is normal in agency contracts that a fee is payable if somebody introduced by them subsequently gets recruited directly by the company.

    This appears to be what the agency have invoked
    Originally posted by unforeseen
    And IMO quite reasonably and defensibly: you can usually negotiate such fees with an agency, but if you engage an agency and subsequently employ someone who was on their books at the time, you pay their fee. The fact that the employee no longer wants anything to do with the agency is neither here nor there.

    A similar contract is normal with estate agencies. Engage an agency, sell your house direct to someone who was on their books, and you pay the agency fee, even if the buyer wanted nothing to do with the agency any more.

    If you think about it, it's not unreasonable. If it were possible to say "oh, I didn't actually hear about this job / house through the agency and they weren't very organised so you shouldn't have to pay their fee" isn't that what we'd all do?

    Thanks unforeseen, I guess what they need to establish now is that due to poor agency performance the person made it clear they no longer wished to go through them, they have his emails stating this. As such he lost his chance at the original job, but yes by then he knew who the company were.
    Originally posted by EagerLearner
    If the company reads the contract they signed, I think they'll find that the views of the jobseeker about the agency's performance are irrelevant.

    I am also puzzled that you mention several thousand pounds: that would hardly be a realistic fee due to an agency for introducing someone whose work was not satisfactory.
    Originally posted by Voyager2002
    Actually, if they hadn't contested the fee, then they might have been able to pay less because the employee wasn't satisfactory! The fee is usually only due after a satisfactory period in the job.
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    • jexygirl
    • By jexygirl 19th Oct 16, 7:51 AM
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    jexygirl
    Agree with Sue. Regardless of outcome, the original intro was via an agency, and thus, regardless of the employee wanting out, the agency still made the initial introduction so the fees are enforceable.
    We once put our house up for sale with an agent, in the meantime, we told our neighbours we were selling, arranged a time for them to view, discussed a deal \and agreed it, all without the agent - however, the buyer thought they had better inform the agent that they had made an acceptable offer. The record of that one phone call cost me £1850 in agency fees, despite them doing nothing at all... they had a record of that phone call which justified contact and fee...
    The agency did their job, as requested originally by the company who engaged them.
    I will pay jexygirl the compliment of saying that she invariably writes a lot of sense!
    Originally posted by Savvy_Sue
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    • EagerLearner
    • By EagerLearner 19th Oct 16, 10:42 AM
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    EagerLearner
    Hi all thank you for your replies, all very valid points
    I have recommended they take legal advice already yes, definitely makes sense.

    I would add that the agency did not even supply the person for interview - and aside from sending his cv to the company (no doubt un-named) and messing up dates, so an interview never took place. As the company did not know this person existed, they feel he was not ever 'introduced' to them. Does this make sense?
    They only knew about him & his name when he applied for another job around a month later, presumably that was when he mentioned the prev job agency, trying to apply previously etc. I thought I would clarify this in case it helps, but likely the law is with the agency simply because they had him on their books and the Company worked with them.

    I should also clarify that the Company did email the agency, contesting the invoice for several thousands of pounds fee *especially* because the agency 'guessed' at what salary he had subsequently been employed at and so the fee was exorbitant.

    The judgement has been entered by default and the company panicked not wanting a CCJ so have paid instantly but are understandably fuming at how the agency refused to acknowledge their concerns, and ended up winning by default. I am just trying to understand how to get them a fair review... maybe it's not possible now it has been paid? As others have said maybe high court is the only option.
    I will call the court and see what else I can find, if there are any thoughts do let me know thanks so much .
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    • unforeseen
    • By unforeseen 19th Oct 16, 10:47 AM
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    unforeseen
    But why didn't the company defend the action in the first place? Head in the sand syndrome?

    By not defending a default judgement was virtually guaranteed.

    They still had time to get it set aside but didn't. It sounds like the company's legal dept/advice was inept
    • EagerLearner
    • By EagerLearner 19th Oct 16, 2:37 PM
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    EagerLearner
    Hi Unforeseen, not sure if you have read my OP.
    They did defend, however the person who posted it neither sent it recorded delivery, nor submitted online. This has resulted in an unfortunate perfect storm for the agency to get away with this.
    They are a small-ish company, and do not have a big legal department.
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    • EagerLearner
    • By EagerLearner 19th Oct 16, 2:42 PM
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    EagerLearner

    Actually, if they hadn't contested the fee, then they might have been able to pay less because the employee wasn't satisfactory! The fee is usually only due after a satisfactory period in the job.
    Originally posted by Savvy_Sue
    It's a crazy situation I agree. They had to contest the amount for sure, I think though that they were perhaps naiive and unaware how bully-like these agencies can be. Bear in mind they have used agencies before, with great success, and paid fees - they know how things *should* go. Therefore never had a situation like this one...
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