John Pugh LLB (Hons)
Eileen Ashton JP LLB (Hons)
credit small claims. Fixed fees for defended debt
claims for under £10,000.
Statement and Documents
Submission for trial -
conduct your trial
£1000 plus travel costs
My travel expenses for any given
court can be viewed
How to instruct me on fixed fee work:
a. Put the case name
in the subject line
b. State your name,
address and phone number
which item(s) from my fixed fee list you require
Suzanne or I will
email you a questionnaire,
client care letter and pro-forma fee note;
Pay the fee, complete the questionnaire and
supply the requested documents (email or post
oif too bulky).
I will respond by email attaching
what you have requested and a receipted
For any subsequent instructions
simply email requesting what you want from the
menu above. Suzanne will respond with an order
acknowledgement and proforma fee note and your
work will follow.
If you are intending to brief me
for a small claims trial please check my diary
with Suzanne on 0151 236 5415.
The following are examples of situations
which may occur in small claims which are not
covered by the fixed fee table shown above:
Applications by the
creditor for summary judgment
creditors apply for summary judgment
even in small claims cases. The way to
deal with such an application is as follows:
(1) Complete my consumer credit
small claims questionnaire (unless you have
already done so) and in a separate sheet
identify each paragraph in the creditor's supporting
application you disagree with and why you
me to draft a witness statement in opposition.
the hearing either instruct me to prepare a
written submission for you to place before the
judge (if you wish to attend in person) or brief
me to attend for you. If you brief me I will
prepare a skeleton argument in opposition to the
application, attend on the day and argue your
(4) If you are successful in
opposing a summary judgment aplication you can
request costs, even if it is a small claim. It
is in the court's discretion.
(5) If you wish to instruct me on
such an application please email
telephone Suzanne on 0151 236 5415 to discuss
availability and fees.
(6) As a rough guide the fee for your
witness statement would be £120, for a written
submission to aid you in self-representation, £300, or
to brief me to repreresent you at court £750 plus
Applications to set
aside a default judgment entered by the creditor
If your creditor obtains a judgment
against you because you did not file the
acknowledgenment of service in time or file your
defence in time you may have to apply to set
to deal with such an application is as follows:
(1) Unless you have already done
so, complete my consumer credit small claims
questionnaire, send me a copy of the judgment
and inform me when you filed acknowledgement of
service and when you filed your defence and
attach the proof you did so. If you did
not file either of these documents in time or at
all tell me why you failed to do so.
(2) Applying to set aside a
judgment involves making an application to the
court. The court will charge you £255 for
this. You will need to instruct me to advise you
as to the merits of your application (i.e. whether your application is worth making) and to
draft the application notice and the witness
statement supporting it from the information and
documents you supply me with.
(3) For the
hearing of your application either instruct me
to prepare a written submission for you to place
before the judge if you wish to attend in
person, or, brief me to attend for you in which
case I will prepare a skeleton argument in
opposition to the application and attend on the
(4) If you are successful in having
the judgment set aside, and the judgment should
not have been entered in the frist place, I can
request that the creditor pays the costs you
have incurred. Again, it is a decision in the
discretion of the District Judge. The judgment was entered
through your default you may have to pay the
other side's costs.
13.3 (2) provides that in considering
whether to set aside or vary a judgment
the matters to which the court must have regard
include whether the person seeking to set aside
the judgment made an application to do so
promptly. So if you have to apply, do so as quickly as
possible. Many applications which otherwise
would succeed are defeated by delay in applying.
(6) If you wish to
instruct me on such an application please email
telephone Suzanne on 0151 236 5415 to discuss
availability and fees.
(8) As a
rough guide the fee for your application and
witness statement would be £180, for a written
submission to aid self representation, £300 or
to brief me to represent you at court £750 plus
requests for further information by the creditor
There is rarely any need for
a creditor to request further information from a
debtor. But it sometimes happens. If so let me
If I have already advised you or
drafted your defence I can often deal with such
requests for under £100.
If your case is of higher value than a small
claim (i.e over £10,000) the work is
not covered by fixed fees
please either email or telephone Suzanne to discuss
your requirements and obtain a quotation.
credit small claims - fixed fees for defended debt
claims under £10,000:
My fixed fee small claims
service gives you an almost unfettered choice of
options to help you deal with a creditor's claim
under a regulated credit agreement on the small claims track (i.e for under
If you use this fixed fee service you will instruct
me to do two things, without which the rest of the
service cannot be given.
starts with advice. I need a good knowledge of your
case from the outset.
You will know from my advice before you spend any more money,
whether it is worth it. And if it is you will be
told why it is and
what benefit you may get from defending it before
you spend any more money. You will be given a
suggested case strategy and advice on how good your
negotiating position is.
If you are sued you
will instruct me to draft your defence. When laymen draft defences I often spend more time trying to undo the
damage caused by a defence drafted without
understanding the issues involved than I do in
promoting the case itself. If you don't plead your
defence properly you can't rely on unpleaded
You also benefit from being seen by the creditor and
the court to be defending the claim using counsel.
After advice and defence stage you can tailor
your requirements, according to the value of your
claim, your budget, your appetite for undertaking
parts of the litigation yourself.
I have set out
fixed fees in the table opposite and indicated which
items of work represent the core service and
which are options if the need arises or you want
If your case settles the fees stop.
is a PAYG service. If you want my service you know
the fee and pay it to receive the service.
This way you will never owe me anything and have
complete control of the expenditire.
If a fixed fee is not
paid in time for me to do your work I will not
be able to accept instructions to do it.
core items are advice and defence. Afetr that,
although I think you would be unwise not to have
some form of help with the trial, the rest of the
items on the list are optional. The choice is always yours.
Below, I have set out, for your
consideration, some of the pros and cons of
instructing me to do the work I offer at a fixed
I will send you by email a 75 question
questionnaire which can be completed by email. It
ensures nothing is overlooked. My advice will be in
attenuated form, i.e substance, not detailed
arguments leading to the conclusions. It will tell
you what your options are, how strong your case is
on the basis of the documents and information
supplied, and suggest a settlement strategy, for
your consideration, to run in parallel with the case
as it progresses. Always remember you have two aims
namely (a) to win and be free of the debt and (b) to
look as if you might win, get a good settlement you
can manage and then be free of the debt.
The new pre-action
protocol for debt claims is
not your friend.
The Reply form is misleading in my opinion. It can
lead you to making admissions you did not mean to
make or would not make if properly advised. I
have set out in my self help tab what the traps are,
sufficient for you to avoid them if you read
carefully, and you are free to deal with the
Protocol Reply form yourself with that guidance.
However, if when you come to me, you have just
received a Letter of Claim (LOC) under the Pre
Action Protocol for Debt Claims and have still not
sent the Reply Form back I think it is worth asking
me to deal with it as I can keep you safe and use it
to your advantage even - but it is not
risky enough for you for me to make it a core
service. But if you do it yourself do be careful and
read the guidance I have given you on the Self Help
tab carefully before doing so.
essential I draft your defence. If not me, then
instruct another barrister to do it. Don't do it yourself
unless it is absolutely necessary. If you spend
money on nothing else in your case get your defence
properly drafted from the outset by someone who
knows consumer credit law and is experienced in
pleading statements of case.
sends you the allocation questionnaire. It
will either be for a small claims case or for a fast
tracl/multi track case. In 95% of cases you will
complete the small claims questionnaire with no
problem whatsoever. There is
guidance as to completion of this document on the
self help tab in this site. It is very simple and
you don't need me except in one circumstance.
Only if the claim is above £10,000 and you
have received a fast track/multtrack DQ, and you
want to keep it on the small claims track, is it
worth coming to me to complete it.
There is a
discretion in the court to allocate above £10,000
claims to the smallclaims track. Often creditors are
happy with this as well.
The Judge will not
allocate your case to a track until after he has
read each side's directions questionnaire. So
if you gte a small claims allocation questionnaire
complet it yourself but if you are sent a fsat
track/multi track allocation questionnaire come to
me to have it completed for you.
This is not
core. It may help your case if I do draft it from your responses to
the questionnaire but it is not an item of crucial
importance such as the preliminary advice or the
If you intend to represent yourself or
deal with the case in writing having your case set
out clearly with sources and grounds for your all
your points identified will help.
If You brief me I
will draft a skeleton argument and bring a bundle of
authorities I will rely on. If I am not going to be there,
then this written submission is similar to my
skeleton argument but it is adjusted to suit the
circumstances. E.G. I know where the relevant
statute law and guidance is in the Civil Court
Practice (The White Book) that all judges have
in front of them at court and so I refer to that for
authority. If I rely on e.g a regulation not in the
White Book I will cite it in full in the submission.
You can use this submission in three distinct ways
(a) As a presentation of your case to
the Judge at a small claims trial at which you
attend and agree to be questioned.
(b) As a
statement under CPR 27.9 if you elect not to attend
trial yourself. This is an option if the creditor's
case is flawed owing to lack of information or
documents. Thye often plug the gaps in their
evdience with admissions form you in xross
examination. In some cases
you actually benefit from not being there to be
questioned. If you ask me to do a written submission
for trial I will tell you which of these two options
I think is best for your case.
Sometimes you may wish to brief me but I cannot
attend owing to other professional commitments. If
you wish to choose an alternative advocate to
represent you this written submission can help them, especially if they
are not a consumer credit expert.
Brief to conduct your trial:
If I can accept your brief I will prepare your case
from your case papers which must include all
statements of case, witness statements and documents
attached to them and court orders. I will prepare a
skeleton argument and deliver it to court myself and
serve your opponents with it if I can locate them.
I will prepare a bundle of the statutory,
regulatory or common law case authorities on which I
will be relying and take copies to court for the
trial judge and my opponent. I will be at
court at least half an hour before the case is
listed so we can have a conversation about the case
My published fees are inclusive of
VAT but exclusive of travel expenses
which vary according to the venue of your trial. I have
published a list of travel expenses for each court.
I will not arrive at court exhausted after a long
journey. So for cases over 100 miles away from
my Liverpool chambers, I stay overnight locally to
ensure I am not late and am in good shape to argue your
Many consumer credit
claims settle. It is not well understood that once a
case has started, there are two settlements to be
(a) The issue between the parties must be
settled, but also, it is often forgotten that
(b) the litigation must to be brought to a
satisfactory conclusion and the court must approve
the second part.
Amidst, sighs of relief,
relaxation and the contemplation of a stiff brandy
to celebrate the end of the whole sorry business the
precise terms of settlement can easily be overlooked
or rushed, especially when instalment payments are
If you tell me what you undertand
what the proposed agreement represents, and
let me see any proposed order I will ensure the
order is both what you understand it to be and has
no traps or penalties in it you have not understood.
Obviously any compromise agreement will be capable
of being enforced but you need to take care to see
it is not enforced unfairly.