Enforcing a Judgment on Builders: A Case Study
Mrs. Bennett decided that she wanted to build an extension onto the ground and first floors of her house to create another reception room and a garage in which to park her car underneath.
She found Joe Shifty in her local Yellow Pages and Joe visited her house, looked around, took some measurements and quoted £22,000 for the job.
Joe told Mrs. Bennett that she would need adequate planning permission for the job, and Mrs. Bennett told him that she had already applied to the council and received permission for the work.
She was very pleased with Joe’s quotation and when he requested payment for half of the job in advance because he would be buying very expensive materials, Mrs. Bennett did not hesitate to agree and wrote him a cheque for £11,000.
What Went WrongJoe started work two weeks later, and although he brought a succession of different tradesmen with him, he sometimes didn’t turn up until the afternoon and on several occasions failed to turn up at all. After a few days, Joe stopped answering her calls and disappeared altogether. Mrs. Bennett was distraught. Not only was her extension not built, but she had also lost a lot of money.
When Mrs. Bennett went to see her solicitor, she was advised that she could bring a claim against Joe Shifty in the county court. Joe Shifty did not lodge an acknowledgment of service, defence or counterclaim in response to the claim and as a result the solicitor put in an application for summary judgment, which is obtaining judgment from the court without the need to have a full hearing.
However, the judge considered that a full hearing was necessary, but Joe Shifty didn’t attend the trial. The solicitor obtained judgment against Joe Shifty in his personal capacity and against his company.