Twice this week our office has been instructed in cases where insurance company’s policyholders have been brought in as Part 20 Defendants.
Twice the Part 20 Claimant has failed to carry out Companies House searches. One of the companies has been in administration for nearly 3 years!
Are the basics being missed? The documents show they were prepared respectively by a trainee and a FILEX. Hopefully they are being supervised.
We have pointed out that our client’s are incapable of being sued until they have been restored to the register. This is actually a relatively expensive process (with Court fees only increasing).
Due to the lateness of the instruction on one file, we requested an extension – having just a copy of the pleadings and a 1-page referral form by the insurer. At the bare minimum we needed to get through a telephone call with our new client and read the insurance company’s file (I think a loss adjuster attended site and has some background documents).
Our request was refused by the Part 20 Claimant, so we filed a 4 paragraph defence and served it with an application for strike out / summary judgment.
Hopefully it does not go to a full hearing. They will probably have a month in which to restore the company. That is sufficient time for us to prepare our client’s position and look at potential settlement. On the plus side we will get our costs of the application and give the other side a black eye (most defendants doing this type of thing will be on a fixed fee or low hourly rate so we want to grind them down until it becomes unprofitable).
Worst thing about it?
Both claims have at least 60-70% prospects against our client due to the contractual indemnities involved. If they had done the basics right, we probably would have had to pay out more to their clients!
DON’T ALLOW STANDARDS TO SLIP!
Over and out.