GARNISHEE PROCEEDINGS

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AFTER THE HEARING

The decision of the judge or registrar in a case is embodied in a document, which is sent to the loser within a few days of the hearing. It is called the judgment and states the amount the loser has to pay to the winner, and the time by which payment has to be made�this is fourteen days from the date of the judgment unless something different was ordered.

Appeal

The loser in a court case sometimes wants to appeal against the decision. For cases where £20 or less is claimed there is no appeal from the decision of a judge, unless the judge gives special permission. But the person who loses a county court case where more than £20 was at stake, can appeal as of right. Where a case was tried by a judge, the appeal is made to the Court of Appeal, a very lofty tribunal, part of the Supreme Court of Judicature, which sits in London.

When the amount at stake was between £20 and £200, the appeal can be made only on a point of law, and not on a point of fact. In a case, for instance, where the judge had to decide the exact legal meaning of the words 'merchantable quality' the result of his interpretation might well decide in whose favour he gave judgment. His decision as to what the law really meant was a decision on a point of law, and so could have formed the basis of an appeal to the Court of Appeal.

Before the judge got as far as deciding what the law was, he had to make various findings of fact, that is to decide what happened. There is no appeal to the Court of Appeal from a county court judge's finding of fact, unless the amount in dispute is over £200.

The procedure for appealing is quite complicated. Notice of appeal has to be given within six weeks of the date of the judge's decision. So the winner cannot be sure that he will not be faced with an appeal by the loser until six weeks have passed.

In county court cases decided by the registrar�generally those where the amount at stake is not more than £75�either side can ask to appeal to the judge from the decision of the registrar. This can be on a question of law or on a question of fact, and applies not only to his final decision on the trial of a case, but to any decision of his on any other matter. To enter an appeal, you have to complete a form (form 25) obtainable from the court office.

Following an arbitration, an appeal can be only on a point of law.


read on: Settling

To be sued is in some ways almost as hazardous as it is to sue. You may start resisting a claim, full of bravado and determination. After a time, your enthusiasm may wane, and you may feel inclined to abandon your defence. Your instincts are probably right about this. It is always better to settle a case, if you can. The outcome, once battle is joined, is nearly always a matter of some uncertainty, and this uncertainty may wear you down as much as the prospect of being severely out of pocket as a result of losing.

Only the most determined should pursue a defence, and then only in cases which... see: Settling


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