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I can't believe it - I am being sued!

I hear this so often. Clients unable to believe that they are being sued and that this can be allowed by the Court system.

Equestrians and equestrian centres and livery yards having to defend personal injury claims often lead to clients questioning how this can be happening to them. As a Solicitor this is a difficult situation as it is often difficult to make a client understand that if the Claimant has prospects of succeeding against them (and that there is a legally recognisable claim), that the Claimant has a right to a fair trial and that the only way of ending the claim will be by defending it at trial or settling out of Court.

Even in a case where the defence has good prospects, there are always risks of losing and with those risks come the risk of paying the other side’s costs as well as your own costs (where the claim exceeds £10,000).

There are circumstances where an Application can be made to the Court to have a claim struck out where it has poor prospects of success and/or where the claim is not recognisable in law, is vexatious, ill-founded or scurrilous. But for the Court to strike out a claim it is necessary to convince the Judge hearing the Application that the claim is ill founded, unrecognisable in law etc.

Where the dispute involves a horse purchase/sale, it will usually be necessary to have a trial so that the Judge can hear all of the evidence. This is because even if the seller says that the horse was not misrepresented and that any changes have occurred since sale, if disputed by the buyer, these are facts which have to be decided by the Court and that cannot happen until all of the evidence has been heard. So making an Application for summary judgment in this sort of case is a rarity as most purchase/sale cases need to be tried at a full hearing.

If you are being sued, you are not alone in thinking that you cannot believe this is happening.

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