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Don’t leave claims until the 11th hour

Solicitors are not masters of their case timetables’ destiny anymore, so litigators should look sharp, take heed and be prepared, says Catherine Burtinshaw

3 February 2014

I would like to make a plea to all solicitors, particularly those of a claimant persuasion: be prepared. My caseload is littered with examples of people who have left things to the last minute then received unpleasant surprises when matters were not tickety-boo.

The starkest experience involved the claimant’s solicitors issuing proceedings on the last possible day for limitation purposes. I entered a diary note in my Outlook calendar for four months later. In mid-January, the reminder popped up so I contacted the claimant’s solicitors the next working day to advise that, as we had not received any proceedings, we were taking the matter to be at an end and would close our file. My call was met with apparent indifference, and a promise to call me back later that day once they had “checked the file”.

Having heard nothing, I rang again the next morning only to be told th...

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