Acting for Defendant small business in a fast-track claim for breach of contract

Rachel was instructed to defend a small family-run business in proceedings brought by another company. The claim for damages was £15,000 and the Defendant business had been advised by its solicitor that it would be held liable for breach of contract, and that damages of around £7,000 plus costs would be awarded at trial. Offers to settle had been made but rejected and so the matter proceeded to a fully contested trial.

Rachel took a pragmatic view of the case and advised the client that it was better to concede liability and instead focus on limiting the damages awarded. During the trial she cross-examined various witnesses including the Claimant’s technical expert regarding the building and operation of diesel boat engines. Rachel’s approach to the case meant that she was able to focus on the damages claimed and concentrate the Judge’s mind on that issue rather than the wider one of liability. She made submissions based on a number of legal principles, including mitigation of loss.

The outcome of the matter was that damages of only £3,600 were awarded. Costs were summarily assessed and after Rachel’s submissions these were limited to £2,000 instead of the nearly £4,000 claimed.