Issuing proceedings against the correct ‘party’

If a claim is issued against the wrong legal entity and judgment given in the wrong party name, it can prevent or delay enforcement, so it’s important to get it right. We have put together these guidelines for you to follow:

Suing a Limited Company

When issuing proceedings against a limited company, check the name of the company at Companies House. It needs to 100% accurate. Along with the limited company name, you will need to include the trading address and the registered address (which will usually be the address for service and the address for use when issuing your claim). You should note that the registered address and the trading address are not always the same. People who issue their own proceedings without instructing a solicitor (litigants in person) sometimes make the mistake of issuing against a company director or owner personally, rather than the company. It is essential to ensure that you issue proceedings against the party that contracted with you.

It is good practice to ensure that you check the details of the company that placed the order with you (the company you contract with) before supplying goods and services. It is not uncommon for one company name to be very similar to another (and even for those companies to have the same directors); if you contract with the ‘wrong’ company, you could find that you have no recourse when recovering your debt. You should also check that the person signing on behalf of the company has authority to contract on behalf of the company; this will usually be a director.

Suing a Limited Company “trading as”

Some limited companies will operate under a different trading name or style, for example. This is not uncommon with bars and restaurants owned in a limited company structure. Where a trading name exists, you should include it in the details of your claim, e.g. City Restaurant Holdings Limited t/as Skyscraper Bar and Grill.

Suing a Partnership

If you are suing a partnership, you can sue all the partners by name followed by ‘trading as’ and then the trading name or use the trading name followed by ‘partnership’ in brackets afterwards followed by the trading address.

Suing a Sole Trader – “trading as”

If you are suing a sole trader, you should complete the claim form using the individual’s name, followed by ‘trading as’, followed by the business name. In practice, this will give you the option of enforcing against assets of the business that may be stored in trading premises or against the individual at a home address.

If in doubt…take advice!

As this article might demonstrate, the smallest of mistakes could prevent you from enforcing your judgment so it is absolutely essential to get the details right. You might find that it is worth seeking legal advice to help you ensure accuracy. If you think you might need assistance from a firm of solicitors, please let us know and we will be happy to put you in contact with someone who can help. For more information please contact our Client Service Team on 0330 900 8000.