Q: My father is elderly and bedbound. He is reliant upon friends to take care of shopping, washing, and so on. I work away during the week but usually go at the weekends to help him sort out his post, pay his bills etc. I have been away for over two months though, visiting my daughter in Australia. During my absence other people were looking after things. Now it turns out that he is being sued for an unpaid bill for electricity. I didn’t know anything about the Court case and it seems that judgment has now been entered against him. What can I do to help?
A: You do need to act quickly. It looks like your father or his helpers did not respond quickly enough, or at all, to the Court proceedings that were sent to him. You need to help your father make an application to the Court to set the judgment aside and to be allowed to put forward any defence that he has. This needs to be on Court application form N244 and set out the reasons for not responding to the Court and the reasons why your father has a good defence. A draft of the defence would be useful.
It is also worth checking to see whether a letter before action under the Pre-action Protocol for personal debts has been sent to him. If it has not then your father has an opportunity to criticise the electricity company for not following proper procedure and giving him due warning of the impending Court proceedings.
If you are not comfortable dealing with this you could speak to the Court staff, who can help you locate the forms. Otherwise you would be best to speak to a solicitor who would probably quote you a fixed fee for doing this work.