The law is notoriously pernickety about detail, and if you’re suing a company for a debt (or for any other reason), it’s vital to get everything exactly right. And the potential pitfalls include the name of the company.
What Kind of Mistakes Are Made?
Company names, especially if the business is registered as a limited company, are very precise, and giving an incorrect or imprecise name could threaten your case. Depending on the type of company you’re suing, you’ll need to keep in mind:
- A limited company will be listed at Companies House, and it’s important to check there for the actual name, rather than on websites, promotional material or letterheads. Use the exact name listed, and make sure you include both the registered address and the trading address, if they’re different.
- If the company is “trading as” a different name, both names need to be specified. For instance, if your dispute is with a shop called Acme Stores, which is run by Acme Trading Limited, you’d need to specify that you’re suing “Acme Trading Limited as Acme Stores”.
- If you’re suing a partnership, you’re effectively suing all the partners. All their full names needs to be listed, followed by “partnership” in brackets.
- If you’re suing a sole trader whose business has a name different in any way from their own (e.g. John Smith Stores owned by John Smith), both the business name and the owner’s name need to be specified. This means that, if the company doesn’t have sufficient assets, you can claim your compensation from the owner.
What Happens if You Make a Mistake?
Not every mistake is fatal. The so-called “slip rule” allows for very minor errors and typos to be corrected by the court. It’s unwise to rely on this, though, since the court will judge what’s sufficiently minor. It’s important to do your utmost to ensure there are no errors in your written claim.
Failure to ensure this could potentially cost you the case.. It’s theoretically possible to start a new set of proceedings with the correct details, but you can’t rely on the new application being successful. A defendant has the right not to be subject to more than one set of proceedings for the same claim, and the court could rule an abuse of process.
So make sure every detail is correct — or, even better, hire a good collection agency like SJ Collections, who’ll make all necessary checks. Give me a call if you want to know more about the process.