Both in civil law and criminal law, timing and deadlines are absolutely essential to proceedings. Whether looking at the obligations of others in terms of their actions or considering the procedures we need to stick to, deadlines are important and not meeting them will make a difference on whether or not you get what you are entitled to or, more importantly, suffer a seemingly unfair consequence.
What’s even more complicated is that the deadlines vary greatly from hours and days to years. The implications of missed deadlines can be quite dramatic. The deadlines for making personal injury claims for example will vary depending on the specifics of the claim and the deadline for claiming compensation for a delayed flight is an entirely separate matter again.
Likewise, you could find that a claim being made against you, such as for a speeding fine for example, cannot be enforced because a deadline has not been met by those who are trying to enforce the fine.
The different deadlines can be a complicated and muddled affair for anybody, lawyers included, and we don’t want to blind you with a stack of different deadlines here. That would defeat the object. There are some general rules of good housekeeping however that will set you in good stead.
When you receive correspondence and you see perhaps that there is a stack of forms to go through, don’t just put them aside thinking you can come back to them later on. Nobody likes forms but at least checking what has been asked will give you a chance to be sure of any deadlines that need to be adhered to, and you may find that the form is not that great a nuisance after all.
If you are taking an action to get something you want whether it is some kind of appeal or decision, claiming something that is owed to you, complaining about an issue, be as prompt as you can. Your deadline may be passed if you delay.
Those who keep good records of where they have been and what they have done are more likely to be able to spot a deadline has been passed and whether or not others have not followed procedure in terms of timing. Of course, even the smartest people would be wise to get legal advice on these matters as the rules can be complex.
By keeping good records and making a note of when correspondence was sent (using recorded delivery) or received as well as dates showing on the top of any correspondence received, these dates can be compared and contrasted with the dates of events referred to in the correspondence and this evidence could affect outcomes for or against you.
By having a policy of acting immediately on all written requests, phone calls and emails you make it less likely that you will trip up on a deadline and, where appropriate, make it more likely that the people you are dealing with may miss theirs.
Self-investigation can help but googling does not often give the full picture. Yes, you may be able to gain some insights but a little information is also a dangerous thing. Most solicitors are happy to give you some free time to explain what the issue is and have a chat with you before you commit to their legal service. Sometimes that one conversation is all you need. Other times, while you may resent paying for the justice you are entitled to, you will save yourself a lot of money or inconvenience by bringing in a professional.
Here at Hallam Solicitors, we pride ourselves on being friendly, approachable and thorough, ensuring that you get the best advice possible and are spoken to with plain language. Just give us a call to discuss.