The curse of the self-represented defendant part 1 - time to sack my lawyers

I recently acted for a landlord in a commercial lease dispute. It should have been a simple action. The tenant was clearly in arrears; the landlord issued a Notice to Remedy; the tenant failed to pay; and the landlord locked the tenant out.

It was not a simple action.

At all.

In their 18 page Defence, the Defendants relied on everything from misrepresentation to unconscionable conduct to an assertion that the commercial office space was somehow a residential tenancy.

They refused to engage in settlement discussions. They overcomplicated the proceedings and refused to certify them ready for trial.

I filed an application for a trial date. And, the Defendants sacked their solicitors.

This conduct is not uncommon. Often, Defendants dismiss their solicitors at the 11th hour as a gambit to adjourn hearing dates.

In this case, the Defendants did not prevail.

Unfortunately, this was just the beginning. You might think that, with the proceedings set down for trial, I could take a deep breath and relax for a bit.

Not at all.

The trial order was made just before Christmas 2017.

The trial finally ended in late October 2018.

It was not a pleasant ride.


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