You and the Law – 23rd June 2009

Lost cheque

Three years ago I was given a cheque by the company I work for for out of pocket expenses incurred on their behalf.

However owing to a number of unfortunate circumstances, including a spell in hospital at the time, I lost the cheque, and they now refuse to issue another one.

Do I have a right to claim this money at this stage? TH

Yes.  Although they’ve issued you with a cheque they haven’t actually paid you.

Even if you could find the cheque now it’s unlikely the bank would cash it:cheques that aren’t presented within six months are known as “stale”.

However the drawer (the company you work for) remains liable on it for a period of six years from the date of issue.

It could of course jeopardise your relationship with the company, but you’re entitled to demand a replacement and would have no difficulty getting the money via the small claims court.

Tree crash

I have a static caravan on a private site.  A branch from a large tree fell on my caravan and damaged the roof.

Will the site owners be responsible for the repairs, or will I have to call on my own insurers? JM

You will probably succeed in a claim against the site owner unless the owner can show that the defect in the tree could not have been discovered by reasonable maintenance, or that the branch fell in exceptional weather conditions.

The fact that the branch fell puts the onus on the site owner.  He (or hisinsurers) may claim it was an “Act of God”, but this defence is unlikely to succeed unless the weather conditions were very unusual.

If you claim on your insurance your insurers may attempt to recover their outlay from the site owner.

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