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The Small Claims track in the County Court currently covers claims that are up to £10,000 in value. The Small Claims track is aimed to provide a swift and cost effective method of resolving a civil dispute. One of the features of this track is that, generally, only limited fixed costs and expenses are recoverable from an opponent if your case is successful. The court process is more streamlined than would otherwise be the case for disputes of a higher value, with a final hearing before a judge. A claim can be started online or by post.
What type of claims are dealt with at the Small Claims Court?
A wide variety of claims can be dealt with in the Small Claims Court, and they include.
- Disputes with your landlord
- Being owed money for work you have done
- Being owed a refund
- Paying for a product or service which you haven’t received
- A faulty product
- Faulty workmanship
- A poor service
What is the process to start a small claim?
The Court will expect you to have demonstrated reasonable conduct before commencing any court action and also make attempts to resolve the dispute without the need to involve the Court.
It is important that you ensure that any pre-action protocol is complied with for your type of claim, failure to comply with any relevant pre action protocol may result in you being punished by the Court.
Whether your type of claim is governed by a pre action protocol or not, one step before court action that is usually necessary is to write a formal letter before claim setting out the details of your claim, what you are claiming and putting the other party on notice that failure to respond will result in you commencing court action against them.
How do I start a small claim at court?
To commence a claim at Court you first issue a claim form which will need to be accompanied by Particulars of Claim setting out details of your claim. There are then strict rules and timescales relating to filing and serving these documents. When you issue a claim you will also need to determine which court it should be issued at and the relevant court fee payable to the Court to issue the claim. A claim can be commenced online or by post.
What happens next?
The defendant has a set time to respond to the claim, depending on how they respond will determine how the claim proceeds. If the defendant enters a defence to defend the claim the matter will proceed to a final hearing at which a judge will make a decision based on the evidence presented by both parties.
The Court will usually order that the parties file with the Court and serve on the other party copies of relevant documents and a written summary of the main points of the case.
There may well be a court appointed mediation appointment. This is a process run by the court when separate telephone calls are made to each party with a view to see if agreement by compromise can be reached. These discussions are ‘without prejudice’ and so do not count against a party if agreement cannot be reached. Parties do not have to settle their case as they have a right to a fair trial.
While parties can represent themselves at the final hearing, it is nevertheless important that the case is properly prepared to give the best chances of being successful at the final hearing. The Court often only has a limited time to hear the case and therefore clear presentation of the case is critical.
How we can help?
While Small Claims Court proceedings are streamlined, some parties still prefer legal support and advice. We regularly assist parties in presenting their cases in Small Claims proceedings. We appreciate that disputes of under £10,000 can be important for many small and medium sized businesses. We can often act in such proceedings on a fixed fee basis.
Get In Touch Today
If you would like a no obligation discussion, please feel free to contact us either by phone on 02920 345511 or emailing us below..