For You and Your Family

Small Claims

The Small Claims Court is designed to be simple enough for members of the public to conduct their own cases without the assistance of a solicitor.

Small claims courts can be used where a claim is typically less than £10,000 (less for personal injury cases). In most cases, the court will not order solicitors’ costs to be paid by the losing party in a small claims case, and if you instruct a solicitor you will have to pay the costs yourself.

Prior to April 2013 the limit for small claims was only £5,000, which meant that most claimants would not seek the help of a solicitor. Now that the limit has risen to £10,000, we find that clients often find it cost and time effective to consult us for help with a part of the process, such as the particulars of claim.

Most consumer problems have a time limit of six years, although some claims have shorter time limits so you it is worth clarifying this before bringing a case.

You will have to pay a Court fee, but the amount of this will vary depending on the amount in dispute.

If you making a claim to the Small Claims Court (the Claimant) then you will have to complete a Claim Form stating the ‘Particulars of Claim’ and send it to court. The court will then send a copy of this to the person you are making the claim against (the Defendant).

If you are the Defendant, you will receive several documents from the court including a copy of the Claim Form, the Particulars of Claim and a Response Pack. Using the Response Pack, you must either file an Acknowledgment of Service within 14 days of being served with the Particulars of Claim, followed by a Defence a further 14 days later. Alternatively, you must file a Defence 14 days after you receive the Particulars of Claim.

The most common types of claim in the small claims track are:

  • compensation for faulty services provided, for example, by builders, dry cleaners or garages
  • compensation for faulty goods, for example, televisions or washing machines which go wrong
  • disputes between landlords and tenants, for example, rent arrears or compensation for not doing repairs
  • wages owed or money in lieu of notice.

If a case is complex, the judge may refer it to another track for a full hearing, even if it is below the financial limit of that track.

You must try and settle a claim before taking court action. If you do not try to settle first, the court may penalise you.

If you would like advice on a small claim, contact Simon King on 01827 317071 sking@pickerings-solicitors.com or Peter Humpherson on 01827 317072 phumpherson@pickerings-solicitors.com.