For You and Your Family
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or Peter Humpherson on 01827 317072 email@example.com.