There is no longer such a thing as the “Small Claims Court”. Subject to some exceptions, cases in the County Court with a value under £10,000.00 are allocated to what is known as the small claims track.
The small claims track is a simplified procedure for dealing with lower value claims. The rules and procedures are designed to be informal to allow people to deal with cases themselves. Common types of cases, include:
- Where you are owed money e.g. by an employer or customer
- Where you have been refused a refund for a faulty product
- Where you have paid for a service that has not been carried out in full, properly or at all e.g. by a builder or a garage
Are there any limits to what you can claim for?
Yes, subject to some exceptions there is a claim value limit of £10,000 for a case to be heard on the small claims track in the County Court in England and Wales. Claims with a greater value will be allocated either to the fast track or multi track of the County Court, or dealt with in the High Court.
There are strict time limits for making claims. For example, a claim for breach of contract must be made within six years of the date of the breach.
Considerations when contemplating claiming on the small claims track
There are often good reasons for making a small claim in the County Court. However some things you ought to think about before making a claim are as follows:-
Can your opponent afford to pay?
Before you start making a claim, consider whether the person or organisation you are claiming against can afford to pay you anything. If they don’t have any money, then they won’t be able to pay you anything.
Can you afford the cost of making a claim?
There are upfront court fees that you have to pay. The fee varies depends on the value of the claim, and this is up to a maximum of £455.00 for a claim that does not exceed £10,000.00. There will also be a trial fee to pay and that also depends on the value of the claim. The trial fee for a claim valued between £3,000.00 and £10,000.00 is £335.00. Note that if you are on a low income you may be exempt from paying court fees.
Recovery of Costs on the small claims track
You should ask yourself whether the amount you may recover justifies the expense of making a claim. Usually only limited costs are recoverable on claims allocated to the small claims track.
Do you need a solicitor to make a claim?
On the small claims track simplified rules and procedures apply. We can provide you with advice on the merits of your case and explain the evidence that you will need to prove your claim. You should be careful of how much you spend with your solicitor dealing with your case as it is very unlikely that you will be able to recover any of those costs.
If you are involved in a dispute you should always consider mediation. Mediation can simply be described as assisted negotiation. A neutral mediator can help parties overcome deadlock and reach a negotiated settlement. Where both parties agree to medication the claim will be referred to the small claims mediation service operated by the Court Service.
Speak to a specialist dispute resolution solicitor
Solicitors who specialise in dispute resolution will be able to advise you regarding procedure and evidence so that your case is presented in the best possible way. For more information, or to speak to someone about a case today, contact our team of dispute resolution solicitors using the contact details below:
Commercial mediation services
Bray & Bray is also able to offer commercial mediation for commercial disputes. For more information about this, contact Tim Bennett via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.