and the Small Claims Court
- the costs of issuing the claim and any court fees which have been paid, such as the allocation questionnaire fee;
- if the case includes a claim for an injunction or specific performance, an amount for legal advice and assistance to a maximum of £260;
- any order for costs made before the claim was allocated to the small claims
Other expenses incurred by a party or witness may be recovered but these will be at the discretion of the judge
- travel expenses of witnesses or the party, including the costs of overnight accommodation, if needed. No limit is placed on these costs;
- an amount for loss of earnings incurred by a witness or party due to attending the hearing, limited to £50 per day per person;
- if the court has given permission in advance for a party to use expert evidence, a maximum of £200 per expert may be recovered from the losing party to cover the expert’s
If a small claims case proceeds to an appeal, the appeal court may summarily assess the costs of the appeal. The costs of an appeal are not subject to the usual small claims limitations.
The exception to this general rule is when your opponent has behaved unreasonably in their conduct of the litigation. This will be entirely at the discretion of the judge and is not easy to prove.
A small claim can be started by either completing and filing Form N1 with the Bulk Issue Claims Centre in Salford or issuing the claim online through the Court Service Money Claim Online There will be a court fee, to pay which is based on the amount claimed. A fee exemption or remission may be available, if you are of limited means or receiving certain benefits.
Under Rule 13.2 of the Civil Procedure Rules 1998, the court must set aside a default judgement that was wrongly entered before the defendant’s deadline for filing an acknowledgement of service or a defence expired. The court is also obliged to set aside a default judgement, entered after the claim had been paid in full.
Under Rule 13.3 (1), the court can use its discretion to set aside or vary a default judgement if the applicant can show that:
- they have a real prospect of successfully defending the claim; or
- it appears to the court that there is some other good reason why the judgement should be set aside or varied and the defendant should be allowed to defend the
Taking a claim to court should always be the last resort, and taken only when all other attempts at resolving the dispute have failed and not be brought if there is any other possible alternative. There are usually better ways of resolving a dispute, which will be quicker and easier than the court, and likely to bring a better result.
Small claims cases may be easier, cheaper and quicker to deal with than other sorts of civil cases. But there can never be a guarantee that you will win. As any lawyer will tell you, there can never be any certainty with litigation. Exhaust every other possibility before going to court. Write to the other side, try to talk to them, see if they will agree to try mediation – do whatever can be done to resolve the problem, and only then take it to court.
If you are going to use the court you must be organised. Cases are won through careful preparation and good presentation. Although many of the court rules are relaxed for small claims, there are still court rules which must be complied with, and orders and time limits to obey. If you go about your claim or defence in a half-cocked fashion, you are not likely to succeed. These are still court proceedings just as much as a multi-million pound action in the High Court. If you are going to use the court you must be prepared to play by their rules.
Related Blog Posts
Housing Repair Claims
If you are a tenant whose landlord has failed or is refusing to carry out necessary repairs to your home having been informed of the problem your first step should be complaining to your local council. They have a statutory duty to investigate cases of disrepair and...
Litigant in Person Costs
A litigant in person is entitled to their legal costs under CPR 46.5 as a litigant in person much as as a litigant represented by a solicitor or barrister is entitled to the costs of representation. Costs can be claimed by a litigant in person for work carried out...
Interest on business debts
If you are in business and are owed money by another business as a business debt you are entitled to interest on the debt and amount owed. The Late Payment of Commercial Debts Act 1998 (as amended by the Late Payment of Commercial Debts Regulations 2002) give you a...
Drafting a Statement of Claim
Drafting a Statement of Claim Your Statement of Claim or Particulars of Claim is the document which sets out what you are claiming and gives details of why you say you are entitled to a judgment from the court. It is sometimes called the Statement of Claim or Points...
Is time of the essence?
When you enter into an agreement with someone to do some work for you the time to complete that work will not be 'of the essence' unless this is specified. The work must just be carried out within a reasonable time and what is a reasonable time can be open to...
Winning at court. Tips for success
The best advice for winning at court at a court hearing is not to have one. Litigation is always uncertain and anyone who tells you that you are certain of winning should not be trusted. There are however a number of things which will add to your chances of success...
How to prepare a witness statement
Witness statement A witness statement contain the evidence in support of your case. As such your witness statement is critical and winning or losing might well turn on how witness statements are prepared. If something you wish to put before the court is not in a...
Statutory demands can be very effective. Serving a statutory demand upon someone who owes you money together with the threat of bankruptcy will concentrate a debtors mind on resolving matters. Court proceedings are one only way of enforcing payment of money owed to...
Without Prejudice. What Does It Really Mean?
What is meant by ‘without prejudice’ when it is put on the top of a letter? Many people think they know that very well. They will say that without prejudice correspondence cannot be used or brought to the attention of the court should the matter go to trial. They...
Money Received by Mistake
A person who receives money as the result of a mistake made by someone else is not entitled to keep the money. The position with money paid by mistake is much the same as if you find a £20 note in the street. The money received by mistake does not belong to you as it...
Payment of Judgement Debts
When a case is lost, and you are ordered to pay a judgment together most probably with legal costs, the usual order will usually be for payment within 14 days. But what if you do not have the money to pay the judgment debt and cannot pay? This will very often be the...
Offers to Settle
Court rules allow a party to litigation to make an offer to settle the claim at any stage of the proceedings. Indeed you will be encouraged throughout to make an offer to settle the claim and agree an out of court settlement. There is no need to pay the money offered...