The small claims court provides a quick and easy procedure for dealing with disputes and claims for relatively small amounts of money. Its purpose is to allow people to conduct their own court proceedings for claims up to £10,000 without employing a solicitor. Strict rules of evidence will not apply, hearings are informal and cases are decided on their facts.
Notwithstanding this however, these are court proceedings and there are court rules which have to be complied with. The decision of the judge will be based upon the law and the evidence presented to him, just as in any other court. This means that, if you want to succeed in the small claims court, you have to understand the rules and play by them. That is what this book is all about. Understanding the rules of the game, so that you can use them to your advantage.
The key to a successful claim or defence is effective preparation. Cases are decided on the evidence presented to the court, and the evidence you present must be compelling and directed at the law relevant to your case. If you present your case in a half-cocked way, you are at an immediate disadvantage. You have to not just prepare your case, but to present and prepare it in such a way that when it is looked at by a busy judge, what you are saying is immediately clear and puts you in his good books.
Good preparation will give you the confidence needed to win, and this book shows you how to do this. You also need to know whether a claim is worth bringing or defending, and the book will help you decide – and also consider alternative ways of resolving a dispute. There is no need in most cases to quote the law in a small claim, but a basic understanding of legal principles is necessary and therefore included.
This is a comprehensive guide to the small claim procedure in England and Wales, which explains in everyday language all that you are likely to need to know about issuing, defending, and progressing a case. It is written by a former solicitor who has dealt with numerous cases throughout a long career.