Making a small claim
Small claims are disputes about money with a value of less than £10,000. There are a couple of exceptions to this – lower limits of £1,000 apply for housing disrepair and personal injury. Advantages of a small claim are that the court will not expect the parties to follow such strict rules of procedure; and most cases will be referred to mediation to see if you can resolve the dispute without a court hearing.
What kinds of small claims can you make?
You can bring a small claim for most consumer contractual problems including:
- rental disputes with landlords
- disputes about faulty goods/services
- unfairly issued parking tickets
- deposit claims
How do I bring a small claim?
If you are wanting to bring a small claim, we recommend that you consider doing so through Money Claims Online which is a relatively easy electronic method for issuing court proceedings. There are good and useful notes, you will need to register as a user, input all the information about your claim, upload evidence and pay a court fee. The current fees are published on the GOV.UK website. If you are on a low income you may qualify for an exemption from court fees. You will need to ask the court staff about this if you believe that this might apply in your case.
Can I pay a solicitor to make a small claim?
The most important thing that you need to know as a litigant dealing with a small claim is that the court will not normally order the loser to pay the winner’s legal costs at the end of the case. This is because it is uneconomic to involve a lawyer in a dispute over a relatively small sum of money. The work that a solicitor would have to do to run any case is such that it is almost inevitable that his or her fees would exceed the amount in dispute and the justice of the case would become overshadowed by this cost. For this reason, it is hardly ever economic for you to employ a solicitor. There is nothing to stop you doing so but you would almost certainly end up paying the solicitor more than the sum in dispute which you would not be able to recover even if you won. It clearly makes sense for people involved in small claims to run them themselves. For similar reasons legal aid will not normally be granted to you to pursue or defend a small claim.
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