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Small Claims Court and Procedure

Most claims do not reach trial as litigation should be used as a last resort. If the amount claimed is less than £5000, it will end in the small claims court.

We specialise in helping clients fight claims. Litigation can be expensive. Our fixed fee service means we can provide a cost effective service before proceedings have commenced.

Small Claims Court Procedure

The ‘small claims court’ refers to a special procedure for handling claims in the County Court. The disputed amount should not exceed £5000 and will usually be concerned with faulty goods or workmanship, accident claims, ownership of goods, landlord/tenant matters such as repairs, deposits and rent arrears, but not possession. A solicitor is not usually involved.

If a claim has been issued against you through the County Court, you will receive a claim form and a response pack. You must reply with 14 days. Once the judge has information from both parties, he/she will decide if the small claim procedure is appropriate. In the meantime, you can still talk to the other party and try to settle your differences. You may also be given the chance to use the court’s free mediation service.

Some claims can be made and defended online using Money Claim Online (this service is available nationally through the Northampton County Court). If the dispute is not resolved by an exchange of forms, the matters can still go to your local County Court.

The HM Courts Service website explains in much more detail about making and defending a claim.

More than £5000

If the claim against you is over £5000 and less than £15000, the court will instruct both parties to exchange documents and witness statements and lay down a timetable. You may wish to file a counterclaim. If the claim cannot be settled by negotiation, it will go to the 'fast track' trial and a judge will decide the outcome. We can represent you in defending the claim or provide advice and guidance if you wish to manage the matter yourself. We will discuss the risks with you because, if your defence does not succeed, you will have to pay the amount claimed and the other party's legal costs. Your assets may be at risk.