The small claims court is a good place to settle minor financial grievances without enlisting expensive legal teams. But what happens in a small claims court? We’re here to tell you the how’s, why’s and what’s.
What are the most common types of small claims?
The typical claims allocated to the small claims process include:
- Compensation for faulty services or goods
- Disputes between landlords and tenants
- Wages or money owed
- Road traffic accidents
- Goods not supplied
- Property damage
What to do if someone refuses to pay you?
If you’ve sent constant payment reminders, and have firm contracts in place for work and payments owed, then you can consider taking your claim to the small claims court. You can consider contacting a local reputable business lawyer to send a letter regarding your unpaid invoices to see if your claim can be resolved that way.
How do I make a claim?
If you’re going down the route of small claims court, the first place to start is the Citizens’ Advice Bureau for details of your local court. If your case is against no more than two defendants, you can make a small claims court online using their digital service known as Money Claims OnlineMoney Claims Online. It’s worth noting that you should have tried mediation where applicable, or any other means of reaching a resolution before submitting a small claims court claim. If you do not try to settle first, the court could penalise you.
Your claim needs to have the following information:
- The name and address of the person/company you’re claiming against
- The amount you’re claiming and the reason why
- Whether interest is applicable
- If it’s a personal injury claim – an official medical report
Once submitted, if a hearing is necessary, you will be contacted by the court with a hearing date. Sometimes small claims can be resolved by correspondence, but if your case does involve a hearing, the maximum length of time is a day for small claims cases.
What qualifies as a small claim?
A small claim constitutes a claim of an amount under £10,000. However, not all cases are seen in court. An example of this is if a judge deems a case too complex to be handled in a period of a day. A small claim must be started in a limitation period of six years since the event.
How much does it cost to take someone to a small claims court?
Small claims court requires an upfront fee, which you receive back if you win your claim. If, however, you lose your claim, you won’t be refunded, and you will be liable for other fees. The fees vary depending on the amount of the claim, and there is an additional £40 court allocation fee of claims over £1,500 and a varying hearing fee.
How long does small claims court take?
This one is a bit of a “how long is a piece of string” question. A small claim can take as little as 6 weeks if it is undefended. However, some claims can take up to 6 months if your claim is disputed and a hearing is required.
The judge will give their decision at the end of the hearing and briefly explain the reasons. If your case is decided without a hearing or one side doesn’t attend, the court will send a copy of the judge’s reasons to each side.
Money Claims Online Guide
For more information on small claims, you can download our guide, which is specifically aimed at small business owners who wish to start or defend legal proceedings in the small claims court.
If you’re taking someone to court, are unsure about the small claims procedure, small claims court process, and money claims online, then this is the guide for you.