The Small Claims Procedure

You may have to consider taking action in a County Court under Small Claims procedures. In most cases, you should be able to take your case to a local County Court. Taking legal action should be a last resort if other options don’t work. It can be expensive and there’s no guarantee you will get the money you’re owed.

You will be able to get guidance on making small claims (whether in the UK or in another EU country) from your local Citizens’ Advice Bureau or Court, or from the Direct Gov website: www.direct.gov.uk.

Making a claim

You will sometimes hear people talk about the ‘small claims court’. What they really mean is the special procedure for handling smaller claims in a county court.

Going to court should always be the last resort. There are now a number of other ways of sorting out complaints, disputes and legal problems without court action, including arbitration, mediation and ombudsmen schemes. These are often called alternative dispute resolution (ADR) schemes.

Court rules require you to think about whether alternative dispute resolution is a better way to reach an agreement before going to court.

Information regarding small claims can be found here. Some of you may want to take advantage of the UK Government’s Gateway that allows small claims to be processed online using Money Claim Online*.

You can find details of all the procedures, fees and guidelines here or court staff will be able to let you know the amount you have to pay.

However, you will not have to pay a court fee if:

  • you receive Income Support
  • you receive Pension Guarantee Credit
  • you receive income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • you receive Working Tax Credit provided you are not receiving Child Tax Credit,
  • or your gross annual income does not exceed a specified limit.

Also, if you can show that the payment of a court fee will involve undue hardship, you may be eligible for a part remission. The amount of fee you pay will be based on a detailed means test to assess your financial situation.

You may also have to pay for a solicitor, and any witnesses or experts used. However, if you win the case, you may be able to get some of this money back.

How do I make a claim?

You will need to complete a specific form relevant to the type of the claim. You can do this either on paper or online. However, if you are starting your claim online, your claim has to be against no more than two people.

Making a claim online

To start your claim, go to www.moneyclaim.gov.uk

The online guidance also explains the process and gives you all the information you need to complete the form. The court fee will be calculated for you and you will have to pay it by credit or debit card.

If you are having problems completing the online process, you can call the Money Claim help desk at the number listed on the website.

Court Issued
Claim
Money Claim
Online (MCOL)
up to £300£35£25
£300.01 - £500£50£35
£500.01 - £1,000£70£60
£1,000.01 - £1,500£80£70
£1,500.01 - £3,000£95£80
£3,000.01 - £5,000£120£100
£5,000.01 - £15,000£245£210
£15,000.01 - £50,000£395£340
£50,000.01 - £100,000£685£595**
£100,000.01 - £150,000£885N/A
£150,000.01 - £200,000£1,080N/A
£200,000.01 - £250,000£1,275N/A
£250,000.01 - £300,000£1,475N/A
more than £300,000 or an unlimited amount£1,670N/A

**Maximum amount for money claims on MCOL is £99,999.99

*You can only make a claim on MCOL if the following all apply to you:

  • Your claim is for a fixed amount of money of less than £100,000, including court fees and solicitor’s costs
  • Your claim is against no more than 2 people
  • The address of the person(s) you are suing is within England and Wales and contains a valid postcode
  • You have a valid credit or debit card

MCOL cannot be used in the following circumstances:

  • You wish to claim an outstanding Tribunal Award
  • You think you qualify for a fee remission
  • You are a child (under 18 years of age)
  • You are a protected party (a person who lacks capacity within the meaning of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 to conduct proceedings)
  • You wish to make a claim against a child or protected party
  • You are a legally assisted person within the meaning of the Legal Aid Act 1988
  • You are a vexatious litigant (a person subject to an order under Section 42 of the Supreme Court Act 1981 (as amended) barred from bringing proceedings in any county court in England and Wales without the permission of a High Court Judge
  • You are subject to a civil restraint order (an order made against you preventing you from issuing a claim in this court without first obtaining the permission of a judge identified in the order
  • You wish to make a claim against the Crown, including Ministers of the Crown in their official capacities and government departments

Note: It is not advisable to issue proceedings against a PO Box address, as you will not be able to enforce proceedings against this type of address.

If you are not sure if you can use MCOL for your claim, please seek legal advice.

 

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