A small claim, is now considered to be anything up to £10,000. The guideline limit used to be £5,000 but it was increased on 1st April 2013, as part of a number of significant changes to the civil court system.
The government is reviewing whether to increase this small claim limit further to £15,000.
We can train you how to handle disputed small claims from start to finish.
Allocation to the Small Claims Track
Once a claim is allocated by a court as a small claim, in almost all cases it will mean that neither party will be able to recover their legal costs regardless of the outcome at trial. This means that it you spend £5,000 on legal fees on a £6,000 claim, your best result it likely to be a net £1,000. It simply doesn't add up to spend a lot on solicitors dealing with small claims.
The Way the Courts Handle Small Claims
A small claim trial will have very limited court time allocated to it. You will be lucky to get half a day, so three hours maximum. In that three hours, the judge will need to read the papers, hear the witness evidence and write up his judgment. It is more likely the parties will get roughly 1-2 hours time to put the witness evidence and documents before the Judge. This isn't a great deal of time when there are a number of witnesses and documents to bring to the Judge's attention.
The more and better quality preparation you carry out for trial, the better chance you have of getting the information you think is important before the judge in the time available. We know what the Judges like and explain the court rules when it comes to giving evidence.
Options in Pursuing a Small Claim
We do not believe that many businesses will consider a debt approaching £10,000 to be small. So what are the options to businesses pursuing a small claim:
- Instruct a solicitor and accept it is a cost that can't be recovered
- Write the debt off and not bother
- Pursue the debt yourself
We strongly consider businesses will try to tackle a small claim themselves and we are here to help teach you to deal with the court claim system.