Dispute Resolution Bringing A Small Claim

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1 Dispute Resolution Bringing A Small Claim

2 Kirwans is one of the North West s most forward thinking law firms. As an allservicing firm, our success has been built upon delivering expert knowledge and expertise to our clients, maintaining a relationship of trust. At Kirwans we understand that every client is unique therefore our advice is tailor-made to ensure the best legal solution for our clients. Our team of dispute resolution lawyers aims to resolve matters without the cost of court fees. Headed by Managing Partner, David Kirwan, the team represents clients throughout the UK. With over 40 years of experience and expertise, Mr Kirwan leads a team which has a second to none success rate in handling disputes. Our team of expert lawyers guide clients through the complexities of all types of disputes, whether it is disagreements with local authorities, neighbours, professional negligence or consumer law, Kirwans provide their clients with legal advice and support when they need it most. Our aim is simple; to achieve the best outcome as sensitively and cost-effectively as possible for our clients. Our Our Client Commitment 24/7 access to legal specialists Day to day support and advice Concise and honest advice tailored to each individual client Regular updates ensuring you are fully informed Transparent pricing with no hidden costs Provision of an efficient and thorough legal service For queries on Dispute Resolution or any other legal matters, contact our team today: Phone:

3 Dispute Resolution Bringing A Small Claim The aim of this document is to help in the understanding of the work and processes that must be undertaken along with the possible fees involved in bringing a Small Claim where negotiations have not been effective. Where possible, our team avoids litigation and it is always a last resort if a matter goes to Court. There are three tracks that a case can take which are as follows: The Small Claims Track - claims of up to 10, The Fast Track - claims with a value of between 10, and 25, The Multi-Track - more complex claims with a value of 25, and over 1. Starting Proceedings To issue a claim for money, the following issue fees will be payable, depending on the value of your claim: Value of Claim Issue Fee Up to , , , , , , , , , If the claim is for something other than money (e.g. possession claims), other fees will apply. Please follow this link for further information: Once a claim is issued, the Defendant will usually have 14 days to acknowledge the claim and then up to 28 days to file a Defence. If no Acknowledgement/Defence is received, the Claimant will be entitled to enter a County Court Judgment (CCJ). If a Defence is received, the next stage will be for the parties involved to complete a Directions Questionnaire, outlined in step 2.

4 2. Directions Questionnaire The Questionnaire requests information such as whether you wish to mediate, dates of availability of your witnesses and legal representatives, whether an expert will be required, preferred Court and contact details of the parties/representative. The completed Questionnaire must be served upon the other Parties and filed at Court. In certain circumstances, a Court fee is payable by the Claimant as detailed below: Claimed Amount Fee Payable Up to 1, , to 5, Over 5, Many Parties find Mediation the preferred method to resolving a matter as an effective tool in being able to settle an action without going to the time and expense of taking a matter to trial. Mediation is a voluntary exercise in which, through using independent Third Party Mediators, participants are hopefully able to reach a mutually satisfactory settlement. If you choose to attempt Mediation and the Defendant is receptive, the claim will usually be stayed or temporarily stopped to give the parties the time to use the free Small Claims Mediation Service offered by the Court in the hope that the matters is resolved amicably. In the event that Mediation is not possible, or is unsuccessful, the case action continues through the Court process. 3. Filing and Serving Evidence The Court will provide a specific date which you and the Defendant must meet in Court with the evidence which you wish to rely at the Small Claims Trial. This evidence can include any documentation that supports your claim, witness statements of fact, and if necessary, expert s reports. Witness statements are an effective tool in allowing you to put forward your version of events saving time at the eventual trial. Any witness that a party requires to give evidence at an eventual trial must produce a witness statement. A statement is the witnesses recollection of the facts of the action.

5 4. Hearing Fee The Court will provide instructions for a Hearing Fee payable by the Claimant, to be paid by a specific date. A failure to pay the fee will result in a penalty of the Small Claims Trial being removed from the Court s listing. The Court fee payable is dependent upon the amount of the Claim as set out below: Claim Amount Hearing Fee Up to Between to Between to 1, Between 1, to 1, Between 1, to 3, More than 3, Pre-Trial When the Court provides the above directions it will also provide a date for the Small Claims trial. In preparation for the trial, the parties must organise for an Advocate to be instructed to attend the trial (unless of course they wish to attend as a litigant in person). Trial Small Claims Trials are informal hearings usually directed by the Judge. Opening arguments are put forward by the parties. If the Judge wishes, the parties may question each other and the witnesses, however the time for such will be strictly limited. The Judge may ask questions of the parties and/or their witnesses. The Judge will consider the evidence that has been put forward at the end of the hearing and will inform the parties of the Judgment reached, providing brief reasoning as to why he/she came to this decision. After the trial the Court will send an Order to the parties confirming the Judge s decision.

6 5. Fixed-Fee Regime If successful at trial, costs recoverable in the Small Claims Track are limited. As a general rule, the winning party will only recover the court fees paid (outlined in point 4), limited witness expenses ( per witness for attending trial), expert fees (up to ) and a limited amount of solicitors fixed costs (maximum ). If the other side is deemed to have conducted the proceedings in an unreasonable manner, it is possible for the winning party to request additional costs. However, this is rare and will down to the discretion of the Judge on the day. Important Information - Disclaimer This publication contains general information only. Nothing in this publication constitutes legal advice. You should consult a suitably qualified lawyer on any specific legal problem or matter.

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