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Small Claims under £10,000 - do I need legal advice?

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Any type of litigation can be complicated and stressful. So are Small Claims really that simple that anybody can deal with them?

It is a common misconception that there is a separate ‘Small Claims Court’. In fact, Small Claims are handled by the County Courts under what is known as the ‘Small Claims Track’ procedure.

County Courts are found in most towns and cities and handle a wide range of cases. Cases are allocated to different procedural tracks depending on the amount of the dispute or the complexity of the case. Disputes about sums up to £10,000 will normally be allocated to the Small Claims Track. Claims worth between £10,000 and £25,000 normally go to the Fast Track and those over £25,000 to the Multi Track.

Generally-speaking, the Small Claims Track is more streamlined and a little less formal than the procedures for higher value claims. But one of main differences between the Tracks relates to costs recovery. In higher value claims, the general rule is that the successful party will usually recover a good proportion of their costs from the losing party. In Small Claims cases however, the normal rule is that neither party can recover their legal costs (apart from Court fees) even if they are successful. The Government believe that it is reasonable for the public to be able to deal with claims up to £10,000 without the need for solicitors.

The decision about which Track is appropriate is mainly based on the amount of the dispute. Even though the Smalls Claims procedure is streamlined, it still involves obtaining and producing evidence and arguing your case in legal terms. Would you feel confident enough to present a case to a Judge without any legal advice? Would you consider £9,000 for example, is such a small sum that you would not want some professional help to recover what is owed to you?

Whilst we cannot change the system, we can provide expert advice about your case – whether you are bringing a claim or defending a claim. Our team of experienced lawyers can provide you with help and guidance not only on the dispute itself but also the court procedures and tactics to help you succeed.

Expert advice can be based on agreed fixed costs so you know what your outlay will be. You will then be in a better position to deal with your claim.

Contact a member of our Dispute Resolution Team, who will be able to give you the advice you need to win.

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