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The limit for a claim taken to the small claims court is now £10,000, which for many people and small businesses can hardly be considered as a small sum of money.  It’s important to appreciate that the small claims court is more informal than other Courts and justice is relatively quick.

The fundamental difficulty for individuals considering making or defending a claim in the small claims court is that legal costs are not payable by your opponent even when you successfully pursue or defend a claim. If you therefore seek advice from a lawyer, those costs will inevitably be paid by you.*

This does mean that if you call Lawson-West just for ‘a bit of advice’, we will have to charge you! However, we are acutely aware that if an individual or small business has never used the small court before, they may need some reassurance from a solicitor. We therefore provide a fixed fee service, which we will negotiate with you based on the value of your claim.

As part of our service we will:

  • Meet with you to consider the case and your chances of success
  • Assist you with drafting critical documents if you are making a claim against a party. This will include the preparation of a ‘letter before action’, the required claim forms and if necessary basic particulars of claim. If you are defending a claim, this will include assistance preparing a written response to a letter before action and if necessary, a defence.
  • Provide assistance with the drafting of witness statements
  • Provide ad hoc telephone advice during the process and access to template  documents
  • And finally, we will either help you to be trial-ready with a good idea of what will happen on the day you go to court, or assist you in securing the services of a Direct Access Barrister.

Most small claims court trials take place in a room called ‘District Judges’ Chambers’. You and your opponent, and if you have them your lawyers usually sit at a large table with the judge seated at the head. Witnesses will sit to one side of the table or occasionally at the table itself. Although you will be allowed to ask questions of your opponent and his or her witnesses the judge will  take on a far more inquisitorial role than in the  more formal courts and will ask questions on your behalf to get to the “core” of the case to enable a decision to be reached.

If you have any questions about this service, please call Sarah Hickey, Jasdeep Rai or Richard Tomlinson at Lawson-West on 0116 212 1000. Our fixed fees for assistance in this area range from £500 to £1,000.

*In very limited circumstances the court will order costs to be paid but only when a party has behaved unreasonably. Please also note that ‘being unreasonable’ does not include defending or bringing a claim in the first place.