If you’re considering seeking the help of the small claims court to reach a settlement with a company, you’ll need to follow certain procedures. Normally up to a value of £10,000, small claims are used to get compensation if something’s gone wrong with a service or product from a company.
In this guide we’ll outline the most important things to consider when making a small claim, as well as the circumstances that could prompt the need to start one.
What can I use a small claim for?
In 2019/20, over half of all court cases in the UK were for civil courts, with most of those consisting of financial claims. It’s unsurprising that so many people opt for a small claim, especially when they can be used in several different circumstances, including:
- Being owed a refund
- Receiving a faulty product
- Poor customer service
- Being owed money for work
- Disputes with a landlord
If your personal circumstances are more complicated or you’ve had an accident, seeking the help of a specialist personal injury lawyer might be a sensible investment. You’ll need to navigate paperwork from several relevant authorities, and it can be overwhelming to carry that burden on your own.
Don’t forget that you might encounter other hurdles along the way too – we’ve condensed some of these below.
- Small claims court catches
Approaching your small court claim independently will mean that you’ll incur fees for making the claim. These usually work out to around a tenth or less of the total value of your claim, but it’s important to ensure you’re financially prepared before going ahead.
Also, you might want to bear timeframes in mind. Government statistics show that the average time taken for small claims to go to trial from April to June 2021 was between 49.2 and 71.1 weeks, meaning you’ll probably be waiting a year or more for your case to progress.
- Expected earnings
You should only proceed with your small claim if you genuinely think you have a good chance of winning. Even if you do win, your opponent might not have the money to pay their debt, so make sure your claim is justified and grounded.
- Evidence needed
To strengthen your case, you’ll need to provide a mixture of physical evidence in the form of documents, letters, photographs; and statements from any witnesses or an expert who’d be happy to support you.
Don’t rush into making a small claim: it could be lucrative for you, but only under the right conditions and with careful planning.