Before starting your small claim, it’s a good idea to write a formal letter to the person or business you disagree with, they’re called the “defendant.” This is called a “pre-suit letter” or “pre-action letter”.
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You should do this even if you have already written to them to complain. If pre-filing a claim doesn’t solve the problem, you can start your own small claim by filling out a form.
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You should also say that you and the defendant must follow the court’s rules about what to do.
Tell. “I refer you to the Practice Direction on pretrial conduct under the Rules of Civil Procedure, and in particular paragraphs 13-16, which set out the sanctions that the court may impose if you fail to comply with the Practice Direction.”
Make sure you check what the court rules are. you can check our advice if you have a consumer problem. If you have a different type of problem, talk to your nearest Citizens Advice consultant: they can explain the rules to you.
If you haven’t tried mediation like ADR, you should say you’re willing to try it.
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You can check out our tips on using alternative dispute resolution to resolve consumer issues. If you have a different type of problem, you can get mediation advice from the Civil Mediation Board.
Keep a copy of the letter and ask the post office for proof of sending the letter. you may need to indicate when you sent your email.
The other person or business usually has 14 days to respond to your letter. It may be longer if the case is complex.
If the other person or business files a counterclaim, check the facts they are relying on and note anything you disagree with. Also try to find evidence that proves them wrong. For example, if you told your landlord about repairs, but they ignored you and claimed you damaged your home, find proof of when you told them.
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If you don’t get a response or you’re not satisfied with it, you can start your own small claim.
You cannot claim online if you have a low income and qualify for reduced fees. Check if you can get lower fees on GOV.UK.
To use cash claims, you need to know how much you claim, why you owe it, what happened, when and if you want to claim interest.
If you cannot find the answer to your question, you can call the MCOL helpline. You must provide them with your case or claim number.
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If you are under 18 years of age and you are filing a claim yourself, write “(child)” after your name. If someone else is suing for you, write “(child of [name of person suing] from his or her litigation partner).”
Contact the County Court Money Claims Centre. You will need your case reference. They cannot give you legal advice.
Calls from mobile phones are typically up to 40 rpm and from landlines up to 10 rpm. It should be free from your mobile if you have a contract that includes calls to landlines. if you are not sure, check with your supplier.
You must include the amount you are requesting. write it in the “Value” section of the form.
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If you are asking for a certain amount, such as what you would have to pay to replace a defective item, put that amount. This is called a fixed or “marked” amount.
If you don’t know the exact amount you want to claim, but you know it’s less than a certain amount, you should say so. For example, if you know your claim will be less than £5,000, say: “I expect to recover no more than £5,000.”
Do not say you expect to recover more than £10,000, if you do this your case will not be treated as a small claim.
If you’re making a claim for something your landlord hasn’t repaired, the maximum amount you can get for small claims is £1,000. In this situation you should say: “I no longer expect to recover. than £1,000.
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You can also claim the fixed costs of having a lawyer complete the form and send it to the court for you; you cannot claim other legal costs.
You must include the interest claim in the “Cost” section; check out how to calculate interest on GOV.UK. To claim interest, use the following wording: “The plaintiff claims interest under section 69 of the District Courts Act 1984 at the rate of 8 per cent per annum.”
You must sign the form. If you are filling out the form online, enter your name in the “signature” box.
Money Claims automatically adds the fee to your claim. When the court processes your claim, it will be displayed as a PDF that you can save or print. You can access it at any time by logging into your account.
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MCOL will calculate the correct fee for you based on how much you claim. You will be asked for your credit or debit card details.
Keep a copy of your form and make one copy for the court and one copy for each defendant. The address to send your form to is different depending on whether you’re claiming just for money or for something else, such as repairs.
If you are only asking for money, send the original and copies to the court and the defendants.
If you have filled out a paper form and are asking for money and something else, such as a repair order, send it to your local county court. Find your local county courthouse.
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The court will send a copy of your claim form to the defendant. If you submitted your claim on paper or through MCOL, the respondent must notify you that they have received your claim within 14 days by sending a reply or a form called an ‘acknowledgement of service’.
If they send you a confirmation of service, they have 28 days to send you a response. The 28 days start from when they receive your claim details.
If you used money claims, the defendant has 19 days from the date of filing the claim. If they need longer, they should tell the court. The maximum they can have is 33 days.
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The court may decide that you won because the defendant did not answer. Ask the court for a “default judgment.” You may request a default judgment by:
If you used a money order, you can also use it to request a default judgment if the defendant has not responded and the deadline for their response has passed.
This is called “claim protection”. They must explain why they disagree with your claim in a document called their ‘defence’. They usually have to send their defense to court within 14 days of receiving your claim (or 28 days if they send you a confirmation of service). The court will send you a copy.
If you used money orders, they have 19 days from the time you file your claim, or 33 days if the court has given them more time.
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The court will send you a form to help them decide when the hearing should be. This is called a “directions questionnaire”. Use it to let them know about your busy days, such as vacations or hospital appointments. Make sure you send it back on time.
You must also say whether you want the hearing to be held in a particular district court, for example because you or one of your witnesses has a disability. Find your nearest county courthouse. Usually, the hearing will take place in the county court nearest to the defendant, but the judge will consider moving it if there is good reason to do so.
There may not be a hearing if you and the defendant agree that the court can decide the claim without one. In this case, the judge will make a decision based on your claim and the defendant’s defense, and neither of you will have to go to court or give additional evidence.
The court will ask if you want to use its free mediation service to try to resolve your dispute. A person called a mediator will try to help you and the defendant reach an agreement. They will not take sides. Mediation can be done over the phone.
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It is a good idea to try mediation because it can save you time and money. if you and the defendant agree, you do not have to go to court or pay the hearing fee.
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