Costly pitfalls to be wary off at the small claims court

About the Author

Name: Nermin Suleman

Title: Commercial Litigation Solicitor

Email: Nermin.Suleman@LinderMyers.co.uk

July 13th, 2022

The small claims court is meant to an inexpensive, fast and easy way for people and businesses to pursue claims without the need to employ a solicitor.

However, if the procedure is incorrectly followed, it can result in the claim being struck out. It can also result in adverse costs being incurred.

The small claims track procedure will normally be suitable for:-

  • Claims which have a financial value of no more than £10,000 (subject to the special provisions about claims for personal injuries and housing disrepair claims);
  • Any claim which includes a claim by a tenant of residential premises against his landlord for repairs or other work to the premises where the estimated cost of the repairs or other work is not more than £1,000.00 and the financial value of any other claim for damages is not more than £1,000.00.

You can use small claims for matters such as:

  • A faulty product;
  • Loss arising from poor service;
  • Return of items;
  • Poor/defective workmanship;
  • Being owed a refund;
  • Disputes with your landlord – for example, if they haven’t done minor repairs;
  • Being owed money for work you’ve done;
  • Contract disputes;
  • Miss-selling.

One of the reasons people issue small claims without the assistance of a solicitor is because legal fees are not generally claimable within the small claims track. There can be exceptions to this where one party acts unreasonably in relation to the procedure.

Without the relevant legal experience, it is easy to make simple and genuine mistakes which could constitute an abuse of process and which may result in your claim being struck out. Likewise, without the relevant experience the case can take longer to settle or you can lose the case at a trial. At the small claims court a law is still a law and the law can be complex and challenging for most people.

Common mistakes and pitfalls we have seen our clients make have included the following examples; issuing more than one claim for the same matter to keep the costs of each claim below £10,000, not particularising the claim properly, not knowing how to respond to a Defence and Counterclaim, lack of basic knowledge about the difference between without prejudice and open correspondence, not knowing how to draft compliant witness statements and not knowing how to follow the correct procedure. These mistakes can be extremely costly.

As Linder Myers solicitors have experience in handling small claims proficiently, we will advise and represent you as to how best to formally bring or defend a claim and guide you through the process and ultimately attempt to resolve the matter through negotiation or even mediation.

Taking legal advice at the outset can be cost effective and may help to avoid costly and embarrassing situations.

Linder Myers is a leading law firm which provides a very broad range of services to clients. Our clients can rely on us for invaluable support and dedication to helping them find a resolution to the problem. We can help reduce the stress and anxiety by advising as to the most cost effective strategy to adopt.

Paul Magee is the Principal and head of commercial litigation. If you have concerns feel free to contact Paul or a member of his team for an initial no obligation chat.

You can contact Paul Magee and Nermin Suleman on;

Paul.magee@lindermyers.co.uk and 07983 570695.

Nermin.Suleman@lindermyers.co.uk and 07525816980.

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