If an individual or a business owes you money that they refuse to pay to you, the small claims court can be used to try and recover the money you are owed. Generally, you can use the small claims court to make a claim for under £5,000 in England and Wales. You can also make a small claim for:
Damage to your property
Road traffic incidents
Remember that you must try and recover any money you are owed yourself before moving to the small claims court. For instance, if you have bought goods that are faulty, you should first try and resolve the issue with the supplier before going to the small claims court. If you do not, you could face a penalty.
The small claims court isn't a special court that only hears this type of case. Small claims are usually heard by the County Court, but some cases can be heard by the High Court. The court will look for evidence that you tried to resolve the issue via arbitration or by using the Alternative Dispute Resolution before assessing you claim.
Making a Claim
Before you make your claim it's a good idea to read leaflet EX301: Making a Claim? Some questions to ask yourself. You can download this leaflet from the HMCS website: www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk. This will give you valuable information about how the small claims system works. If after reading the leaflet you still want to pursue your claim, you can use the Money Claim Online service.
As many small claims can often be settle very quickly without the need for a court appearance, the Money Claim Online system was developed. This is an Internet based service where you can complete your claim and file this electronically online. You can then track the progress of your claim as it moves through the various stages towards a satisfactory conclusion for both parties. You can read more information about this service and begin your claim on the HMCS website:www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk.
Generally, you can use this service if:
You are making a claim against no more than two people.
The amount you are claiming is fixed, but less than £100,000.
You live within England and Wales.
The person you are suing lives within England and Wales.
You have a valid credit or debit card.
You are over 18 years of age.
You are not defined as a patient under the 1983 Mental Health Act.
You are a legally assisted person as defined within the 1988 Legal Aid Act.
If want to begin your claim you can choose whether to begin your claim as a claimant or defendant by visiting the HMCS website: www.moneyclaim.gov.uk.
Begin Your Claim
It is important that you accurately complete all the forms that your small claim requires. If you need help your local Citizens Advice Bureau has experience of the small claims system. If you are making a claim the form will be sent to the defendant. If the form is returned for N216 will be issued but your claim will continue.
If the person you are making a claim against receives your claim form, they can take one of a number of actions from the HMCS website (www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk) including:
Fully admitting the claim you are making against them. Download leaflet EX309 that explains what will happen next. If you didn't claim a fixed amount of money, it's a good idea to also read leaflet EX308.
The defendant disputes your claim. Leaflet EX306 explains what to do in these circumstances.
Your small claims hearing could attract fees that you may have to pay. You can download load form EX160A: Court fees to you have to pay them?
The type of claim you want to make through the courts could be allocated to the fast or multi-track system depending on the type of dispute you are in and the amount of money you are claiming. Leaflets EX305 and EX307 have detailed information about these services. You can download them from the HMCS website.
Using the small claims system should be your last resort after attempting to resolve your dispute either directly with the party you are having problems with, or via a third-party arbitration service. As with all court proceedings, you are not guaranteed that your case will be successful. You may also have to pay court costs, which you should take into consideration when making your claim.
Following a leak to a small flat roof, a builder repaired it in February. 3 months later the roof is leaking again. I phoned the builder Wednesday morning who said they would be around that afternoon but no-one arrived. I phoned again on Thursday morning with the same answer. Thursday night I phoned again and was told they would be there the following day (Friday) but no-one turned up. Since then, the phone goes to voicemail and despite several attempts he is not answering my calls. Can I make a claim through the small claims court?
I just want the roof repaired!
Joon - 20-May-13 @ 6:00 PM
I want to sue.a company for.taking money out of my account.they said I had.to email in doing so I emailed them asking for s.refund .I never knew that they was even going to take money from my account.then after leaving me with no money i had a huge number of bank charges.the money that was taken from my account belong to my 2year old son.so basically I classified this as thieft .they said to me that they won't give me my money back.an now I want to sue the company for taking liberties.can any one help please
nicky g - 29-Apr-13 @ 4:53 PM
My son separated from his ex girlfriend 2 yrs ago she has since sold the car they bought together it was in her name for insurance purpose we also have a house together 3 weeks ago she sold the car and has not given my son any of the money she says it is going to pay towards credit cards she took out when they were together I have also just accepted an offer on the house and she is intending to take any money left after the sale has gone through which she says will also pay off credit cards.he says he knows nothing about these cards they are all in his name is there anything he can do about these depts. payments
beanpole - 23-Apr-13 @ 9:40 PM
My partner and I lived together for 4 months. During this time we borrowed £2500 from my savings account which he said he would repay half of. Also we took out credit agreements for a loan for a bed and a contract with sky; both were in my name due to his poor credit rating but he promised he would not leave me paying this alone if we split up. We also have outstanding bills with Scottish Power for £400.
I am poorly with a mental health condition and we have separated. He is now unwilling to pay me anything and says take him to court as he never signed anything. However, I have kept every email and text message ever exchanged showing his promise to repay this money and uphold his share of the repayments of contracts. Please advise what steps to take to recover this as I think that is sufficient proof of a contract being entered into.
Loon - 12-Apr-13 @ 3:56 PM
hi, i recently rented a house from an estate agents and handed my months notice in at the end of january to leave the propety.The property was left in the same condition as we found it. since then i have been down at least once a week to ask for my bond back of £450. Everytime i ask for it they say they will sort it out and i still havent recieved it.its now 2 month later. what else can i do about it? x
ema - 11-Apr-13 @ 11:52 AM
I borrowed my ex boyfriend an expensive mobile phone for a couple of weeks. I asked for the phone to be returned and he is telling me he posted it to me but it was never delivered. I don't believe him and want my phone back as it has sentimental pictures on it. Where do I stand and what can I do
Sim - 20-Mar-13 @ 5:01 PM
I am owed £5000 from client I have recently completed work for she is refusing to pay as she has a problem with certain aspects of the job WHICH i have asjked her to let me now and I will put right she has failed to do this she also beleives that bricks left at the end of the job belong to her but as I have made it clear she has only been charge for the bricks we have used in the project,she has not responed to my lasted letter that i would take her to court if she does not pay,Unfortunatley I have a choice of spending money which I do not have to retive my money .I have offered the Lady a independant suryour and abitrate and she just chose not to responed
QuinnDog - 17-Mar-13 @ 11:11 AM
My ex-best friend is a national of uk (he got nationality of uk in 2008) but i am not national of uk.
One years back he sexually abused my wife when he was working in another country with me.
I wanted to know can i sue him in uk courts because he is in uk now.
But the crime was done out side of uk?
victum - 28-Feb-13 @ 6:41 PM
Lots of interesting cases here with the majority having justifiable causes of actions.
Don't give up, take them on in court.
Moneyclaims4u.com - 25-Feb-13 @ 10:46 AM
I loaned my friend $300 on January 2, 2013.He said he would pay me back the $300 within 2 months.He signed a paper saying this. He left his car in the driveway and still hasn't paid me or picked up hiscar. Is it legal to do something with the car? He wont pay me back the money.
kris - 23-Feb-13 @ 7:13 AM
My son inlaw was selling his car.his best mate said to him hes got a buyer for the car.my son inlaw gave him the keys and log book and off he went.he said he would be back in 1 hour with his money but never turned up tried to contact him but no sign of him spoke on the phone and hes sold it on but he wont give me my money.how can I get my money do I take him to county court and how do I do this please.
hilly - 7-Feb-13 @ 3:45 PM
Just over a year ago I paid a roofer to have my garage roof replaced and to have a door and window installed in the garage. I found the company on 'rated-people' The roof was supposedly guaranteed for 15 years although after parting with over £2000 cash for the whole job,I have never been given a receipt. The roof wans't right from the outset and was 'pooling' water The roof is now leaking and the timber is saturated with water and growing mould. The entire rood needs to be replaced. I have tried contacting the tradesmen but his number is no longer available. I have sent him personal e-mails and also through the 'rated-people' network to no avail. I do have his address and have sent him a letter but still no avail. Would I be able to take this to a small claims court and would I be likely to succeed if I did?
johnlp - 5-Feb-13 @ 11:39 AM
A builder walked out on a job about 5 years ago leaving me to have to get it finished by other builders, the first builderjust sent me a letter now threatening me with court to reclaim payments out standing of about £7,000and wants to add interest & legal fees etc. I have enough evidence to show poor workmanship and receipts to show the work I had to get done to put him things right.I no longer live in that house concerned and now live in the USA.I still own the house and rent it out, will he still be able to take me to court?
Jo - 27-Jan-13 @ 4:32 PM
I lay driveways and a client claimed against me and received the full amount because she wanted to replace the driveway with another company. She claimed it was not a serviceable driveway and would deteriate.Yet six and half years later she still has not replaced the driveway. She has not honoured the claim she made against me can i claim against her? Is this fraud? And the driveway as not deteriorated !
DAV - 25-Jan-13 @ 1:23 PM
I had an Engineer to replace my new Boiler owes me £800 pounds for a deposit I paid. I cancelled the work after 3 days because I had a unexpected few big bills come in and being ontop of Christmas I was going to be short of cash. Hes cooling off period was 7 days which was well within the time I telephoned. He has agreed to pay back the deposit but keeps making excuses why I havent received cheques sent, special deliveries, bank transfers etc. I have in formed Trading Standards and informed him of this and given himtwo letters with deadlines. The last saying if he didnt pay this time I would go to the Small claims courts. What do I do now.
Jack - 17-Jan-13 @ 1:17 PM
I won a Small Claims for the amount of £5400, The other party appealed and lost they still havnt paid the money, What do I do now?
gareth - 16-Jan-13 @ 11:32 AM
I had a light collision with a vehicle 2 years ago and the business owner who was not in the vehicle at the time put 3 whip lash claims in against me.( our mirrors only collided ) my insurance company put my premium up to £1850 from £900 for these 2 years. I recently have been told that the claim has been dropped due to no evidence given even though the investigator had sent many letters and emails to this mans solicitor. insurance fraud attempt but he could not supply evidence to get paid out. I am now left with high premium and i have spoent many hours trying to rectify this. Can i take this person to court ? I am owed money from insurance copmany who refuse to re-imburse me as i had a serious claim against me( even though it was fraud ). There is no fairness left in modern world!
Martyn - 14-Jan-13 @ 11:30 PM
I bought a second hand car private . Got it home after two days numerous things went wrong , steering wheel fluid dripping, window wipers not working , rusty underneath, exhaust falling off and many more . Rang the guy n he agreed to full refund. When I had the log book back it took 6 weeks to come back as he put the wrong address on . Deliberately I think . The car was not what was advertised on gumtree.
I got the log book back , rang him then text him . His response was he's away till middle of January .
I've sent a typed letter stating I want my money back . As I went past his house and he was in . I think he deals cars as there's always lots on his drive .
Lotti - 21-Dec-12 @ 9:27 AM
I want to take a firm to court for recovery of a deposit of £250 owed to me. I would be happy to do this online.
What is the link to enable me to do this please.
ali d - 13-Dec-12 @ 2:58 AM
My mother was using my car before I past my test & had it at a "friends" house overnight, her "friends" son went out the night before & his friend had left his car at his house so decided to drive it back to him, bare in mind he was not insured & more than likely still intoxicated..he accidentally reversed into my car causing a big dint on the drivers side & substantially causing my window not to go fully down therefore the problem is not just cosmetic. My mother told him as they were friends she would not go through the insurance as he would get in trouble also, therefore she told him he could pay her in installments when she got the price of the damage. Not only did we let him off with that we asked my uncle to do it as he is a mechanic which made the price a lot cheaper! However, it's been nearly two years & now a door has come in which is perfect for my car he is refusing to pay which is causing a lot of upset to me & my mother, can I use the small claims court?
Lisad - 29-Nov-12 @ 6:22 PM
i am taking someone to a small claims court i have my court date but i dont think he will attend what will happen
blackie - 13-Nov-12 @ 11:33 AM
I was wondering how long a personal has to take someone to court of damage to their property?
beth1234 - 27-Oct-12 @ 10:32 AM
I was wondering how long does a person have to take someone to court over damage to personal property?
beth1234 - 27-Oct-12 @ 10:30 AM
My friend and I have been friends for 10 years and we booked a holiday for next year  We agreed that I would pay the deposit the balance off bit-by-bit as I had a couple of v good wages, she was short of money at this time and she would pay me back at Christmas/New year which is always a struggle financially for me.
Now we have fallen out and I have tried several attempts to resolve things, but she completely refuses to communicate except to send me an e-mail to tell me she is not returning my money and if I want to take her to court, do it.
I have given her several chances to send the money and to resolve this including one final chance yesterday when I e-mailed her to tell her that she has had enough opportunities to return the money, and she has 1 final week to repay it.
I have proof of all of the payments I have made which I have sent her copies of and texts which prove that I booked the holiday for her. [Her name & DOB is on booking forms]
I had an e-mail back today saying she can't and won't pay me so I am stuck as to what to do now. The total that she owes me is £400 and I can't afford to lose this and I won't out of principle. She works full time and has a good income. Some advice would be much appreciated. Do I go to small claims court?
flammingstarr - 22-Oct-12 @ 10:13 PM
We had our first 'paying' tenants in our holiday let this summer and they were a last minute booking so didn't get to fill in a booking form as all done on email/text. Arrived with a sick child and promised to transfer money direct to my bank account. Numerous emails/texts during the stay promised money but came with excuses.
They left without paying and I would like to recoup the money owed ... can I make a claim?
TheStables_Jo - 16-Oct-12 @ 2:59 PM
my boyfriend split up with his ex 4 years ago but was still living in same property. he moved out of this property 2 months ago but left some of his belongings there. his ex has now discovered he has a new girlgriend and is refusing to give him back his stuff. the main item he needs is a specialist saw he uses for work (he is a carpenter). this tool costs £400. she is refusing to give it back and is threatening to sell it. he doesnt have the receipt for it. he has asked her family to help negociate this - but they are not interested. what are his rights? as she doesnt work - the tool can hardly be claimed to be hers surely?!many thanks in any helpful answers!
rachel - 14-Oct-12 @ 1:50 AM
I booked a holiday via teletext and the company concerned notified me of hotel change within 16 hours of departure.When i picked up answerphone message office was closed. Did not want hotel offered ,unable to cancel. had to travel abroad and sort out. Cost me 150 eurosas had to pay for new hotel and taxi before transferring to original hotel. Got stressed out and by time we felt at easeholiday costing £110 had been wrecked. My wife had been ill prior to departure and this was meant to be relaxing time to get over her illness. holiday company MEDIATRAVEL keep fobbing me off. Complained to their travel association said full explanation in 28 days- funny hasn't arrived. Thinking of taking them to court soon.
iratetraveller - 5-Oct-12 @ 7:40 PM
I made an offer to settle my claim before going to the Small Claims Court - this was rejected. Ihave since rejected a derisory offer to settle out of the Small Claims Court, and have been informed by the defendant's solicitor that I must not use this information at the Hearing.Is this correct?
Noah - 3-Oct-12 @ 3:05 PM
I want to make a small claim for £500.I am willing to resolve this civil dispute through arbitration, but I can't find out how to go about it. I've looked on different websites, I've been to CAB, I've phoned consumer helplines, and I'm still at square one. No-one seems to know.
I want to know which form to use, where to get it, what (if anything) I need to send to the defendant and where to send the claim form.
Can you help ?
harry - 5-Sep-12 @ 2:29 PM
I lent a friend £1,000 last year, as I have proof of this as I paid a debt company she owed money to,which I paid through my own bank.She took a direct debit to be paid into my bank every month, which is also proof, for which she paid a few months £30, but then we fell out and the payments have gone down.Is there anything I can do as Im worried she might stop paying altogether.Many thanks Jean Couser