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Make a Claim in the Small Claims Court

By: Dave Howell - Updated: 26 Oct 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Small Claims Court Small Claims Claimant

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:

  • Faulty goods
  • Damage to your property
  • Poor workmanship
  • Road traffic incidents
  • Personal injury

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: http://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.

Money Claim Online

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.

Court Proceedings

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. Now get savvy with more information on being a claimant in the small claims court.

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I purchased a car in January this year from the car shop in swindon. It’s had a catalogue of errors since I purchased it and I think it was hammered by the last owner. It’s now back in the garage with further gearbox issues and I’m looking to get hit with a huge bill. They sold me a warranty that is useless and the customer service they offer is awful. The price they wanted for a new gearbox was highway robbery. Another garage has quoted half the price but from the same gearbox supplier. Do I have grounds to take this to court
Ilovechocolate - 26-Oct-17 @ 6:40 PM
I lent a friend £15 000 in 2015 to save their child care providing business which my child was attending, with the assurance to be paid 6 months later, however this did not happen. I applied to claims court which then led to a county court judgment and high enforcements agents were involved. The agents could not track him and he made it apparent to me that he will make sure that they do to track him. I have seeked advice from a lawyer and did some research and found out that he has transferred all his businesses in his wife's name, therefore, appears have no assests to his name and is still refusing to pay till now, what do I do next??
E P - 15-Feb-17 @ 1:26 AM
My daughter took me to court for monies in a divoice agreement, these were stated after the small claims court proceedings. The monies were transferred electronically back in 2015, and facebook messages went between us. The problem now is that she never informed the court that the monies were paid. I now have an active CCJ. I have contacted the courts service and they said that they would contact her, but what happens if she doesn't response? Can I then take her to court for non notification of monies received, as this is causing major credit issues to me.
Stew - 4-Feb-17 @ 9:04 AM
Hello. My wife paid £3000 to a kitchen surface company to replace our worksurface with a glass one. Since then, we have heard nothing from them. We haveasked for our money back but no response. We have learnt that other customers have also been let down, and when they hear from the company they get a lot of stories but no action. I think the company is not able to fulfil the orders it has taken. Can we use the small claims court to get our money back?. John
John - 26-Dec-16 @ 8:56 PM
I lent £16,900 to my daughter about 10 years ago for a deposit on a house as she and her partner could not raise a mortgage due to their bad credit history. She promised verbally torepay this moneybut without written agreement. In spite of repeated written requests she now refuses to reply and communicate with me. In view of the lack of wrtten evidence (only bank statements) what can I do?
john - 24-Dec-16 @ 1:52 PM
I need advice. Before I knewmy ex was a gambling addict, when I first went to live with him, he gave me 4600 to put into a investment savings plan which I would have lost money on had I stopped paying it. I couldn't afford to continue the payments myself. It was on the understanding that we would both as a couple eventually benefit from any returns. I didn't know he was a gambler when the agreement was made and I didn't know that he spent every penny he hhad in gambling and got into huge debt. I lost a lot of the money. When I found out he was a gambler I left him. This was eleven years ago. He is now saying I owe him the money. There was no written agreement to say it was a loan. I thought it was a gift. He is suing me for it now. What's the legal position?
Kay - 24-Nov-16 @ 4:22 PM
benni - Your Question:
Hello, 2 of my siblings and I are executors to our mothers estate. Our other 2 brothers were trustees of our fathers estate. Basically, they falsified the probate form, deny that the discretionary trust is in place, aalthough they did not close it, and caused thousands of pounds of inheritance tax to be paid by our mother's estate. They have also caused further financial loss due to their dishonesty, and a huge solicitor's fees due to them hiding information and lying, so causing so much work before our mother's probate could be applied for. Would we be able to sue them in the small claims court, bringing a collective action, amounting to £12,000 each, so £36,000 in total. Thank you for any advice. It seems that our crooked brothers will, again, get away with lying and cheating.

Our Response:
You would need to seek legal advice regarding this, and be able to prove it in order to have a case.
CourtroomAdvice - 7-Oct-16 @ 10:14 AM
Hello, 2 of my siblings and I are executors to our mothers estate.Our other 2 brothers were trustees of our fathers estate. Basically, they falsified the probate form, deny that the discretionary trust is in place, aalthough they did not close it, and caused thousands of pounds of inheritance tax to be paid by our mother's estate.They have also caused further financial loss due to their dishonesty, and a huge solicitor's fees due to them hiding information and lying, socausing so much work before our mother's probate could be applied for. Would we be able to sue them in the small claims court, bringing a collective action, amounting to £12,000 each, so £36,000 in total. Thank you for any advice.It seems that our crooked brothers will, again, get away with lying and cheating.
benni - 6-Oct-16 @ 12:08 PM
Neighbours 4yr old damaged my car she is refusing to pay only offering a nominal sum for damage which will leave me out of pocket what can I do ?
Rach - 1-Oct-16 @ 10:32 AM
RICHIE - Your Question:
My wife left me and her stepson aged 13 in February 2016. She had £12000 in her bank at the time she left. She knew I was in debt on my credit card and didnt help out, she just paid a set amount for board and lodgings every month for the 9 years we were married, the amount never changed. Can I claim for half of what she had at the time she left. We are not divorced I am disabled and on benefits.

Our Response:
You would have to seek legal advice regarding this. Much depends on whether you own your house etc (as she would be entitled to claim) and what other assets you own between you. However, be aware that it will cost to bring the matter to court. If you are dissolving the marriage, you would be better negotiating the joint-asset pot between you.
CourtroomAdvice - 27-Sep-16 @ 12:37 PM
My wife left me and her stepson aged 13 in February 2016. She had £12000 in her bank at the time she left. She knew I was in debt on my credit card and didnt help out, she just paid a set amount for board and lodgings every month for the 9 years we were married, the amount never changed. Can i claim for half of what she had at the time she left. We are not divorced I am disabled and on benefits..
RICHIE - 26-Sep-16 @ 5:07 PM
Kidders - Your Question:
During a recent parking space dispute, my neighbour has lashed out and thumped the bonnet of my vehicle several times, enough to dent the bonnet. Luckily, I had CCTV fitted and after much denial he eventually admitted he was in the wrong and the Police issued him a Caution. The Police say that as my neighbour is on benefits it would be difficult for them to force him to pay for the damage caused to my vehicle.Can I pursue him through the Small Claims Court?Many thanks

Our Response:
You can pursue him through the small claims court, but in order to do so you would need to be sure that you would win and that your neighbour (as the police say) can pay. If your neighbour is on benefits, then it may be difficult for the courts to extract any significant sum of money from him and you may end up being out of pocket yourself. I suggest you take some initial legal advice.
CourtroomAdvice - 7-Sep-16 @ 12:30 PM
During a recent parking space dispute, my neighbour has lashed out and thumped the bonnet of my vehicle several times, enough to dent the bonnet. Luckily, I had CCTV fitted and after much denial he eventually admitted he was in the wrong and the Police issued him a Caution. The Police say that as my neighbour is on benefits it would be difficult for them to force him to pay for the damage caused to my vehicle. Can I pursue him through the Small Claims Court? Many thanks
Kidders - 6-Sep-16 @ 6:25 PM
Hi I bought a car from a private seller, item described as mint, and got screen prints to say this, plus he stated it won't let me down. One day after buying radiator leaks, found a hole £150 Four weeks after buying new can belt and fluids and mechanic now says clutch is going £450 for both. Tried messaging seller no reply. Can I take to small claims?
Yesguy1971 - 6-Sep-16 @ 7:44 AM
After living with several people in a shared house I now have the last lot of gas/ electricity/ water and council tax bills left to pay. Two of the tenants are refusing to pay their share. (We have now all moved out of the house). If I pay their share of the bills can I then claim it back in later in court?
ELC - 3-Sep-16 @ 1:37 PM
@Elliebarn - it would be still the company that would be responsible if that person is working for them. It is up to the company to discipline the manager if the manager has worked outside the company's authorisation.
PaulO - 25-Aug-16 @ 10:01 AM
Hi, can you take a specific individual in a company, say a sales manager to small claims court, rather than the company, if they are proven to have made agreements with you outside the company's authorisation to do so?
Elliebarn - 24-Aug-16 @ 3:10 AM
@Delboy44 - yes they can but if they lose or win it will be costly!
Angie^% - 19-Aug-16 @ 10:24 AM
Hi I am a Claimant and have gone through money claims Direct and now I am in court next week[Wednesday] I am claiming for incorrect maintenance work caried out on my car that cost me just under £5000. I am representing myself and today the defendants Solicitor has asked was me was the copy of the Trial bundle OK to send to the court ? and if yes she would also send to their Barrister !! Would a Barrister represent a company in the Small claims court ? This seems very extreme. Thanks for any help given.
Delboy44 - 18-Aug-16 @ 11:13 AM
I have put in a small claim against my X husband I left with nothing with my 1 year old. I have tried everything to get my stuff back. I had nothing apart from 2 outfits and some clothes for my daughter. I have now put on a claim. Can someone explain what are my chances of getting anything.how should I gather my evidence as all my receipts are on his house.o have printed bank statements and online orders. I'm so stressed can. Someone plz help me thanks
Shugz - 16-Aug-16 @ 11:29 AM
Can you use the small claims court to try collect unpaid child maintenance arrears from a non compliant parent? The new child maintenance service does not seem to be fit for purpose
Mat - 10-Aug-16 @ 2:41 PM
Wayne - Your Question:
I recently purchased a house which had been fully renovated. I spotted some damp in the property prior to purchasing it and this was pointed out in a survey. The seller stated he would have the damp work rectified. A few months down the line and the damp is back. I have contacted the company who completed the damp work who said the seller did not take their advice and only done part of the work and wanted to rush the work through. The seller has been dishonest with me , can I make a claim in the small claims court for the work the seller stated they would carry out. The seller stated this through email through our respective solicitors.

Our Response:
Yes, you can certainly make a claim if the seller did not keep to the work listed in the survey. I would begin speaking to your former conveyancing solicitor who should be able to advise further. Your solicitor may suggest you claim for the added inconvenience caused also.
CourtroomAdvice - 8-Aug-16 @ 11:52 AM
I recently purchased a house which had been fully renovated. I spotted some damp in the property prior to purchasing it and this was pointed out in a survey. The seller stated he would have the damp work rectified. A few months down the line and the damp is back. I have contacted the company who completed the damp work who said the seller did not take their advice and only done part of the work and wanted to rush the work through. The seller has been dishonest with me , can i make a claim in the small claims court for the work the seller stated they would carry out. The seller stated this through email through our respective solicitors .
Wayne - 7-Aug-16 @ 12:19 PM
cdj - Your Question:
I purchased a Stoves oven grill, hob and cooker hood through Appliance Direct 18 months ago and in that time we have had constant issues with each of the appliances. We have had 10+ calls, approximately 8 engineer visits and each time they are unable to complete the required jobs because the wrong components have been supplied. It is becoming incredibly frustrating because we have to take time off work to meet engineers, and obviously our appliances are not fit for purposes. The engineers are embarrassed and confused by the situation when they visit and acknowledge that it's bizarre they have taken so long to source the correct spare parts for a brand new product. I now want to seek legal aid to have the products removed and be compensated for the initial expense and the diet service we have had to deal with since - please can you advise on our potential options?

Our Response:
You will not be able to claim Legal Aid for this as Legal Aid is rarely available and would not be available in a consumer-law case. You would have to pay to claim through the small claims court. I suggest you either complain to the company directly and threaten legal action if the matter is not resolved within a given time. Or seek paid for legal advice where a solicitors' letter to the company may also help to resolve the situation. If no resolution has been achieved by the given date specified, then apply to the small claims court.
CourtroomAdvice - 2-Aug-16 @ 12:20 PM
I purchased a Stoves oven grill, hob and cooker hood through Appliance Direct 18 months ago and in that time we have had constant issues with each of the appliances. We have had 10+ calls, approximately 8 engineer visits and each time they are unable to complete the required jobs because the wrong components have been supplied. It is becoming incredibly frustrating because we have to take time off work to meet engineers, and obviously our appliances are not fit for purposes. The engineers are embarrassed and confused by the situation when they visit and acknowledge that it's bizarre they have taken so long to source the correct spare parts for a brand new product. I now want to seek legal aid to have the products removed and be compensated for the initial expense and the diet service we have had to deal with since - please can you advise on our potential options?
cdj - 1-Aug-16 @ 6:33 PM
Cathy - Your Question:
Hi we sold an 11 year old car in good faith believing it to be in good working order with no issues as it had passed an MOT 4 months prior and we had had no issues with in since then. A month after purchase the new owner said he had taken it to the main dealer for a service and health check and there was several issues making the vehicle unroadworthy and that he had only used it twice since buying it. The garage said one of the tyres was illegal and all the others needed replacing. We are sure that non were illegal but we pointed out that he would probably need a couple of new tyres in the future even though there were no advisories on the MoT regarding tyres and I had not done excessive miles since the MOT. He also checked all the tyres himself and made no comment that he felt they would all need replacing. It also stated the brakes and handbrake pivot had seized on and they needed stripping down and investigating and in the end needed new discs/pads etc so again it was unroadworthy. We had no problems while we had the car and there was no problem with these when he test drove and again no mention of any problems with these at MOT. Also as the car was only used twice in 2 months the initial seizing was probably caused by that. He also said he had had to have a sill welded as it had rotted right through and questioned the MOT centres reliability. We spoke to them and they said they would only fail at MOT if within a certain distance of a major point like seatbelt brackets. Again though the guy was left to look around the vehicle on his own without any pressure from us. We had also been around the car and pointed out all spots of rust etc that we were aware of including an area on the inside rear door frame. We are waiting to see if the sill he is referring to is actually this area as if so he was aware of it an even mentioned to my husband that he would get it welded. If it is in a different place then we were never aware of any problems. Lastly and the main area was that the rear axle brackets were badly corroded and mentions something about a recall. After some investigating it appears that this was a service recall and actuall owners were not notified but rather than when a vehicle went to the main dealer, they should investigate then. As the vehicle was 9 years old when we got it, we never took it to the main dealer, rather using a local garage that we have been using for years, and in fact the whole family use the same garage. The main dealer had given him a price for this repair, but when we told him that he should query that as they should pay for it. He later confirmed that they had indeed paid for it so in effect he has suffered no loss for this, although we will also be writing to the manufacturers about this as if there was a risk of accident/injury/death as he suggests, they not only put him in that position but also us when we owned the vehicle. He asked for a £500 contribution towards the costs of repair before he even knew

Our Response:
There is little protection a private buyer has. As long as the car matches the description when you sold it and it was 'roadworthy' if you specified it was. Your buyer is the person responsible for making the checks prior to buying to ensure the car is fit for purpose; this is where the old adage 'buyer beware' comes from. Please see Money Advice Service link here for more information.
CourtroomAdvice - 29-Jul-16 @ 12:08 PM
Hi we sold an 11 year old car in good faith believing it to be in good working order with no issues as it had passed an MOT 4 months prior and we had had no issues with in since then.A month after purchase the new owner said he had taken it to the main dealer for a service and health check and there was several issues making the vehicle unroadworthy and that he had only used it twice since buying it. The garage said one of the tyres was illegal and all the others needed replacing. We are sure that non were illegal but we pointed out that he would probably need a couple of new tyres in the future even though there were no advisories on the MoT regarding tyres and I had not done excessive miles since the MOT.He also checked all the tyres himself and made no comment that he felt they would all need replacing.It also stated the brakes and handbrake pivot had seized on and they needed stripping down and investigating and in the end needed new discs/pads etc so again it was unroadworthy. We had no problems while we had the car and there was no problem with these when he test drove and again no mention of any problems with these at MOT. Also as the car was only used twice in 2 months the initial seizing was probably caused by that. He also said he had had to have a sill welded as it had rotted right through and questioned the MOT centres reliability. We spoke to them and they said they would only fail at MOT if within a certain distance of a major point like seatbelt brackets. Again though the guy was left to look around the vehicle on his own without any pressure from us. We had also been around the car and pointed out all spots of rust etc that we were aware of including an area on the inside rear door frame.We are waiting to see if the sill he is referring to is actually this area as if so he was aware of it an even mentioned to my husband that he would get it welded. If it is in a different place then we were never aware of any problems.Lastly and the main area was that the rear axle brackets were badly corroded and mentions something about a recall. After some investigating it appears that this was a service recall and actuall owners were not notified but rather than when a vehicle went to the main dealer, they should investigate then.As the vehicle was 9 years old when we got it, we never took it to the main dealer, rather using a local garage that we have been using for years, and in fact the whole family use the same garage. The main dealer had given him a price for this repair, but when we told him that he should query that as they should pay for it.He later confirmed that they had indeed paid for it so in effect he has suffered no loss for this, although we will also be writing to the manufacturers about this as if there was a risk of accident/injury/death as he suggests, they not only put him in that position but also us when we owned the vehicle. He asked for a £500 contribution towards the costs of repair before he even knew
Cathy - 28-Jul-16 @ 2:15 PM
@Dave - I'd make sure they come to collect it! Shocking customer service.
MadY85 - 30-Jun-16 @ 11:37 AM
Hi I bought a car from a small car company it seemed finr at first but on driving it home all the warning lights came on. I phoned the car company back they said bring it back and they will fix it the next day I collected it they said its all fine now but the same thing happened on the way home so I phoned them again only for them to tell me to f-off. I took my car to my local peugeot garage to see what was wrong and they give me a big list with the head gasket being the most major thing that was broken I got in touch with trading standards who said to me send them a letter to a I am rejecting the car and would like a full refund they refused to give me one they said they want another go to fix it so I took it back. After them haveing it for 2 weeks it was still the same so I sent another letter for a refund they also refused that and told me if I go back they would knock me out. I started the prosess of taking them to a small claims court a week after I put my forms in trading stansards rang me saying they are willing to give me a full refund as they have received the court papers. The thing I would like to no is as they have threatened me and the car wont make it to there garage is it up to me to take the car to them or do they have to come and collect it?
Dave - 29-Jun-16 @ 2:35 PM
My car was parked legally outside my mother’s home and it’s a dead end road. A kid who lives a fair 5 minutes walk from our road was riding his bike up and down and decided to do a wheelie and crashed into my car leaving a deep gash that is revealing the bare metal. I witnessed this and the kid accepted he did wrong. I have got 2 quotes for the repair and have been told by both garages that this severe damage and if not fixed will rust in due course. I have been quoted 350-400 . The family accepted responsibility on the day and said they would pay for the damage. I have shown them the quotes and now their refusingto pay the amounts on the quotes. I showed my persistence then they said their own mechanic would fix it so on and so on and now i cant get hold of them. It’s been 2 weeks and no progress so I would like to know if i can make a claim via MCOL? I really don’t want to go through my insurance as I have a big excess plus it will push my premium up next year.
uzzzy - 29-Jun-16 @ 1:13 PM
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