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Being a Claimant in the Small Claims Court

By: Dave Howell - Updated: 9 Nov 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
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Becoming a claimant in the small claims process means you must follow a number of rules to ensure your claim is dealt with legally. Before you start your claim through the court in your area it’s a good idea to read leaflet EX301: Making a Claim? Some Questions to Ask Yourself that is available at your local court building or available to download from the HMCS website.

When and How Should I Start My Claim?

Beginning the small claims process is called issuing a claim. You can obtain all the forms you need from any court, but it is now more efficient to make your claim online using the Money Claim website. You have two choices when you begin your claim. You can start a claim in the High Court, or the Royal Courts of Justice in London. The High Court is usually attached to your local County Court where most small claims are processed.

There are limits on the types of small claims that can be heard at certain courts. You can only use the High Court for instance if your claim is for more than £15,000 or for personal injury up to £50,000. Consult your lawyer before deciding which court would best suit your claim.

The court will give you a set of forms that you must complete. When you have done this, photocopy your form and ensure you:

  • Keep a Copy for Yourself:
    This is important as the defendant you are claiming against could dispute the information on your form and therefore your claim.
  • Send or Take a Copy to the Court:
    This copy will be used to process your claim as it moves through the small claims process
  • Send Copies to Each of the Defendants:
    The defendants must have a copy of the claim form completed in as much detail as possible. This will be accompanied by a response pack so they can decide how they want to move forward with the claim against them.

If at anytime you need help the small claims form it has accompanying notes to guide you. If you’re still having problems you can get free advice from the Community Legal Advice website or by calling them on 0845 345 4 345.

The Particulars of Your Claim

The most important part of your small claims form is the ‘particulars of claim’. This is where you give details about the claim you are making. You can also use this section of your form to give details of any interest you want to claim from the defendant.

Court fees and small claims

The small claims process isn’t free. You will see on your claim forms how much you will have to pay to the court to handle your claim. In certain circumstances you can avoid paying these fees.

If you are on Income Support or receive Child Tax Credit for instance could mean your claim would be free. Check with the court if you are not sure. Do this as early as you can because your fee will become payable when you submit your forms to the court for processing. More information is in leaflet EX106A: Court Fees - Do I have to Pay Them? available for download from the HMCS website.

The defendant doesn’t respond to my claim

The person you are claiming against will be sent your form and a pack of additional forms with which to respond. If your forms are returned the court will send you form N216 (Notice of returned document). Even though the defendant hasn’t responded to your claim, the small claims process will continue anyway as this is required by law to ensure justice to all claimants.

What if the defendant disputes my claim?

This can happen and the defendant will have been sent a form to use in their response pack if they feel your claim isn’t fair. They can dispute all or just part of your claim. If the defendant does dispute your claim be aware that you may have to pay additional costs. These could be for witnesses to appear in court on your behalf, or to have specialised reports completed to help support your claim.

Do I need a solicitor to help with my claim?

Unless your small claim is over £5,000 and is for damages or compensation you will usually not need a solicitor. Remember though, that even with a claim for under £5,000 or that isn’t for compensation or damages could mean you need a solicitor if the particulars of your claim are complex. You would have to meet the costs of this legal advice. Remember that you can save significant amounts of money and time for claims under £100,000 that involve no more than two defendants by using the online claim system Money Claim.

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My daughter who is a student is making a claim against a landlord to refund her rent as when she arrived at the start of the University year (October) the flat was uninhabitable and she had been paying rent since July which is the norm for student rentals.To cut a long story short after the council threatened to come round and inspect the building for damp the landlord chose torelease her from her contract rather than have the council inspect the building and have the expense of putting the problems right. They have now taken a counterclaim against my daughter and as they really have no defense as to the state of the flat they are renting they have chosen to make false allegations against my daughter, her sister and father who were with her helping to move into the property that they were intimidating, bullying and discriminatory against the agent when he came round to answer their complaints as to the state of the place.These allegations are false and totally unfounded. My daughter who is in her final year of university is extremely distraught about the whole situation and is naturally very upset about these lies the landlord is alleging. Surely this is illegal in its self as it is a form of character assassination and surely libelous.
Sandy - 9-Nov-17 @ 7:04 PM
Someone booked a kitten I had bred giving a £100 deposit. Before this deposit was tendered I made them aware that should they change their mind it was not refundable but should the kitten not be available I would refund in full The deposit was paid and a few weeks later I decided the pending home was not suitable and so refunded the deposit. The purchaser is now taking Small Claims action against me for breech of contract and compensation How do I stand
bubba - 24-Apr-17 @ 2:17 PM
Hi, My car was recently driven into (whilst parked) by a third party who admitted liability at the scene and offered to pay for the damages. I advised my insurer who informed of the options. Since then, the third party changed their mind and contacted their insurance provider to deal with it and I have not heard from them since in person. My insurer is now dealing with the vehicle through a 'no fault service' whereby they attempt to repair the vehicle if possible and they recover the costs from the third party. However, I do not have legal cover and the costs I am already incurring for things such as hours of phone calls, lost time, fuel to take the vehicle to garages to be looked at initially, costs for hire vehicle, not to mention the hassle and stress. (I was unable to access my sons pushchair in the boot of the vehicle for 4 days as the boot would not open) and my insurer has advised me that my premium will be increased next year as I am now a higher risk driver. My insurer may repair the vehicle although it is already looking likely that it will be written off, and I have no doubt that I will not get the true value for it thus leaving me without a vehicle, and not enough money to replace with a like for like vehicle. My insurer will also charge me for administration on changing the vehicle on the policy and I also may incur a higher premium for the remainder. I am trying to find out if I can take the third party to small claims court for these losses? According to the .gov site I am required to write to the third party first and ask them to cover the costs before doing so. Many thanks in advance.
Bobby - 9-Feb-17 @ 10:02 PM
I have a claim going through the small claims at the moment the defendant never replied to my letter or the first court letter it has now been referred to my local court, the defendant is now intimidating me through emails,what should I do
Lyn - 2-Dec-16 @ 8:51 AM
I issued a claim against someone using the online service. No response. I asked for a judgement by default, which I was awarded, no response. I waited 30 days, I was not paid. I took steps to instruct enforcement officers, who issued a writ. On the lunchtime before the writ expired, I had a letter from their solicitor saying they were making an urgent request for the judgement to be set aside. My question is, do you think the judge will set the judgement aside after such a lack of response during the process?
Matt - 22-Nov-16 @ 5:08 AM
I had been in abusive relationship for two years which ended unceremoniously when he kicked me out of our rented house three days after my mum was diagnosed with terminal cancer in New Zealand. The week before he'd pushed me down the stairs and the police interviewed him, he admitted to the first push but not the second and they said it was his word against mine. He had been out of work for three months and I had been paying the rent SINGLEHANDEDLY he was back in work three weeks when he kicked me out. My mum arrived back in the UK I got my things and moved in with her to be her cater. He maliciously reported me to the police for trespassing when I had paid the rent and my name was on the lease, again to say Id stolen my Christmas present and again to say I stole another Christmas present. The police didn't charge him but interviewed me. He then blackmailed me into loaning him my £600 deposit so he could stay on in the house or I wouldn't of got my £800 rent back that I paid in advance. I managed to get him to sign a personal loan agreement before I allowed this transfer to happen. I tried to move on and took on a shop expecting him to pay the agreed monthly amount he didn't! I have fallen to pieces and been signed off sick. I have now uncovered more and more deception £1200 he said he paid as deposit on my car, claims he's made on behalf of me and an attempt to get a payday loan with me as guarantor. I have had a letter from my GP confirming my domestic abuse I am claiming sick so entitled to legal aid but can't find a solicitor to help me with civil litigation using legal aid. I don't want to see him he's a master manipulator I need help?
Mug - 22-Aug-16 @ 4:35 PM
My son's phone was damaged in school, a girl thought it was be funny to come up behind him and start shaking him while he was drinking. He phone was in his blazer pocket and is now water damaged. Is it possible to put in a claim against her parents? ( as she is under 18) Thank in advance
Eva - 15-Jul-16 @ 7:22 PM
Mattrugby - Your Question:
My ex owes me money about £900 quid for holidays,spening money etc and other things like paying for xmas presents.i used to pay for everythink.and he was ment to pay me back.but never did.we spilt just over 2months ago.and he said he would still pay me back.but two months later nothing. We also borrowed money of my mum.this was over two yrs ago.and he never paid a penny.he aggreed to pay her £500.00 after we spilt.which was no where near the amount we borrowed.but still hasnt paid her.and now leaves me to pay her the costs.have I got a leg to said on.we have nothing in writing.i guess I only have proof that I paid for things on my debt card.i also lost money from the deposit on our home.he said he would fix the guttering he broke.and he never did.so I lost £105 quid there too.any help on what to do next and if its worth the stress would be great please.many thanks

Our Response:
Unless you can prove that your ex said he would pay you back then it is difficult to take this to court. You have to be able to prove that the money owed was not a gift.
CourtroomAdvice - 10-Jun-16 @ 12:10 PM
My ex owes me money about £900 quid for holidays,spening money etc and other things like paying for xmas presents..i used to pay for everythink..and he was ment to pay me back..but never did..we spilt just over 2months ago..and he said he would still pay me back..but two months later nothing. We also borrowed money of my mum...this was over two yrs ago..and he never paid a penny..he aggreed to pay her £500.00 after we spilt.which was no where near the amount we borrowed..but still hasnt paid her..and now leaves me to pay her the costs.have i got a leg to said on..we have nothing in writing..i guess i only have proof that i paid for things on my debt card..i also lost money from the deposit on our home..he said he would fix the guttering he broke.and he never did..so i lost £105 quid there too..any help on what to do next and if its worth the stress would be great please.many thanks
Mattrugby - 9-Jun-16 @ 3:01 PM
thejoker - Your Question:
My car was damaged by revellers from a rave , pictures were taken and the police were called, I contacted the manager of the rave we said he'd help me get my property repaired but 8months later im still waiting - iv told him I will take legal action against him and he has suddenly given me some information about the company who put on the rave, but that's allI have 2 witnesses who said they saw my car before and after the revellers appeared stating the damage was done by them.All I want is my property repaired , its about 400 for the work to be done, but ,due to the car being off road I have incurred extra bills for not being able to use it. What course do you suggest please.Many thanks.

Our Response:
I would advise that you seek some legal advice on this with the view of taking the matter to the small claims court. You can also see how to go through the small claims procedure via the CAB link here. I also advise you to keep all the correspondence you have from the company to re-inforce/back up your case.
CourtroomAdvice - 3-Jun-16 @ 9:47 AM
my car was damaged by revellers from a rave , pictures were taken and the police were called, I contacted the manager of the rave we said he'd help me get my property repaired but 8months later im still waiting - iv told him Iwill take legal action against him and he has suddenly given me some information about the company who put on the rave, but that's all I have 2 witnesses who said they saw my car before and after the revellers appeared stating the damage was done by them. All I want is my property repaired , its about 400 for the work to be done, but ,due to the car being off road I have incurred extra bills for not being able to use it. What course do you suggest please . Many thanks.
thejoker - 2-Jun-16 @ 8:40 AM
Hello, my flatmate from 2014 has got in touch out of the blue. Claiming I owe him money for a gas bill which was in his name and settled 2 years ago, for which I gave him cash. He is threatening to take me to court for £120. We were evicted from the flat, because he failed to pay rent to the landlord for over 3 months. So I would not be surprise if he is just trying to get money out of me with threats. Does he have a valid claim? Can he take this to the small claims court? Thank you
Laura - 27-May-16 @ 12:56 PM
I am a beauty therapist and was looking for a job in a salon. I found one and agreed to join on an email but did not sign any contract or offer letter. Due to health reasons (pregnancy) I could not join and missed on communicating it to the employer about not coming to work. Now, I have received a small claim £250 because there were cancelled appointments. I have been asking for proof of monetary loss as I don't understand how cancelled appointments translates into monetary loss. I haven't received any proofs or explanation around it. Also. I have been trying to explain him that they would have to pay me for the work if I did join them so it is not appropriate to simply list the cost of cancelled appointments but they have just raised the claim now without giving me any explanation. I don't know how to take this further as n whether I should file my defense or not. Also, would like to know if I can ask for proof of monetary loss formally by any court form or something. Please Advice!
Shi - 25-May-16 @ 5:29 PM
I am sure i know what i am doing,its the nature of the claim,the judge has final say on how much,so what amount do i claim for on application to court,what my landlord done to myself and my family was terrifying,landlord harassed me for 3/4 years,defamated against me,deprivation,financially broke,my daughters left me,my 12 year old son was having to live in that enviroment it was interfereing with his exams,the house was in very bad disrepair,shortfall was being paid,i never missed payment of court order,police were there it was what words cant explain,i have very strong evidence against the landlord so how much do i put on claim form?
Rooster - 23-Apr-16 @ 5:42 PM
I want to make a claim against someone who owes me money but Im afraid that the forms will show my address and of repercussions can I ask my address is not shown ?
Sj - 4-Feb-16 @ 11:38 AM
Mouse - 29-Jul-15 @ 1:08 PM That happened to my case, the claimant was 3 months behind on the court schedule, I conformed 100% sending letters to the court at each stage of the schedule. The judge sent a strike out order to the claimant, giving them 14 days to comply, they did 4 hours before the deadline. So I asked for the CMC "case management conference" to be adjourned because I had 14 days to put my defence in which took us passed the original date.What is wrong they issue a schedule then if if not conformed to they they give extra time, this should never happen. Still waiting for the new CMC date. What was really wrong they had over 3 months to put they claim in e.g finding "witnesses" I got 14 days to put the defence in. vary wrong.
deniss - 17-Nov-15 @ 8:18 AM
Can I contact the claimant's witness if i feel they can help with my case, I'm defending in the CC.
Deniss - 17-Nov-15 @ 8:00 AM
Mouse .... Can you tell me what happened with your case as we are in the same position now and due in court next week!
The dogsbody - 17-Aug-15 @ 9:18 PM
I'm a defendant in a small claims , the claimant hasn't done the witness statement as the judge advised them to d on a set date , what will happen to them now ,I've made the court aware of this issue
Mouse - 29-Jul-15 @ 1:08 PM
Will it be her version of events against mine, the info on companies house shows she hadn't filed any accounts and is due to file them in 2016. Can she say she has no money to pay me.
Sunny - 25-Jul-15 @ 2:00 AM
I'm issuing claim forms to a lady who owns clothing retail store she promised to make me an outfit that she showed me a sample off but when it come it was two sizes too big and could not be altered cos it would ruin the design. She know refuses to give my deposit back. I don't have the dress as evidence and Iam worried she will deny all my claim and ask me to prove it. Also do I address claim forms to company name or her name cos she is the same person director and owner.
Sunny - 25-Jul-15 @ 1:55 AM
if I drop my claim, do i need to inform the defending party or does the court do this?
Against the Hun - 18-Jul-15 @ 10:35 PM
Hi. Myself & a friend have a housing contract til June '15. She won't pay June's as she has moved out early but contracted to the house. I owe her for Mays bills but due to the issue with June's bills. She is threatening to take me to court for the sum of £80 I owe her for May bills. Bills are in her name & paid by her. Is this likely to go to court? What can I do?
Elelel - 2-Jun-15 @ 7:53 PM
@KPistheNuts - it's hard to say as it depends on how confident you are about getting the rest of the payment? Stop the claim and she may think she has got away with it, or continue and she can say she has already met payments. You could get a solicitor to write a letter to say that you will drop the claim if she agrees to pay the remainder of the amount in a specified time, at a specified amount and if she fails it will go straight back to court.
Penny - 20-Apr-15 @ 10:12 AM
I recently submitted paperwork for an amount owed by a friend for £1900 plus court costs. I was sure that at the time of submitting the paperwork to court, they had only made 1 payment. After receiving the defendants paperwork, it showed that they had made 2 payments. I remember now after being reminded of this. However, the original paperwork to the court submitted was for £1900. Now I'm not sure whether to continue with the claim, although the defendant has admitted she had made 2 payments, but I've wrongly accused her for a different amount, but there is still an outstanding balance of £900. What can I do? I am not on speaking terms with the 'friend' Help...
KPistheNuts - 16-Apr-15 @ 12:14 PM
@Ela - You need to be able to prove that the money you lent your friend was a loan and not a gift. Any written evidence you have whether it is texts or emails etc, would be helpful to your case. If you can show through your bank accounts that it is not something you could usually afford to do, or if you can prove what the loan was for, then this will help you too. You don't say how much the loan was and why you lent the money to your friend, so it is difficult to advise. I have included a Government link here, which tells you what form you need to fill in. You will have to pay to have the case heard, but you should get that money back if you are successful. I hope this helps.
CourtroomAdvice - 10-Dec-14 @ 10:08 AM
I gave borrow money to my friend but now I can take that what can I do now ???can you help me please???she is 60 years old she is getting income support!!but she has got business card she is tarot readers.how can I take my money please help me
Ela - 8-Dec-14 @ 5:35 PM
Hi have been issued with a claim form, acknowledgement of service and a defense and counterclaim form. I am consulting a solicitor about this matter and he has said to send the address details of their office. What I need to know is do I send in my defense details as well or wait until the next stage. I cannot remember what he told me to do and the form needs to be in by the 14th and I am going on holiday 13th October
shellybelly - 11-Oct-14 @ 7:20 PM
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