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Make a Claim in the Small Claims Court

By: Dave Howell - Updated: 15 Feb 2024 | 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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Elderly parents got a builders quote for works. Agree to price, builder said half up front in cash for materials, which they did. Builder did one day's work and never returned. Went through small claims online, builder signed papers saying he agreed to debt, would pay instalments, paid once. Baliffs had done five or six visits to where he lives, but haven't actually seen him sovhave left paperwork. Where do we go from here, this has made my parents ill with the stress, the house was left like a building site, and I can't help them as I'm disabled. The work, thankfully, has now been finished, by my 80, yes 80 yearmold dad, and took him a year and half!
Kim - 15-Feb-24 @ 11:09 AM
Van with credit went badbroken after a year. We bought an additional warranty of around £800 which cannot be used as a used car for Amazon delivery. From January 27, 2023, the van is in the garage. The amount of repairs is about £5,000 ,every month I pay for the van. Credit and insurance. Tax together about £550 plus. To be able to do my job I have to rent a van for £200 a week. The repairs take months, they are still waiting for some parts and something new to do, etc. head gasket and gearbox, flywheel, turbo. At the beginning they said that the repairs would take about three months and it would already be the end of September
Slav - 2-Oct-23 @ 9:35 AM
My sister was diagnosed with Alzheimer's a few years ago. I was disappointed that my nieces did not alert the family that something was wrong with their mother at the time. We had to find out when she went missing for over 24 hours and fortunately was eventually found by the police. I had been trying to get her in a home but my nieces kept saying they would look after her until she got worse! She sadly died at home. My niece told me she had made a Will which included me, my younger sister and mother as beneficiaries. Plus she had appointed us as Executors. I paid for my sister's funeral as the nieces said they did not have money to do so. Both girls were over the age of 25 at the time, working and still living at home. I have since found out that the older niece filed for Probate saying that there wasn't a Will present. She had also stopped contacting me when I started to question why they had not been paying the mortgage. I get all the bank statements as I am down as Executor. She has also refused to honour her mother's last wishes which was to leave my younger sister, my mother and me a small gift of cash. Unfortunately my mother has dementia so she is not able to challenge what my niece is doing. My mother looked after them for years so they are literally throwing everything back in her face. I had always defended them when other members of the family said they were only keeping my sister in the house so they could stay there.Putting my sister in a home meant they would have to find accommodation elsewhere and they did not have money to do that even though they were both working. I firmly believe that my sister would still be alive today if she had been in hospital with 24/7 care.My nieces are not nurses. I am trying to take back control of my sister's estate but do not have money for a solicitor. Can someone please help or advise?
MD - 2-Aug-23 @ 1:11 PM
Took my car for a MOT and needed work. The mechanic has tightened a bolt up to to tight has has broke another part and now they are expecting me to pay £1500 for new part which I'm refusing to pay for as it was there mistake for not using right tools.
Nick - 29-Mar-23 @ 8:55 AM
I sent a van for a wrap and the business who did it has ruined my van I have the pics and messages everything he has done to my van now having bills over 4000 to fix this work and out right . The lad who did it won't give me my money back or correct the work which i have asked numerous times . His reply was go to court and go legal
Sam - 27-Jul-22 @ 8:41 PM
A woman married me to get a visa into the UK, she borrowed over £37,500 off me, she collected her visa and on the way home started an argument then left, I later found out that she had used my debit card to pay all her bills in her country. Can I take her to all claims for fraudulent marriage, and conning me out of money to pay her fees.
David0l - 21-Sep-21 @ 8:18 AM
@paul888 You definitely have a case. Why don't you contact judge Rinder (on the TV), I'm serious. I tried with my ex but he wouldn't attend
Kate - 18-Oct-20 @ 7:34 AM
I have put in a small claim against my x partner i was paying mychild maintenance thinking thatmy child was going to college but turned out that she had left and didn't tell me . each time i ask how college was going i was told it was going ok she also told me that she was going to do the second year , my x partner didnt tell the child benefit service that she had left college and was still claiming . i had to get proof from the college that she was kicked off enrollment for not going to college ,as she was still in receipt of child benefit the child maintenance told me i still had to pay her . i sent proof to them but they still did not wont me to stop payments to her. i had to get my MP involved to get my case shutdown because i payed her direct pay the only way i could get my money back is to go though the small claims court . iv asked her to use the Mediation but she will not use this service so its going to court . can someone please help me with any advise also i need to know how to set out a witness statement please can anyone help me . paul888
paul888 - 15-Jul-20 @ 9:59 AM
Hi, I recently had my car keyed in a supermarket car park. This incident was caught on CCTV and I also have the car reg details of the woman that did this. Prior to my car being keyed this woman had tried to cut in front of me to get the parking spot I was going into. ( She come flying down the side of me on the wrong side to get in the spot )This didn't work and I did not move my vehicle giving her no choice but to find her own parking spot, she was screaming and shouting. I did nothing but park up in the spot and go into the store. Upon my return to the car my partner and I saw the damage. I immediately went to ask security if anything had been seen on CCTV and luckily for me it had.I had taken a picture of the woman's vehicle before going into the store in case anything happened, I had a gut feeling. This information has been passed onto the police they are in the process of obtaining the CCTV footage and they also have the offenders reg details. I have had two separate quotes to have my vehicle fixed and they range from £475-£420 can I take this woman to small claims court?
maggie77 - 10-Oct-19 @ 12:34 PM
If I have a child maintenance case and still after a year the outstanding balance is still nearly 4000 pound can I make a small claims court case.
Lisa - 9-Oct-19 @ 10:23 AM
How does my 17 year old son make a small claim? Do I do it on his behalf or can he do it himself?
Mom - 13-Aug-19 @ 7:57 AM
Tony, who parked in M&S car park... Do nothing. The same thing happened to me and also to my cousin.I ignored it. They sent loads of letters and threats and eventually they gave up. The same happened to my cousin and they gave up on that one as well
Susie - 24-Jun-19 @ 3:32 PM
In January I parked at the Marks and Spencer Car Park in Westbourne, Bournemouth. There was a car parking attendant present, whom we consulted about cost, refund from M and S etc. He told us the maximum time was one and a half hours, but that we would be ok to stay up to two hours. We bought the ticket for £1.50 and he showed us the detachable part to give to M and S. I returned and collected the car within the 2 hours , but over the one and a half hours. I have now been fined by Euro Car Parks £85 and feel this is unfair. I have lost my appeal with both ECP and POPLA, and the shop won’t get involved – although they must know the attendant. I have no proof of the conversation, but the onus seems to be on me to provide proof. What can I do , as I feel I have been scammed? I live over 2 hours away and was only visiting with my wife and a friend. We’re all in our 60s and I have chronic heart failure, so need to park near to the facilities. I presume there will now be threatening letters – which will be stressful. I would have thought Marks and Spencer would want to offer some support at they encourage customers to park there. It seems that their standards of customer care have been completely eroded. The figure has now gone up to £145 and I am being threatened with court proceedings by ECPs debt collectors. What should I do?
tony - 10-Jun-19 @ 5:09 PM
Hi, my daughter swerved to miss a motorbike who was driving recklessly and hit a parked car.Our insurance company is paying for the repair of 3rd party vehicle but bike rider drove off and didn't stop.We have him on CCTV and have given police his registration number.Due to the age of the car, our insurance company have said that we can either write it off or repair it ourselves. If we repair it, could we take bike rider to court for repair costs.My daughter is 17 but will be 18 in June.
Julie - 7-May-19 @ 5:15 PM
I am the claimant in a small track claim. I am about to complete allocation questionaire as case been defended. If it goes to a court hearing further to mediation do I have to attend the hearing or can it be dealt with in my absence with the judge viewing paperwork & witness statements ? as it would be a long way for me to travel and I would prefer not to attend anyway.
sa - 3-Feb-18 @ 5:05 PM
@Coode1 - surely the school would give you this information.
Barbv - 5-Jan-18 @ 11:29 AM
I am taking someone to court over unpaid piano lessons, I teach the lessons privately but at a school. I have the address and initial of the parent i am claiming against but not the parents full name. I taught the daughters but the dispute is with the parent but i only have the mothers initial. Do i need her first name for the court.
Coode1 - 4-Jan-18 @ 4:42 PM
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
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