How to claim in the small claims court

You can make a claim by getting a Claim Form from your local County Court. You have to give your details on the Claim Form and details of your opponent.

You also have to say what your claim is for and why you are claiming and also include the amount you are claiming and say that you want interest. You can include this information in the section of the Claim Form called the "Particulars of Claim". If there is not enough room you can use a separate sheet of paper and head it "Particulars of Claim".

In Personal Injury cases you must also file at court a Medical Report giving details about your injury.

You will need to send to the court the Claim Form plus a copy for the court and a copy for each opponent if there is more than one.

If you do a separate Particulars of Claim you need to send to the court the Particulars of Claim plus a copy for the court and copies for each opponent.

The court will put the court seal on them and send copies to your opponent together with a form for defending the claim, a form for admitting the claim and a form for acknowledging service, which your opponent must complete and send back to the court.

The court will then send you a copy together with a set of instructions on what you should do next or they may fix a Hearing date when you will have to go to court and the judge will tell you what he wants you and your opponent to do next.

The advantage of the Small Claims Court is that if you cannot afford a solicitor and you are not entitled to Legal Aid you can still bring your case to the court yourself.

Even if you can afford a solicitor, their fees may be more than the amount you are claiming. If you do not manage to get your opponent to pay your costs then you will not be any better off. Public Funding is not usually available for actions in the Small Claims Court.

Hearings will usually last no more than 1 day (5 hours).

The court can deal with your case without holding a hearing. They will just consider your case "on paper". If the judge decides your case is suitable to be dealt with without a hearing they will tell you and your opponent.

The court can also deal with your case by a "telephone hearing" if you and your opponent agree and as long as you are both legally represented. This will be arranged using a BT conference call out system.

If the court has video conferencing facilities it may also be possible to hold a hearing by video link.

The court will also set a particular timetable depending on the type of case you have, e.g. holiday, building or road traffic dispute.

You do not have to attend the hearing as long as you give 7 days notice before the hearing to the court and your opponent telling them you will not be attending.

You can send written evidence to the court and the court will take your evidence into account when reaching its decision. The court must tell you the reasons for its decision.

Deciding a Specific Issue

Small Claims Court