If you have a claim to make against another business or sole-trader, usually £5,000 or less (£2,000 in Northern Ireland), you may need to go through the small claims process. SmallBusiness.co.uk tells you how to start the process.
While the process is generally called the ‘small claims court’, the term can be a bit misleading. Small claims are generally handled in the county courts – there is no physical court for small claims as such.
The most common types of claim in the small claims court are:
– compensation for faulty services provided
– compensation for faulty goods
– disputes between landlords and tenants, for example, rent arrears or compensation for not doing repairs
– wage disputes.
Starting the small claims process:
You must try to settle a problem before taking someone to court, otherwise you may be penalised. You should only use the court if you cannot solve the problem by negotiation.
Contact the person you have the problem with in writing and give them time to reply – a month should be reasonable in most cases.
It is wise to warn them that if they fail to reply within the given time, you will consider court proceedings.
If you then wish to make a claim, you start by filling in a form. These forms are available from local courts and, in England and Wales, from Her Majesty’s Courts Service website at www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk. As the claimant, you may be able to claim interest on the amount you are claiming. If so, you must include it in the amount on the claim form. The above website is also where you can find more information about claiming interest and how to word your claim,
In England and Wales, some claims for a fixed amount of money can be started online at www.moneyclaim.gov.uk.