Claims up to £10,000-00 “Small Claims”
Legal Costs In “Small Claims”
Claims up to £10,000-00 will generally be heard in the “small claims Court”.
Legal costs are almost never recoverable from the losing party in small claims, making such claims difficult to pursue or defend with a solicitor as the legal costs can quickly rise to be more than the claim itself. The same costs rule applies to the claimant and the defendant.
NB you get your Court fees back from the other party if you are successful.
Our cost effective fees solve this problem, by giving you as a Litigant In Person the help and support of a professional litigation lawyer at a price that wont break the bank!
Litigant In Person?
There are only two people in the whole world who can take legal action for you – one is a solicitor, the other is you!
If you take legal action yourself, whether as a claimant or a defendant, you are a Litigant In Person. An individual, a partner in a partnership and a limited company can all be Litigants In Person for their enterprises. Whereas a solicitor is authorised by law to act as your agent to take decisions for you in litigation, as a Litigant In Person you are in charge, and you will make the decisions on the “conduct of litigation”.
This of course is all very well if you know the law and understand how to prepare the required documents, you are familiar with the legal process, the rules of litigation and what can and must not be done.
It is also all very well if you are able to divorce yourself from your inevitable personal and emotional attachment to the dispute and see it clearly and only in legal terms. Many commercial legal actions undertaken by Litigants In Person suffer badly on this account, being brought or defended ineffectively!
This is where we come in.
What Can You Expect From Us?
We aim to deliver you a service that is as close as possible to that of a solicitor, so that you will have the best possible prospect of succeeding in your legal action;
- We will analyse your case and that of your opponent in full and examine the relative strengths before proceeding. You will need to provide us with all the details and relevant documentation.
- We will correspond with your opponent to try to reach a negotiated resolution (NB this is a duty on all parties, prior to and throughout litigation) including the preparation or review of any settlement agreement between you; many cases settle at this stage, before a claim is issued – but it will be your decision whether to accept any offer made to you and of course whether to make any offer from your side.
- If no negotiated resolution is possible, and legal action is commenced, we will prepare your documents ready for filing with the Court – you will just need to read these thoroughly and sign them.
- We will then continue to try to reach an agreed settlement with the other party, to include the recovery of any Court fees you’ve paid, until the day of the hearing.
- A few weeks before the hearing, we will put together your Trial Bundle, comprising all the documents that will be needed for the hearing, and produce your witness statements – again each witness will need to read and sign his or her witness statement.
- On the day of the hearing, we will attend the Court with you and, as you prefer, we will present your case for you as lay advocate or we will assist you as McKenzie Friend to present your case yourself.
If you are making a claim or a counterclaim, or making an application, then you will need to pay the applicable Court fees yourself, as a Litigant in Person. We can advise the relevant fees as they arise, but they are available online in the leaflet EX50 from the Courts’ website.
How Long Will It Take?
Much depends on the strength of your case against that of your opponent. The stronger your case and the weaker that of your opponent, the sooner a settlement in your favour might be expected to be agreed.
If the other party refuses to settle however, and a claim is issued and defended, the case may take several months to come to a hearing in the Court.
What Happens After The Hearing?
After the judge has heard the evidence from both sides, he or she will deliver a judgment in the Court to say which party was successful. The judge will also tell you who must pay whom and how much, and when it must be paid. At this point if you are successful, our no win no fee or success fee is payable. You will then get a written Judgment or Order by post a week or so later, with the same details.
In most cases, the losing party will want to pay any judgment (CCJ or County Court Judgment) quickly to avoid it being entered against his or her credit report, and meet the requirements of any Court order to avoid penalties.
In some cases however, a losing party may have problems in paying the entire judgment within the time set by the judge – usually 14 days, and it will make sense to agree instalments.
In a few cases, a losing party may choose not to pay you at all and simply ignore the judgment, or ignore the order against him or her. Here you may need to take further action to enforce a judgment, by way of bailiffs or taking a charge on property or the like, or go back the Court to enforce an Order; we would be pleased to assist you with this if it should arise.
A party that loses in a legal action may also seek to appeal – as a matter of order and though it will always be refused at this point, permission to appeal should be requested of the judge immediately after the judgment is given. Thereafter there is a limited time only in which to file for permission to appeal, and there are strictly limited circumstances in which permission may be granted.
Applying for permission to appeal is slightly different to applying to set aside a judgment or order. A judgment or order can be set aside on certain grounds if it was made against you and you did not attend the hearing at which it was given.
Proceed With Caution
As well as reviewing your case to be as sure as possible that you will succeed, we will also as far as reasonably possible check on the other party to be as sure as possible that he or she will be able to pay you should you succeed. Ultimately however, it will be your decision so you should also make whatever checks you feel are necessary.
We will also provide you with ongoing support and assistance to help you to understand your position and to decide what to do, step by step, to maximise your prospects of succeeding. However nothing is absolutely guaranteed in litigation; indeed this is why it must always be regarded as a last resort when all attempts at negotiated settlement have failed.