Even though the general rule in litigation is that the “loser” will pay the other side’s costs, this is no longer the case for small claims, the upper limit for which is now £10,000. The fixed costs allowed by the court if you are successful are usually capped at a maximum of £80 which means it can be disproportionate to instruct a solicitor to run the claim for you as you cannot recover their costs. This doesn’t mean that you don’t have a claim though and at Thompson Smith and Puxon we have two options available to you if you find yourself in this position.
Advice on your Claim: For a fixed fee of £200 plus VAT one of our Dispute Resolution team will meet with you for up to one hour and will advise you on the small claims process, the merits and pitfalls of your claim or defence, and the possible outcomes. To find out more about our Dispute Resolution team click here.
Mediation: You do not need to have legal representation to arrange a mediation session. A half day mediation (3½ hours), for a claim valued of £10,000 or less, will cost £500 plus VAT. The parties are jointly responsible for payment of that fee. The courts are very keen for mediation to take place before proceedings are issued and, whilst they cannot force parties to mediate, will usually take a very dim view of a refusal by either party to attend mediation without good reason.
At TSP we have two accredited mediators, Senior Partner, Mary Anne Fedeyko, and Finance Director, Sharon Auton. They have undergone rigorous training and assessment, passed qualifying exams and undertaken the observations necessary to secure this accreditation. To find out more about the TSP Mediation service click here.
If a claim is defended then it will be allocated to one of three “tracks” within the court system in England and Wales, either the small claims track, the fast track or the multi track.
Common claims that are allocated to the “small claims track” include consumer disputes such as claims for a faulty TV or washing machine or landlord and tenant disputes involving rent arrears for example.
There are a number of things that a court will consider when deciding which track a case should be allocated to but, in the main, the financial value of the case will be the overriding factor.
To find out more about Court procedure and the allocation of claims click here.