Getting started - Small Claims Court

Send off the claim form

Send a final letter to your opponent saying that you will issue a claim unless they settle within 14 days. If this does not work, get a claim form (called a ‘summons’ in Scotland) from your local County Court and fill it in. You can also print off a copy of the form from the Court service website. You will need to send three copies of the Claim Form to your local Court with the fee. Details of the exact fee are available on the websites or by phoning your local Court.

You can attach additional pages if you need to, setting out your case details under the heading ‘Particulars of Claim’. Use clear, numbered paragraphs, and make sure you attach them to each copy of the form.

The Court will send a copy of the claim to your opponent with a reply form. It will also send you a note of your case number and the date by which your opponent has to file a defence.

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The defendant’s response

Your opponent has 14 days from receiving the claim to reply, and up to 28 days to file a defence. If they don’t meet this deadline, you can apply for a default judgment. If they do file a defence, the Court will send you a copy.

If your claim is for more than £1,500, then you will be sent an allocation questionnaire. This is used by the Court to form an idea of how long the case will last and how many witnesses will be required. The Court will then allocate your case to a particular ‘track’ - usually the small claims track.

(In Scotland, the ‘defender’ must respond by the return date fixed by the Court. The hearing takes place seven days later).

If your claim is for a fixed amount of money and your opponent is an individual in another town or city, the proceedings may be transferred to the defendant’s local Court. But you can object if you think you have a good reason.

- For example, if it is difficult for you to travel, or if the defendant is a large company.

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