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  • FIRST POST
    • MSE Amy
    • By MSE Amy 23rd Apr 13, 5:21 PM
    • 28Posts
    • 36Thanks
    MSE Amy
    Small Claims Court guide
    • #1
    • 23rd Apr 13, 5:21 PM
    Small Claims Court guide 23rd Apr 13 at 5:21 PM

    Click reply below to discuss. If you haven’t already, join the forum to reply. If you aren’t sure how it all works, read our New to Forum? Intro Guide.
    Last edited by MSE Amy; 18-09-2015 at 10:08 AM.
Page 1
  • dancingzen
    • #2
    • 24th Apr 13, 2:49 PM
    • #2
    • 24th Apr 13, 2:49 PM
    What about the pre-action protocols? do they still have to be used?
    • unholyangel
    • By unholyangel 24th Apr 13, 3:10 PM
    • 13,620 Posts
    • 10,981 Thanks
    unholyangel
    • #3
    • 24th Apr 13, 3:10 PM
    • #3
    • 24th Apr 13, 3:10 PM
    What about the pre-action protocols? do they still have to be used?
    Originally posted by dancingzen
    Possibly covered by this part of the guide?

    Going to court should be a last resort
    Court action shouldn't be your first attempt to get redress. You must be able to show that you have tried to settle a claim before taking court action - if you can't, the court may penalise you.

    The court will expect you to have already made your claim in writing, giving the other person a reasonable amount of time to reply (you should specify a time limit in your complaint letter). You should also warn them that you'll take court action if they fail to reply within the given time. You never know, just saying this may be the kick up the bum they need to cough up.

    Don't rule out mediation before it gets to this stage. Sometimes even if you start a claim, the court might refer your case to a mediator. But don't worry, if you settle out of court before the hearing, you may be able to get some of your court fees refunded.
    Money doesn't solve poverty.....it creates it.
  • djprince1
    • #4
    • 24th Apr 13, 4:45 PM
    • #4
    • 24th Apr 13, 4:45 PM
    I had a negative experience with a garage repair. They charged for 2 visits and didn't fix the car. I went through the whole process and filed everything on time and correct with the Court. The other side only responded after the last deadline and a week before the hearing date by informing me they had employed a Silk to defend them.
    The Judge hadn't read any of the documents and didn't take into account their poor behaviour. He said the car could have developed 2 different faults (with identical symptoms), so he let them off. He didn't award any costs.
    I was absolutely dumbfounded because all the advice Trading Standards gave me about consumer protection was stood on its head by the Judge, who demanded technical proof of incompetence.
    I really think you need a lawyer's help to have any chance of winning.
  • emmalloyds
    • #5
    • 24th Apr 13, 6:16 PM
    • #5
    • 24th Apr 13, 6:16 PM
    About 10 years ago i took a lanndlord to court for my 1500 deposit and won-never got a penny ??apparently no way to enforce so waste of time..or has this now changed and if so can i apply again?
  • Dogger69
    • #6
    • 24th Apr 13, 6:29 PM
    • #6
    • 24th Apr 13, 6:29 PM
    I had a negative experience with a garage repair. They charged for 2 visits and didn't fix the car. I went through the whole process and filed everything on time and correct with the Court. The other side only responded after the last deadline and a week before the hearing date by informing me they had employed a Silk to defend them.
    The Judge hadn't read any of the documents and didn't take into account their poor behaviour. He said the car could have developed 2 different faults (with identical symptoms), so he let them off. He didn't award any costs.
    I was absolutely dumbfounded because all the advice Trading Standards gave me about consumer protection was stood on its head by the Judge, who demanded technical proof of incompetence.
    I really think you need a lawyer's help to have any chance of winning.
    Originally posted by djprince1
    Many cases are won by individuals acting alone.

    Was this a high value claim? It would surprise me if a garage would instruct a barrister for a small claims case - their costs would be more than most claims.
    • Robin Davies
    • By Robin Davies 24th Apr 13, 6:53 PM
    • 28 Posts
    • 26 Thanks
    Robin Davies
    • #7
    • 24th Apr 13, 6:53 PM
    Some hints from one who's been there, and won.
    • #7
    • 24th Apr 13, 6:53 PM
    I'm delighted Martin is providing help on this matter, because it can be very daunting. The first thing you have to do is learn the process, and the best way is to go in person, if you possibly can, to the office at your local county court. Over the counter you can talk to a clerk. They cannot give you any legal advice, but they can give you all the leaflets, which are fairly easy to understand, and answer any question you have on how and when things are done. If they can't tell you, they will ask you to write it down, send it to them in a letter, and they will place the letter before a judge and get a reply for you. If at all possible deliver all documents to the court in person. My local court has a through-the-wall letter box so one can deliver out-of-hours. If something goes missing in the post, the court can time out and take automatic action, possibly against you. Of course you can apply for that to be reversed, but it just adds to the hassle and stress. You cannot be too well organised. Acting as my wife's 'lay representative' and presenting her case in court for her, I found myself up against no less than a barrister, hired by the defendant. You must be able to answer any question and produce any document or quote or item of evidence quickly. The more preparation you do, the more likely you are to succeed. Keep your eye on the Judge. If the Judge is writing, keep quiet. Only when the Judge looks up, should you continue what you were saying. Finally, write the word 'REASONABLE' in big letters on something you treasure and see often. Everything you do, say, or indeed even think, must be seen by the Judge as being reasonable in the circumstances. And it must also be seen to be relevant. Judges hate court time being wasted, so settle out-of-court if you can; you should be prepared to accept any REASONABLE proposal from the opposition. Be sure of your preparation, be REASONABLE at all times and you will not get too scared in court. Remember what Gary Player said ... "The more I practice, the luckier I get".
    • unholyangel
    • By unholyangel 24th Apr 13, 7:03 PM
    • 13,620 Posts
    • 10,981 Thanks
    unholyangel
    • #8
    • 24th Apr 13, 7:03 PM
    • #8
    • 24th Apr 13, 7:03 PM
    About 10 years ago i took a lanndlord to court for my 1500 deposit and won-never got a penny ??apparently no way to enforce so waste of time..or has this now changed and if so can i apply again?
    Originally posted by emmalloyds
    Did you have the judgement enforced?
    Money doesn't solve poverty.....it creates it.
    • Equaliser123
    • By Equaliser123 24th Apr 13, 7:10 PM
    • 3,319 Posts
    • 2,485 Thanks
    Equaliser123
    • #9
    • 24th Apr 13, 7:10 PM
    • #9
    • 24th Apr 13, 7:10 PM
    What about the pre-action protocols? do they still have to be used?
    Originally posted by dancingzen
    In theory - yes. However, as there are unlikely to be any cost consequences in not following the Protocols, there isn't really any sanction.

    Best to follow, however, unless there is a compelling reason not to.
    • Equaliser123
    • By Equaliser123 24th Apr 13, 7:13 PM
    • 3,319 Posts
    • 2,485 Thanks
    Equaliser123
    Best advice I can give is do not necessarily rely on the online MCOL.

    In a complex case with, for example, multiple defendants it is simply not sophisticated enough to deal with the claim. Equally, if the space for completion of the Particulars of Claim is insufficient then log out and do it the old fashioned way.
    • nigpud
    • By nigpud 25th Apr 13, 7:40 AM
    • 3 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    nigpud
    I have a case pending re. Ebay auction with seller refusing to deliver on winning bid. Order has been received from the Court giving date of hearing, but staying the claim to allow for mediation to take place. This is over the telephone with a Court mediator and is free.
    Date fixed for 1 May, I'll report on experience.
  • sevenstar
    2 small things
    I'm currently pursuing a small claims track claim against an online appliances store. I am not a qualified lawyer. Here are 2 small things that have helped me so far.

    (1) I would recommend everyone to read and to follow the Pre-Action Protocol as set out in the Practice Directions from the Ministry of Justice. As I'm a new user, I can't paste the link to the MoJ website here, which is frustrating. The Directions are
    pretty common-sense stuff. There are sanctions for non-compliance, although the court will look at the effect on the other party of the non-compliance before imposing sanctions - see Sections 4.5 and 4.6. If parties don't comply, the court can stay proceedings (i.e. put the action on hold), make an unfavourable costs award (including on an indemnity basis) or award interest at a lower or higher rate.

    (2) A handy step-by-step guide can be found in a book called "Small Claims Procedure in the County Court" by Patricia Pearl & Andrew Goodman (published by Wildy, Simmonds & Hill, 5th edition, 2010). I have no connection with the authors or publisher or any financial interest in recommending it.

    • bod1467
    • By bod1467 25th Apr 13, 9:42 AM
    • 14,794 Posts
    • 13,463 Thanks
    bod1467
    (1) I would recommend everyone to read and to follow the Pre-Action Protocol as set out in the Practice Directions from the Ministry of Justice. As I'm a new user, I can't paste the link to the MoJ website here, which is frustrating
    Originally posted by sevenstar
    http://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/civil/rules/pd_pre-action_conduct ???
    • Equaliser123
    • By Equaliser123 25th Apr 13, 6:58 PM
    • 3,319 Posts
    • 2,485 Thanks
    Equaliser123
    IIf parties don't comply, the court can stay proceedings (i.e. put the action on hold), make an unfavourable costs award (including on an indemnity basis) or award interest at a lower or higher rate.

    Originally posted by sevenstar
    All extremely unlikely on the small claims track.
    • Nil_Desperandum
    • By Nil_Desperandum 25th Apr 13, 9:24 PM
    • 16 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    Nil_Desperandum
    experienced but not painless
    I took a garage to small claims about 10 years ago ... they defended, but failed to turn up on the day and I won full award and was paid. That was a pretty clear cut case.

    I'm currently taking Vauxhall to small claims over stolen spare wheel. They have assigned solicitors and are defending fairly vigorously. There was a 2005 BBC Watchdog programme covering this where they made a statement etc, but I'm really struggling to get the info from the BBC. If anyone has a link/could help get the info, that would be much appreciated.

    Process this time has been a little painful, perhaps because they are defending vigorously and it's a tad more complicated...

    Not for the light-hearted, but not too difficult either.
    Use other peoples ideas as your starting point - always do your own research - it's your money!
    • keyser666
    • By keyser666 25th Apr 13, 11:47 PM
    • 2,045 Posts
    • 1,571 Thanks
    keyser666
    Another let the masses of forum members do the hard work so those in MSE towers dont have to
  • mrsmaread
    small claims court guide
    It is not as simple to fill in the form as is claimed I filled in the form according to the guide & it was rejected on the grounds it was not filled in according to legal procedure. YOU DO HAVE TO FOLLOW A CERTAIN LEGAL FORMAT WHICH IS NOT MADE CLEAR.
    • heartbroken
    • By heartbroken 26th Apr 13, 3:22 PM
    • 31 Posts
    • 42 Thanks
    heartbroken
    Quick question to knowledgeable folk:

    Are you able to go down the small claims process to retrieve property?

    My dad is looking to sell his business and had leant a copy of his accounts to a potential buyer who is seriously dragging his heels in returning them.

    Just wanted to sound out the small claims route before involving solicitors.

    Many thanks.
    • Equaliser123
    • By Equaliser123 26th Apr 13, 6:48 PM
    • 3,319 Posts
    • 2,485 Thanks
    Equaliser123
    It is not as simple to fill in the form as is claimed I filled in the form according to the guide & it was rejected on the grounds it was not filled in according to legal procedure. YOU DO HAVE TO FOLLOW A CERTAIN LEGAL FORMAT WHICH IS NOT MADE CLEAR.
    Originally posted by mrsmaread
    What? You have to follow a certain legal format to start a serious legal matter? You're joking?

    Seriously - I've said several times on several forums that taking action in the small claims court is LEGAL action. You have to follow the rules.

    The MSE article on small claims (I think it was relating to the claim limit) recently was daft. Made it sound like a couple of toddlers having a squabble about a toy.

    YOU ARE TAKING SOMEONE TO COURT. Think whether you are up for it, they can pay it and is it worth it.
    • Equaliser123
    • By Equaliser123 27th Apr 13, 7:37 PM
    • 3,319 Posts
    • 2,485 Thanks
    Equaliser123
    Have to say having just skim read the MSE article. Awful. Truly awful.
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