'Small Claims' is the term applied by the court (generally) to disputes where the value at stake is less than £10,000.
That might be a lot of money to you and I, but it is small enough that the courts impose different rules to 'limit' the costs.
To limit the costs that parties expend on small claims, the court severely limits the legal expenses that can be recovered from the losing side.
The idea is that the process is simplified and litigants don't need a solicitor. Most clients disagree.
Many solicitors refuse to help with small claims at all because they can't earn enough from them. BladeLaw can help. We take a different approach.
We can't avoid charging you something and we can't make the costs recoverable from the other side, but we can offer advice in bite-sized pieces at a very low cost.
This won't solve all problems. If you need to claim £500, spending £500 on legal advice that you won't be able to claim back from the other side doesn't make commercial sense.
If your claim is worth a bit more though, we can help.
The small claims process generally runs as follows:
Write a letter before claim to the prospective defendant setting out your claim, explaining why you are owed what you are owed and asking for payment within a certain time.
If the defendant doesn't pay up, fill in the form on the government money claims website, pay the court fee and then wait 14 days to see if the defendant puts in a defence.
If there is no defence, go online and ask for a judgment. You will get the judgment within a few days and can then go back online and ask a bailiff to try and collect the money.
If there is a defence, you will be told by the court what the next steps are.
Normally, a date and place will be set for the hearing and you will have to send witness statements and supporting documents to the court and the other side two weeks before that.
At the hearing, the judge will listen to what the witnesses have to say and will let each side ask them questions.
The judge will also read the documents and listen to the parties' arguments before making a decision.
Depending on the result, the losing party is normally required to pay the other side any court fees they had to pay and travel expenses for witnesses.
Here's how BladeLaw might be able to help.
In most cases, you can choose whichever pieces of advice you want depending on which parts of the process you find most challenging.
Review of your letter before claim - Fixed fee normally £200 + VAT
Preparation of your particulars of claim to be entered on the money claims website - Fixed fee normally £400 + VAT
Review of the defence and advice on evidence required - Fixed fee normally £200 + VAT