The small claims court for businesses
The small claims court can be a very useful resource for small
businesses who've been left out of pocket or who have experienced
bad service or damage. Taking legal action should always be an
absolute resort for claiming back money - but if you feel that
things have got to that stage, read this guide to find out more
- What is the small claims court?
- How the small claims court can help you
- Why it might not be the right choice
- How to make a claim
What is the small claims court?
People talk about the 'small claims court', but all this really
means is a small claim that goes through the normal county court.
The process is called the small claims track. You don't need a
solicitor to make a small claim. Debts of up to £5,000 are dealt
with as small claims through your local county court - you can find
your local one at Her Majesty's Courts Service (HMCS) here. In Scotland, you use the sheriff court,
and in Northern Ireland the maximum amount for small claims varies.
It's best to get legal advice for claims more than £5,000 - these
must be issued in either your county court or the high court.
- A small claim that goes through your local county court
- No solicitor needed
- For claims up to £5,000 - if more, get legal advice
How the small claims court can help you
The small claims court can help you recover debts owed to you
that you can't get back any other way. You can also issue claims
for damage to your property, bad workmanship, goods not supplied or
faulty goods, personal injury or road traffic accidents.
- For debts owed and other damage caused to you or your
Why it might not be the right choice
Taking legal action should always be a last resort. Consider how
cost-effective making a claim will be, as you need to pay a fee
(the amount depends on the claim). It might be easier, cheaper and
a lot less time-consuming to write off small sums. If the customer
in question looks set to make lots of orders in the future, it's
probably worth forgetting about this bit of debt so you can get
more business from them in the future. And if it's only a small
amount, don't get carried away with proving a point by making a
claim - you don't want to get a bad reputation amongst
- Consider cost and time
- Consider writing off the debt if the customer looks likely to
use your business often or if it may damage your reputation
How to make a claim
Issue your claim by visiting your local county court, or online
at www.moneyclaim.gov.uk. You need to fill out a
form, also available online at the HMCS
website, which you give a copy of to the defendant (the person
or business you're making the claim against) and the court. The
court gives you notes and guidance on how to make your claim, and
the defendant gets sent a defence pack detailing the claim against
them. They then either accept the claim and pay out, or dispute it
- your court can advise you what to do if this happens.
- Issue the claim at www.moneyclaim.gov.uk or at your local county
- Fill out the form, read through notes and guidance and wait for
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