The Small Claims Track

The Small Claims Track

Small Claims Track

Many businesses face issues with others and have to file a small claim in court but are not sure of the costs and recovery options if they use a solicitor. The Small Claims Track handles cases in a less formal way and in general civil claims that do not exceed £10,000 are allocated to the small claims track.

In cases allocated to the small claims track, each side bears most of her/his own legal costs. This is because the small claims procedure is designed to enable individuals to litigate in person, without using a solicitor, or other legal representatives. Because of its special status, some of the usual rules don’t apply, including the rule that the loser pays the winner’s costs.

Costs generally aren’t allowed on the small claims track, however It is possible for the judge in a small claims case to make an order that the losing party pay some of the other side’s costs.

In such a case the winning party would only get the standard fixed costs, reimbursements for certain disbursements such as the issue fee depending on the amount claimed, hearing fee, experts fee(up to £750), travel expenses(second class train fare), loss of earning for a witness or party (up to £95), Miscellaneous costs for attending a hearing.

If the dispute is between two businesses and relates to non-payment of commercial debt, the Late Payments of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998 (the ‘Late Payments Act’) also enables a claimant to seek Statutory compensation for each late invoice (£40-£100 depending on the amount of the invoice) and statutory ‘reasonable costs’ (described below).

The court does have the discretion to award costs where a party has behaved unreasonably such as making unnecessary applications, causing a late adjournment of the hearing, failure to comply with directions or orders, refusing to negotiate, failure to comply with protocols.

In a dispute that involves a breach of contract it would be awarded according to the express terms of the contract in regards to costs; if the contract expressly states the costs resulting from the breach of contract and Statutory costs which are only available in business disputes

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Reina D'costa

Dual qualified, experienced, practical and proactive solicitor. Founder of Bizlaw UK, a new model legal service consultancy.