We can’t answer individual queries but if after reading the site, you do have an unanswered question, please complete the form at the bottom of the page. If we can, we will add some information on the site in the future to help you with the issue.
Cost And Time
How much does it cost?
The court fees were increased significantly in April 2014. The up to date fees can be found on the www.justice.gov.uk website. The form you need to find is form EX50.
Will I get my court fees back?
If your claim is successful, the court will usually order the other side to pay you any court fees you have incurred along the way.
However, when deciding to pursue a claim, you need to consider whether the person you are pursuing has the means to pay you if the claim is successful. Whilst the court may well order the other side to pay your court fees if you win, there is no guarantee the other side will actually pay them. Bear this in mind. If a judgment is unpaid, you can take steps to try to recover the money such as Court Bailiff / Sheriff, attachment of earnings, etc.
How long will it take?
Generally, you can expect it to take anywhere between 3-9 months for a claim to reach trial, after issuing the claim at court. Much depends upon how busy the courts are and what steps need to be taken before the trial itself.
I have lots of documents I want to bring to the Judge’s attention. How can He possibly get through them all?
In short, the Judge can’t. He has very limited time to listen to the witness evidence and to read the documents. When preparing your witness statements, you should refer to (and possibly exhibit) the most important documents and the parts the Judge needs to read. If you want the him to consider a box full of disorganised documents, it simply isn’t going to happen. For any documents not exhibited to witness statements, organise them logically by putting them in sections and in chronological order.
Do I need to provide colour copies of everything?
No, unless the colour is important. Photographs for example, should be in colour and clear. Invoices however, will probably suffice in black and white. If the authenticity of the documents might be questioned, you should ensure that you take the originals of the documents with you.
What can I do if a witness won’t attend?
The court rules allow you to “witness summons” witness to make it compulsory for him / her to attend. Failure of a witness to attend after a witness summons could be contempt of court and result in criminal proceedings against the witness. However, a Judge might not think it appropriate to witness summons for a small claim and might just expect you to do the best with the evidence you can put before the court. If you want to try to obtain a witness summons, you should do so well in advance of the trial.
My opponent hasn’t served any documents on me before the trial. What should I do if he turns up with documents on the day of the trial?
You should make the Judge aware that the other side are relying upon documents not disclosed in accordance with the order of the court. It is for the Judge to decide whether he will allow the documents to be considered. The risk in objecting, is that the Judge may adjourn the trial to give you time to read through the documents. That could mean the trial hearing is postponed another day.
What can I do if someone is lying to the Judge at trial?
First of all, keep your cool. You will have the opportunity to put across your version of events. It is up to the Judge to decide who he thinks is telling the truth. If you have documents you can put before the Judge to prove the person is lying, make sure you bring them to the Judge’s attention. Whether you try to dive in straight away or wait whilst he digs himself a hole, is a judgment call for you to make.
Am I Going To Win?
Our website does not and cannot give advice on the law, the merits of a claim or whether going to court is the right decision. If you need advice on the law affecting your case, we recommend you speak to a solicitor or the CAB.
There are useful websites out there which offer guidance, in particular on consumer issues:
About Small Claims Court Genie And What We Do
I have a question about my case. Can you help?
No. Small Claims Court Genie provides free hints and tips on general small claims court procedure. We do not give advice on individual claims or queries.
Are you solicitors?
No. We are not a firm of solicitors or regulated by the SRA. We do not provide legal advice.
I don’t know what to do with my small claim. What should I do?
Check out the resources page and look at the links. You might be able to find help by contacting one of those listed. For the best advice, speak to a professional.
I have read through your site. Is there anything else I need to know?
The civil procedure rules which apply to civil claims are vast. Our site contains a few hints and tips, along with an overview of what to expect. It is not a comprehensive explanation of the civil procedure rules.