Judges, as well as the parties to small claims, are having to come to terms with the increased small claims court limit from £5,000 to £10,000.
The Law Society Gazette recently published an insightful article by a District Judge. You can read it here:
The court system resolves multi million pound disputes. It also has to resolve much lower value claims. Many small claims involve the same complex legal arguments as higher value claims but Judges have to decide them in a fraction of the time of the higher value claims are afforded. The Judges have less time and evidence available to resolve the claims, which makes their lives difficult. The outcomes of small claims may be more unpredictable and inconsistent.
The increased small claims court limit means that claims of a value of £5,000-£10,000, must be dealt with under the small claims regime, with the parties usually being unrepresented because of the inability to recover legal costs. Previously, those claims would likely have been dealt with as fast track claims, meaning that legal costs could be recovered and the trial would likely be allocated to a Judge for a full day to resolve at trial. Small claims trials tend to be crammed into a 2-3 hour hearing trial.
The Judges will no doubt have a greater number of litigants in person to deal with going forward, with the stakes for the litigants even higher than in the recent past.
A claim of up to £10,000 for many individuals and businesses is anything but a “small claim”. It is a lot of money and for the parties involved. A lot is riding on the decision of the Judge.
By Small Claims Court Genie