Legal Dictionary of Common Terms Used in Small Claims

Legal Dictionary of Common Terms Used in Small Claims

There are some unusual words used by the courts. You might want to buy a legal dictionary but below are some of the most frequent legal words you may come across when dealing with your small claim:

Small Claims Legal Dictionary

Acknowledgment of service. A Defendant can file this document to obtain more time to file the defence.

Allocation. This is the decision by the court as to what “track” to allocate the claim to. It will either be a small claim, fast track or multi track.

Claim form. The court form you must complete to start the claim.

Claimant. The person / business who issues the claim at court.

Counterclaim. A claim brought by the Defendant, in response to the Claimant’s claim form.

Defendant. The person / business the claim has been issued against.

Directions. The order the court makes when allocating the claim to the small claims track, may specify certain steps you must take before trial. These steps are referred to as directions and usually include a date to serve evidence by and a date to file any trial fee.

Directions questionnaire. A form you must complete and return to court, to help a Judge to decide which track to allocate the matter to and what directions to set.

Filing a document. This means sending it to court. The court prefers longer documents to be posted to it or delivered by hand. Certain courts will accept shorter documents by fax or email.

ELH. Estimated length of hearing.

Enforcement. The options available in pursuing the Defendant if he doesn’t pay a sum ordered.

Interest. The Judge has a discretion how much interest to award and at what rate. The standard court rate is 8% per annum.

Mediation. A method of trying to reach terms of settlement so as to avoid going to trial. The mediator is not a Judge and will not make any decision about your claim.

Particulars of claim. Page 2 of the claim form or a separate document if you need more space. This is the detail of your claim – what the claim is about, what you want and how you have calculated it.

Response pack. A bundle of documents the court will send to the Defendant with the claim form. It will include an acknowledgment of service, defence form and admission form.

Serving a document. This means sending it to the other side. Usually by post.

Set off. The Defendant seeks to reduce the sum the Claimant is seeking.

Statement of truth. When signing the claim form, particulars of claim, defence or witness statement, there will be a statement of truth above the signature, confirming the person believes the content of the document is true. Signing a false statement is contempt of court can lead to criminal prosecution.

Witness statement. A written statement by someone who is to give evidence a the small claims trial.

By Small Claims Court Genie