When individuals or businesses find themselves involved in a small claims dispute, seeking legal advice from a small claims solicitor may seem like a logical step to ensure a favourable outcome.

However, using solicitors in small claims cases can come with its own set of pitfalls.

Cost Considerations

One of the primary pitfalls of using solicitors in small claims cases is the potential cost involved. The small claims track was specifically designed to provide a simplified and cost-effective process for resolving disputes, encouraging individuals and businesses to represent themselves.

Engaging a solicitor can significantly increase your expenses, potentially outweighing the value of the claim itself. In some cases, the legal fees may even exceed the amount you are claiming, making it financially impractical to pursue legal representation.

This all more the case as the general rule in small claims, is that legal costs are usually irrecoverable, regardless of who wins or loses.

As the costs of a solicitor are usually irrecoverable and the costs would be disproportionate, a lot of law firms do not hold themselves out as small claims solicitors. It isn’t work they really want to take on because the cost restrictions are so tight.

Complexity And Procedural Formalities

Small claims cases are intended to be accessible to people and businesses without legal training. The process is streamlined, with less steps to take to get the matter to trial, when compared to higher value claims.

Engaging a solicitor in small claims is not necessary since the rules and procedure are streamlined and the courts can be more lenient when it comes to minor errors.

Time And Efficiency

Small claims courts aim to resolve disputes quickly and efficiently, allowing individuals and businesses to obtain timely justice.

Engaging solicitors can sometimes prolong the process as communication between parties occurs through legal representatives. This can result in increased back-and-forth and potential delays in reaching a resolution. Cynically, it is in the interests of the lawyers to engage in this back and forth, if they are charging at an hourly rate, as the more time spent the more they will invoice.

By representing yourself, you can have more direct control over the progress of your case and ensure a more expedient outcome.

The Expertise Of Small Claims Solicitors

It is often the case that lower value and fixed fee work, is carried out by junior and less experienced staff in firms of solicitors. It makes sense that staff on lower salaries, work on lower value work in an effort to keep it profitable and proportionate.

If you seek to engage a firm of solicitors on a small claim, it is likely to be a junior lawyer that carries out the work and gives you the advice. It could be a paralegal, trainee solicitor or recently qualified solicitor. Whilst these may be capable, they are unlikely to have the experience of a longer qualified fee earner.

In our Ultimate Guide, you enjoy the knowledge of a lawyer with over 17 years of hands on litigation experience.

Self-Representation and Learning Opportunity

Representing yourself in a small claims case can be an empowering experience.

It allows you to develop a deeper understanding of the legal process, enhances your problem-solving skills, and provides an opportunity to effectively present your own case.

By taking the initiative to learn about small claims procedures, rules, and precedents, you can confidently navigate the system and achieve a successful outcome without the need for a small claim solicitor.

The cost implications, increased complexity, potential delays, and proportionality of legal fees should all be carefully weighed against the value of your claim. The small claims track is aimed at parties without representation. To do the best job of preparing and presenting your case, you need our Ultimate Guide.