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Article Index
Being Sued
First Defensive Steps
Admitting Liability
Defending the Claim
Which Court Track?
Losing
Criminal Proceedings
Alternative Dispute Resolution

Being Sued

4. Which Court Track?

4.1 Cases are allocated to a small claims track (claims of up to £10,000), a fast track (£10,001 to £25,000), or a multi-track (more than £25,000).

  • Reasonably straightforward claims of more than £10,000 can be allocated to the small claims track, if the court and both parties agree.
  • Claims for £25,000 and less must be issued in the county court.Claims for more than this can usually be issued in either the county court or the high court. The main exception is for personal injury claims up to £50,000, which must be issued in the county court.

4.2 The small claims track and fast track both use standard, simplified procedures.

By contrast, the multi-track allows the court flexibility to use a variety of approaches, depending on the complexity of the case. Consequently, the costs of multi-track claims are generally significantly higher than costs on a fast-track claim.

  • In a small claims hearing (only), you do not have to attend the hearing, provided you submit written evidence to the court and a notice of non-attendance (stating that you wish the court to deal with the case in your absence) at least seven days beforehand.

4.3 Observe all the legal formalities to the letter, including any deadlines you are given.

  • Otherwise, you may provide the claimant with valid grounds for obtaining a judgment in default against you, which means you automatically lose the case.

4.4 If you are an individual (eg a sole trader), and the claim is for a specific amount, the case is transferred automatically from the claimant’s local court to your own.

Otherwise, the case is heard at the claimant’s local court — unless you make a successful application to transfer it to your local court. For more details, visit www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk.

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