Small claims limit may rise

Monday 30 May 2011 at 7:08 am | In News | 1 Comment
Small claims to get bigger

Ministers are consulting on increasing the value of disputes that can be settled using the small claims procedure from £5,000 to £15,000 from next April.

A claimant bringing a legal action is not exposed to paying the other side’s legal costs if their action fails (conversely, a litigant cannot recover costs of instructing a lawyer).

Hearings are often in chambers and take place in an office so are less intimidating than a court.

The enforcement of court orders can be a problem. The watchdog Consumer Focus, in a report last year, found that one in four small claims users who won their case received only part of the compensation, while 6% ended up with nothing.

It is possible to received an exemption from the court fees because of low income.

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  1. The increase will affect those with claims under £15,000 which involve complex issues. An example which, as an equestrian lawyer, I see a lot of is claims around buying and selling horses. Equine disputes can be very tricky to litigate without professional help. However many horse cases which are below the money limit can still be kept off the small claims track on grounds of complexity – a point which will become more signficant next April.

    Comment by Jill Headford — Monday 1 August 2011 2:30 pm #

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