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Will I get my "day in Court”?

The Government is set to pilot a new scheme next month to try to deal with the growing number of small claims in the County Court (claims with a value of less than £10,000).

 

The scheme could be controversial, as it will allow judges to decide upon a claim without there being a Court hearing.

 

Initially the scheme will only apply in specific Courts (Bedford, Luton, Guildford, Staines, Cardiff and Manchester), but if successful it could be rolled our across England and Wales.

 

Reports suggest that the aim of the scheme is to find a more effective way of dealing with small claims valued at less than £1000, but in principal claims of up to £10,000 could also be caught.

 

Critics argue that being able to attend a hearing (with or without representation) and to present your case to a Judge in person is a fundamental right and should not be curtailed.

 

However, it seems clear that something needs to be done to avoid claims which may be worth only a few hundred pounds from blocking the system by needing a full trial hearing and everything that entails.

 

These days the majority of claimants in small claims decide to represent themselves, as you cannot generally recover your own legal costs from your opponent even if you win. Litigants in person often face a difficult task in navigating the Court system and applying the Civil Procedure Rules, so a more simplified system may help.

 

Sometimes even a small amount of assistance from a specialist solicitor can ensure that you are putting your position forward correctly and giving yourself the best prospect of success. At Fishers our solicitors can help with preparing the founding documents in your claim/defence to get you off to the best start. You may decide then to take matters into your own hands and avoid paying further costs.

 

If the pilot scheme is extended and judges are deciding matters without a hearing, then the accuracy of the documents you file at Court could be the difference between winning and losing. At Fishers we can help, make an enquiry.

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