“The judicial system is the most expensive machine ever invented for finding out what happened and what to do about it.”
Is it worth taking the matter to Court?
Is it really worth the time and effort, or should you handle it out-of-Court?
Firstly, you must determine whether the monetary value of the claim is worth your effort instigating a long (and costly), court procedure.
Remember that with Road Traffic Accident (RTA) cases involving personal injury, it is far advisable to instruct a solicitor or insurance company to handle the claim, as personal injury tends to involve medical reports from professionals, which always amount to cost. Notwithstanding the fact that if you do lose at Court, you may be ordered pay the Defendant’s Representative’s fees.
Claims taken to Court tend to run between 6 months to 1 year+, dependant upon the complexities of the issues involved, and the ‘track’ the claim has been allocated to.
How do you to start a Court Claim?
Before you initiate a claim, you will need to find the closest County Court to you. You can go to:
Net Lawman to help you find this out.
You will then need to download Form N1, Claim Form to begin your claim.
It is possible to initiate a Claim online with the Court’s online claim system known as: Moneyclaim, however; problems with the Online System are as follows:
Our recommendations would therefore be to go about filing your Claim the old fashioned way – directly at Court.
How to write a claim – form N1
How to write the Particulars
On the second sheet (Form N1), you will need to write a detailed account of the Claim. It is better to type this on a separate sheet of paper, and write the title Particulars of Claim at the top.
When you issue a claim for a ‘specified amount’ of money, you can add interest onto the Claim, Governed by the County Courts Act 1984. The way to calculate the daily rate of interest is as follows:
0.00022 x the amount of your claim.
if you are owed £5,000, the daily rate of interest would be as follows:
0.00022x £5,000 = £1.10
Therefore, the daily rate of interest would be £1.10 per day.
You then need to work out the amount of interest you are owed. In order to do this, you have to count how many days have elapsed since the money became owed to you, then multiply the amount of days by the daily rate of interest amount.
So, for example:
You should add the interest to the total amount you are claiming for, which should be entered in the Claim Form at the bottom right box which states ‘amount claimed.’ The fee paid to the court on filing will reflect the amount of your claim and interest.
Exhibits to the Particulars
You may wish to submit certain documents with the Claim at this stage. For instance, you may wish to submit a copy of a warranty. You ‘do not’ need to put forward all documents at this stage, as time will be given for further submission of these at a later stage.
Please be wary of the documents you submit especially those such as medical reports, which the Defendant’s representative may analyse in detail and may incriminate at a later date. As a rule, at this stage it is best to submit documents which the Defendant is already in receipt of, such as warranties and contracts, rather than sensitive documentation, such as medical reports etc.
Unless you are exempt from paying the Court fee for filing your Claim, you will have to pay the following amounts on filing your Claim Form.
Exemptions from filing fees
You may be able to claim an exemption from paying the Court fee in certain circumstances if you receive one or more of the following:
You will need to provide specific proof of your benefit entitlements via a letter from your local benefit provider, which is no more than 1 month old), and they may request up to 3 months worth of bank statements.
There are other fee remissions, dependant upon your disposable income. If your disposable income is less than £50, you will not need to pay a filing fee for the Claim.
If you believe you are entitled to an exemption, then you should download, read carefully, and fill in Form EX160 (Application at the end of the Form), with the required proof.
You will then need to submit the Application for Remission to the Court in person, alongside your Claim Form. You will probably need to wait a few days for the decision and you may need to chase the Court for the determination if it has not been made after 1 week.
Filing the Claim in Court
On filing the N1 Claim Form, Particulars, and attached Exhibits (if applicable), you will also need to make a copy for each Defendant. It is best to do this yourself, as the Court’s fees for photocopying tend to be rather high.
Certificate of Service
When you file a Claim in Court, you can either serve the Particulars on the Defendant yourself, by handing it in person at their offices, or by 1st class recorded post. You can allow the court to send it out to the Defendant themselves however, this may take more than 1 week for the court to do so.
If the Defendant(s) already have legal representation, you will need to send the Claim directly to the Defendant’s Legal Representative.
If you do decide to issue the proceedings on the Defendant in person, you will need to serve on them, a copy of the N1 Claim Form filed at Court, a copy of the Particulars, and the Response Pack for ‘each’ Defendant. If you filed Exhibits in Court, you will also need to send each Defendant a copy of these as well.
In addition, you will also need to send form N9A and N9B ‘or’ N9C and N9D with the Response Pack.
N9A and N9B are for a specified amount of money which you are claiming.
If you are making a claim for money and you have ‘not’ specified the amount you are claiming, or you are ‘not’ making a claim for money, eg. claim for possession of property, you will need to include forms N9C and N9D with the Response Pack.
On delivering all the documents to the Defendant, you should then fill in a Certificate of Service, and send it back to the Court.
This is the start of the issuing of your Claim, and you should wait for an Acknowledgement of Service from the Defendant within 14 days after the claim was sent. The Defendant can however, make Application to the Court for a further 14 days (28 days in total), after the Claim had been sent to them, in order to file a Defence.