If you want to claim against an individual or company, a new online small claims system should make the process painless.
HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has modernised its online system to make it quicker and easier for people to claim money owed, resolve disputes out of court and access mediation.
Rather than having to fill in and post a paper form, or use an outdated online system from 2002, you can now use a more user-friendly online facility.
If you’re in dispute with a company or individual, our guide can help you to navigate the small-claims process and get your money back.
How can I use the small-claims court?
The small-claims process can be used for consumer problems ranging from unfairly issued parking tickets to retailers who refuse to take responsibility for their faulty goods.
Cases that could be dealt with using the new platform include claims relating to:
- Services such as building work
- Goods such as TVs or washing machines
- Disputes between landlords and tenants.
To pursue claims outside the small-claims court is likely to be a more complicated process, can be more costly and can take longer. You’ll also normally need a solicitor to prepare your case.
What’s the limit for claims?
The online facility can be used to start a claim against anyone in England and Wales. It can be used to start an action in the County Court for amounts up to £10,000.
In Scotland and Northern Ireland, the system and the amount you can claim for are different.
The total you can claim in England and Wales is £10,000, in Scotland it’s £5,000 and in Northern Ireland it’s £3,000.
Modernisation of the civil justice system
Launching the new service, justice minister, Lucy Fraser MP, said: ‘We know that using the civil courts has been a daunting prospect for some. This innovative, quick and easy online system will enable people and small businesses to get back the money that is rightly owed to them.
‘This is an excellent example of the work we are doing under our £1bn plan to transform the courts system, allowing people to access justice online and around their busy lives.’
The online claims tool is the first step in plans to modernise the civil justice system. This follows Lord Briggs’ 2016 report recommendations on the structure of civil courts, in which he called for claims worth up to £25,000 to be solved in an online court.