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Running Your Own Court Claim

10 July 2019

Running Your Own Court Claim

Running Your Own Court Claim

If the prospect of paying hefty fees to lawyers for making or defending a court claim puts you off, then you’re not alone. Many people decide to run their own cases, including the trial. I always try to agree fees with my clients, and keep them to a manageable level. So there are no nasty surprises. But I can understand why sometimes people might decide to use a lawyer for only part of the case, or none of it. What’s involved in running your own court claim?

Why you cannot always get your costs back

If the claim is worth less than £10,000 then the ‘loser pays the winner’s costs’ rule does not apply. So even if you win you can end up being put of pocket. This can be a major disincentive to pursuing or defending a claim.

It’s always disappointing to learn that a legal right is not being pursued for reasons of cost. I often hear of businesses that have decided that it’s easier to write off a debt or claim than spend money pursuing it. Even worse is where a claim against you is settled, just to avoid the cost of dealing with it.

But navigating the court process yourself can be straightforward, especially for simple claims like recovering a debt. A Government website has a useful summary of the small claims court process. It also explains the fees you’ll need to pay and how to enforce a judgment.

Further assistance

If you are running your own court claim, here are other some places to go to for free help – click on the links:

Companies House. Are you suing a limited company or a sole trader/individual? Is “ABC Plumbing” a trading name for an individual, or a company name? Check on the Companies House website to see if a company exists, and also find out if a company is worth suing, i.e. how strong it is financially.

Acts of Parliament. The legislation you might need to bring a claim includes the Sale of Goods Act 1979, the Consumer Rights Act 2015 and the Limitation Act 1980.

Caselaw: link to a database of judgments in cases, usually in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court (or House of Lords).

Where to start the claim: link to the court system’s site allowing you to make a claim online, which is cheaper and quicker than on paper/by post.


​For more information about pursuing debts, click here.

For more information about  litigation and claims generally, click here.

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