Our expert team is here to help with any Small Claims cases and also to help issue cases in bulk should the need arise. Our brilliant systems and direct link ups to our clients’ accounting packages mean we can quickly and efficiently issue claims for you.

About small claims

Small claims comprise any debt with a value up to the sum of £9,999.99, inclusive of any contractual or statutory interest and statutory late payment compensation.

Many businesses in the past were apprehensive about recovering small debts due to the cost v likely benefits of taking action. However, with the right use of technology backed by an expert team, we can help make sure you avoid the previous pitfalls of chasing debts in the small claims court.

The advantages of pursuing small claims at FWJ are that:

  • the process is streamlined and automated where possible;
  • there is no risk you must pay the other’s legal costs – generally in small claims you will not be liable for the other side’s costs even where you are unsuccessful;
  • because of the process-based approach, documentation can be easily uploaded electronically via our systems and the proceedings are run electronically.
  • as a result costs are reduced; and
  • in some situations, our legal costs may even be paid from the recovery, giving you access to justice at remarkably little risk.

Nonetheless, we appreciate this process can be daunting for many creditors. As a result, we tailor our advice to your needs, taking a pragmatic approach to claims.

The Small Claims Track has been focused and designed to the resolve disputes in a manner that is as quick and cost effective as is reasonably possible.

Issuing proceedings and bulk issuing

We issue thousands of claims each year. For small and large claims proceedings are issued electronically using our state of the art case management system.

At Francis Wilks & Jones we have developed our internal systems to utilise and make it simple for our client’s the process of commencing these proceedings.

  • this has been made possible via Money Claims Online (“MCOL”) or
  • through a Secure Data Transfer System (“SDT”).

We can issue your claim with a simple click of a button. We can receive and process your instructions whether this is a single claim or multiple claims within a very small timeframe.

For those with numerous small claims, at Francis Wilks & Jones our systems enable your claims to be issued together (but each with their own distinct case number and which are dealt with in the same way as a more complex claim dealt with by a legal advisor).

The bulk issuing of claims can be overwhelming to those who do not have required knowledge or ability to organise and handle court deadlines in volume. We can work with you, providing flexibility to deal with volume claims with care and attention, whilst maintaining an excellent service and rapport with you.

Timescale

It is always best to understand from the stat the likely timescales involved with issued legal proceedings

  • following the submission of your claim, the Court will normally issue it within approximately 1 – 2 working days.
  • the Court will then serve the Claim Form on the debtor within 5 calendar days, providing the debtor with a deadline of 14 days to respond by way of an acknowledgment of service, defence, admission or part admission. We can keep you continually updated on this process, always having access to the status of the claim.
  • should the Defendant file an acknowledgement of service, the Court provide a further 14 days (i.e., 28 days from the service of the claim form) to file a defence.
  • if the Defendant fails to respond to the Claim Form within the requisite timeframe, Judgment will be entered in default.

What are the cost implications?

The general rule within the Small Claims court is that only fixed legal costs can be awarded against the losing party.

These comprise differing costs dependant on the stage of the case and when it is concluded (i.e., in default, where no evidence is filed, through to a judgment at a final hearing).  We can advise on such fees in accordance with your circumstances.

Although generally no further costs beyond this point can be recovered from the Defendant within the Small Claims Track, the Court does have discretion to make any cost order it deems to be appropriate, when considering the conduct and behaviour of the parties during the litigation proceedings.

Should you be concerned about whether issuing proceedings is worthwhile, we are dedicated to addressing your concerns and advising you of your appropriate next steps together with our personal recommendations.

Mediation

It is the Courts’ overriding objective to ensure that parties to litigation are dealt with fairly and swiftly. These include consideration by both sides to a dispute of Alternative Dispute Resolution and mediation.

However, for small claims, the Court offers a free Mediation Service in respect of claims with a monetary value of less than £10,000.00. Where both parties are willing to mediate a claim, an appointment will be made with a mediator.

A dispute can often be settled much sooner via Mediation.

  • a Mediator will act as a non-biased third party of whom will draw out the key disputes arising out the claim, to pursue a resolution that can be agreed between all parties.
  • negotiation is a key aspect of resolving any dispute and at Francis Wilks and Jones we regularly deal with such mediation and have found much success. We offer unambiguous advice on successfully navigating through this process to reach the settlement that you wish to achieve.

UK small claims courts: an overview

Companies across the UK are facing losses of £1.86bn due to invoices remaining unpaid over the pandemic. This is despite the government’s Covid-19 support to businesses.  Many businesses either do not have a credit control department or give up chasing debts, especially smaller debts, as they consider such effort uneconomic or a waste time.

However, with the right assistance and support – collecting these smaller debts can have a huge impact on a company’s bottom line. The recovery of these monies (especially where you have many small claims) can be significant.

At Francis Wilks and Jones we can assist with such problems, making sure that the recovery of your business’ debts is economic and acts to support your business, no matter how big or small the invoices/claims might be and that you require recovery of.

If you require any guidance on the small claims or the bulk issuing of claims, please do not hesitate to contact us.

One of the most astute appointments I have ever made.

A company director

I would strongly recommend using FWJ. Tactically and commercially they played it just right and I am now able to get on with my business life without the worry

A director

Key contacts

Mark Ovenell

Mark Ovenell

Senior Associate

Mike Lockton

Mike Lockton

Partner

Shona Houghton

Shona Houghton

Debt Recovery Manager

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