County courts only deal with civil claims
The county courts will not deal with criminal claims– these are dealt with at the magistrates court or crown court. It is however possible that your local county court may be in the same building as either the magistrates court or crown court – often known as a Combined Centre.
What are civil claims?
Civil cases are concerned with where an individual or company believes their rights have been infringed and they are seeking some form of recourse for such infringement. In criminal cases, it is the state who prosecutes, where as in civil cases, it is an individual or company who brings the claim against another individual or company.
county court jurisdiction
The county court has jurisdiction in three quite distinct areas of civil dispute, namely civil, family and insolvency claims. Most county courts have a family jurisdiction, deciding disputes arising on the breakdown of marriage, and problems relating to children whether or not accompanied by divorce. A small number of county courts have an insolvency jurisdiction dealing with bankruptcy and the liquidation of small companies.
county courts are incredibly busy and many cases will be listed at each court every day. county court claims can last from anywhere from a few minutes to many days, depending on the issues to be resolved.
Value of claims dealt with in the county court
Any money claim under £100,000.00 has to be issued (or commenced) in the county courts. If you have a claim for a sum higher than £100,000.00, then you will need to issue your claim in the high court.
Some civil matters can be dealt with in the Magistrates court, such as licensing issues and as stated above, more high value and more complex civil claims may be dealt with in the high court. However the majority of civil claims will take place in the county courts.
Types of claim the county court will deal with
The following is a (non-exhaustive) list of the types of cases typically heard in the county courts:
- money claims of up to £100,000.00;
- housing claims, including possession of residential and commercial properties and other landlord and tenant matters, such as eviction;
- bankruptcy and insolvency matters;
- personal injury claims;
- adverse possession claims, or claims against trespassers;
- claims involving a breach of contract;
- negligence claims, where a person has suffered a loss as a result of the actions of someone else;
- probate claims and other claims in relation to Wills and Trusts;
- consumer disputes;
- Small claims (claims of less than £10,000.00).
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