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Small Claims Court | How to use the small claims court

You can decide to apply to a County Court to claim money you’re owed by a person or business. This process is known as making a court claim. Often, it’s known as taking someone to a ‘small claims court‘. The objective of the small claim’s procedure is to provide a cost-effective, fast, and easy way for consumers and businesses to resolve disputes without the need to employ a solicitor.

Small Claims Procedure

The person who is making the claim is known as the claimant and the person you’re claiming against is called the respondent. It’s necessary as per the court that both the claimant and the respondent must be living or based within the State. The European Small Claims Procedure should be used if either party lives or is based in another EU member state.

Most contractual consumer disputes, ranging from wrongly issued parking tickets to shops that refuse to take responsibility for their faulty goods, can be resolved through the small claims process. The claim value limit varies depending on where you live in the United Kingdom. You can claim a total of £10,000 in England and Wales, £5,000 in Scotland, and £3,000 in Northern Ireland.

You can use small claims for things like:

  • a faulty product
  • poor service
  • being owed a refund
  • disputes with your landlord – for example, if they haven’t done minor repairs
  • being owed money for work you’ve done
  • accidents when you’ve been injured – for example, a car accident

If you’re notified that someone is temporarily protected from creditors under the ‘Breathing Space’ arrangement, you can’t file a claim. Going to court may be more time consuming and costly than using a mediation agency. Mediation is when a neutral third party assists both parties in reaching an agreement.

Types of claims

The following types of consumer claims can be dealt with under the small claims procedure:

  • Consumer disputes for faulty items or poor workmanship are common. You must have purchased the items or services for personal use from someone who was selling them for a profit.
  • You can also file a claim for minor property damage.
  • For specific types of rented properties, such as a vacation house or a unit in a building where the landlord also lives, claims for the non-return of a rent deposit may be made.

Check if you can make a small claim

The rules about making a small claim depend on what the claim is for.

If you’ve had a problem with a service or product

If you have a problem with anything you’ve paid for, such as bad service or a broken product, you can lodge a minor claim for up to £10,000. If you’ve paid for a service or product that you haven’t received, you can file a minor claim. You have up to 6 years from the day you paid for the service or product to file a claim. You may be able to keep your rights for longer than six years if you contact the Citizens Advice consumer service.

If you rent and have a problem with repairs

If your landlord is accountable for something that needs to be fixed, you can file a small claim and either:

  • they haven’t repaired it and the estimated cost of repairs is up to £1,000
  • they’ve repaired it but you’re claiming compensation of up to £10,000
  • Check which repairs your landlord is responsible for if you’re not sure.

Inconvenience, tension, cleaning, and additional heating expenditures could all be covered by compensation. Choosing how much compensation to seek might be challenging. You may require legal assistance from an adviser or a solicitor.

There’s a deadline for filing a claim for repairs that your landlord knew were needed but didn’t do promptly. You must file a claim within six years of their discovering the need for repairs.

If you’re owed money for work you’ve done

You can claim up to £10,000 if you’re owed money for work you’ve done, for example, if you’re self-employed.

If you have another type of small claim

Shergroup can help you check if you can make a claim.

Check what evidence you need

You won’t have a powerful claim if you don’t have good proof, thus it might not be a good idea to start one. Collect any documents or photos that you have to back up your claim. It would assist if you wrote down what happened in chronological sequence and then look for proof to back it up.

What makes good evidence will depend on the problem. It could include things like:

  • a letter or a receipt
  • photos of the damage caused
  • estimates or invoices – for example, for repairs
  • a statement from someone who saw what happened

Check the cost of making a claim

If you’re going to spend almost as much as you’re claiming, it might not be worth it to file a claim.

To file a claim, you’ll have to pay a charge. The amount you must pay is determined by the claim you are making. As your case develops, you may be required to pay further fees. GOV.UK has a list of court fees. You might obtain these back from the other side if you win your lawsuit. You could have to pay their fees if you lose.

If you receive assistance or have a low income, you may be eligible for reduced or waived fees. GOV.UK can tell you if you qualify for court fee assistance.

You can file a small claim yourself, but you will have to hire a solicitor if you choose to utilise one. Check with them to see whether you could be reimbursed for some of their expenses if you win.

Check to see if you qualify for legal aid. If you can’t, see if your homeowner’s insurance policy covers legal charges.

Check how likely you are to be paid if you win

You’re unlikely to get your money back if the person or corporation you’re using can’t pay. Even if they are unable to pay, you may be able to recover money if they have assets such as a business or real estate.

There are techniques to determine if they are experiencing financial difficulties; if they are, it may not be worthwhile to file a claim. Check to see whether someone or a company has been sued or has refused to pay.

If you’re working with a company, make sure they’re still in business. If they aren’t, you won’t be allowed to take them to court.

If you’re working with a sole trader or a partnership, you can use GOV.UK to see if they’ve gone bankrupt.

Make a claim

Make your claim online if you’re claiming for a fixed (‘specified’) amount of money, follow the steps below –

  • Download and fill in a paper claim form N1 if you’re claiming for an unspecified amount of money.
  • You can also use the paper claim form to claim for a fixed amount.
  • Send the paper form to the County Court Money Claims Centre.

County Court Money Claims Centre

PO Box 527


M5 0BY

  • You must pay a court fee when you make a claim.

What happens next

If the other person or business (the “defendant”) denies owing the money and you disagree with their response, you may have to go to court.

You can get the court to order them to pay if they:

  • do not respond to your claim
  • admit they owe you but do not pay
  • This is called a county court judgment (CCJ).

If they still refuse to pay, you can petition the court to take additional measures to collect the money, such as hiring bailiffs.

What is the cost of Small Claims Court?

Small Claim Court Cost

The cost of pursuing a case in the Small Claims Court in the UK is relatively affordable, with fees depending on the claimed amount. As of my last knowledge update in January 2022, the fees range from £25 to £410. These fees cover the filing and hearing expenses. Small Claims Court is designed to provide a cost-effective and accessible legal recourse for individuals and small businesses to resolve disputes without the need for extensive legal representation. It’s advisable to check the latest fee structure and any updates with the relevant court or legal authorities as they may have changed post-2022.


Shergroup has your back in case you need to make a small claim or a big claim through a court procedure. We have been dealing with money claim judgments and orders all our lives and that is what we love doing. We make sure every client that approaches Shergroup is satisfied with our process and doesn’t leave empty-handed. Be it County Court judgments or High Court judgments we’re here to make the process easier for you and help you receive your money from your debtor. So, trust Shergroup’s enforcement services when you have a money claim to be recovered.

Contact us today and one of our business solutions advisors will help you with our process.

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Last updated | 19 July 2023

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