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Small Claims Court


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Hi

 

I'm hoping someone can help, by means of a definitive answer, to costs in the Small Claims Court.

 

As I understand it, costs in the SCC are limited, ie a winning party cannot claim the costs of using a solicitor, lawyers, etc. This is because the fundamental reason for the SCC system is affordable access to justice/dispute resolution.

 

However - and this is where it gets confusing - the SCC literature then alludes that this is only the case for small claims under £5000. For amounts above this, there are the fast track and multi-track, which are also termed "small claims court".

 

Am I right in saying that if I took my case for £4999 to the small small claims court, and lost, then the other party could not claim legal costs (solicitors fees). However, if my claim was for £5001 then they could claim legal costs should they win?

 

Please, only answer if you definitely know - I appreciate well-meaning assistance and "I would have thought" or "in my opinion", but I really really need a definitive answer - I would use the CAB, but you need to get an appointment (!) just to make an appointment, and after yesterdays experience (after five weeks of waiting) to be told "I'm only a volunteer, I dont really know"....

 

Many thanks in advance

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The actual costs are irrelevant for 'Small Claims' actions. The loser ALWAYS has to pay, but this depends on two things, that the winner (Defender) remembers to make an application for costs as the result is announced (it cannot be done at a later stage). Currently this is capped at around £100, and remains a risk if costs are to be met by the pursuer. It is a myth that you have to be found vexatious in order to be hit it costs... far from it. To the winner, the spoils. Secondly, the judge will not ordinarily refuse the capped costs of the defender unless he believes there were issues that made the defender's conduct unreasonable. In my action against Royal Mail, they actually won the case, AND applied for their costs (which would be far in excess of the £98 they'd be allowed to charge) but the judge disagreed, and decided both parties had to meet their own costs. Boy, were they annoyed! :-)

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