If you are in dispute about money owed to you or by you then it is important as a first step to identify what is in dispute between the parties. In order to assist the parties with this the court has various pre action protocols which should be followed, and these will be considered with you, with the aim of avoiding court proceedings if at all possible.
If you are left with no alternative but to go to court, either as Claimant or as Defendant, then we will assist you with this.
If you are claiming up to £10,000 your claim will be dealt with under the small claims track; if you are claiming between £10,000 to £25,000 your claim will be dealt with under the fast track procedure; if you are claiming over £25,000 you will be dealt with under the multi-track procedure.
You pay a court fee on the issue of your claim, and the level of the fee depends on the level of your claim, up to £5,000 for a claim of £100,000, and a hearing fee of up to £1,090 for a multi-track claim.
Applications during the course of your matter will have other fees.
In a straightforward small claims matter we may draft the particulars of claim or defence for you however, if the matter is not straightforward or if it is a fast or multi-track matter we advise you that your particulars of claim or defence should be drafted by a barrister. If appropriate or if you wish we are happy to enquire of several barristers or several chambers to find the best deal for you.
We are also happy to give you as much or as little help and support as you wish where you are involved in small claims track proceedings, so our advice could be limited to explaining the process to you and helping you to prepare your paperwork. Although we would always advise you that you should be represented by a barrister to ensure you have the best possible chance of a successful outcome, if you are involved in fast track or multi track proceedings we would advise you that representation is essential. Again we are happy to arrange representation for you giving consideration to the budget you have in mind.
We charge on the basis of my hourly rate which is £210 per hour + VAT. Additional charges will be involved for any court fees; court fees vary and are set out in the Civil and Family Court Fees leaflet EX50.
There will also be additional charges for meetings with barristers, opinions to be provided by barristers and for representation by barristers. The level of fee depends on the task and level of seniority of the barrister, from say £350 without VAT for a very junior barrister to attend a brief hearing to £5,000 + VAT for the first day with a refresher of £2,500 + VAT for each additional day for a very senior barrister to attend a hearing lasting several days.
For a Multi Track matter you will also have to pay for a Costs Budget to be prepared which could cost £800 = £1,000 – £1,500 + VAT.
Depending on the issue between the parties you and your opponent may have to share the cost of having a report prepared by an expert; the cost of such a report will depend on the complexity of the issues involved.
On this basis you will see that it is not difficult for the cost of representation for a small claim matter to exceed the value of the claim, and the cost of representation on a fast track matter can also eat up a lot of the value of a fast track claim, which means that it is essential that you consider very carefully before starting court action which is easier to start than to stop.
A fee of £25 + VAT is charged for the direct bank transfer of funds.
You will provide instructions to Sue Lewis. Sue has been qualified and working in this area for over 20 years. She will meet with you to take instructions, advise you on the way forward, but will not make a decision for you; it is for your legal representatives to advise you and for you to make a decision based on that advice.
Sue is assisted by her secretary, Joanne Henderson, who also has a law degree. Joanne will take your instructions and will forward these to Sue; she will not advise you.