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Small claims Country Court
Relatively cheap and simple way of making Contract/tort claims, Recovery of land,
small claims. Current limit is £5000. Disputes over partnerships, trusts &
inheritance = £30,00 & Divorce.
Advantages Disadvantages
- Tries small claims, fast track and multi track
Cost of proceedings low Legal funding for lawyer is - Only small number of cases proceed to trial,
not available most cases settle which means no need for
If you lose, don't need to If other side is business court case
pay other side lawyer more likely to use lawyer, - Cases heard in open court, public entitled to
costs means claimant may be attend. *exceptions = family hearings,
unrepresented children act 1989.
Don't have to use lawyers, District judges are not - Formal hearing
take case yourself - always helpful - Many claimants are represented by solicitor
cheaper
or barrister
Quick procedure Even if you win case, no - Winner can claim costs, including legal
guarantee you will get representation
money from defendant
- More expensive than small claims
District judge helps - Cases heard by district judges, low value
parties explain case
cases
- Possible for jury of 8 to sit with judge…read more

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Fast track Multi track
Claims between £5000 ­ £25,000 needed a Claims for more than £25,000.
faster & cheaper method. Before Woolf
reforms, average wait was 85 weeks from issue - If started in country, it is
of claim to hearing in court. Cases were heard in country, can be
expensive, often costs were more than actual transferred to high
claim. - Heard by circuit judge
Improvement since 1999 - aim to have case - Can ask parties to try ADR
heard within 30 weeks.
- Heard by District judge
- Open court
- Formal procedure
- Hearing limited to 1 a day, number of expert
witnesses is 1…read more

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Queens bench division HIGH COURT Chancery division
President of QBD = Lord Chief Claims £25,000+ and for personal Head of division = Chancellor of high
Justice & 70 judges sitting injury £50,000+. ONLY multi-track court & 17 HCJ's
- Deals with contract & tort cases dealt here. - Mainly disputes concerned with:
cases £50,000+ - Expensive ­ court fees, lawyer - insolvency for companies &
- Tried by single judge, right fees. Can cost over £1000 to issue individuals enforcement of
to jury for fraud, libel, a claim here and another £1000 mortgages
slander, malicious set case for hearing - disputes relating to trust property
prosecution + false - Long time to process (average 3 - copyright + patents
imprisonment cases years) - intellectual property
- Jury consists of 12 members - contested probate actions
- Heard by single judge, never use
juries
Family division - Cost and delay same as QBD
Head = President & 17 HCJ assigned
- Hears wardship cases
- ALL cases relating to children
(Children Act 1989)
- Declarations of nullity of
marriage
- Grants probate in non
contentious probate cases
- Heard by single judge, used to
have juries not anymore…read more

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Lord Woolf recommended reforms in his report `Access to Justice' (1996)
- Be just in the results it delivers
- Be fair in the way it treats its litigants Lord Woolf criticised
- Offer appropriate procedures at a the system:
reasonable cost - Unequal
- Deal with cases at reasonable speed - Expensive
- Be understandable to those who use it - Slow
- Provide as much certainty as the nature of - Uncertain
the case allows - Complicated
- Be effective, adequately resourced and The
organised Woolf
reforms
303 recommendations, most important ones:
- Extending small claims to £3000 (£5000)
- Fast track to £10,000 (£15,000)
- Multi track cases £10,000+ with capping of costs
- Encourage used of ADR
- Give judges more responsibility for managing cases
- More use of information technology
- Simplifying documents & procedures, with a single set of rules
governing proceedings in High and Country court
- Shorter timetables for cases to reach court and length of trials…read more

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Overriding objective
26 April 1999 - Civil procedure rules (CPR) Rule 1.1 of CPR: `OO is to enable court to
- Use much simpler language than previous rules deal with cases justly' courts should try to:
- Changed vocab used in court cases, e.g.: `plaintiff' - Ensure parties on equal footing
now called `claimant' - Save expense
- Deal with cases in a propionate way to;
Judicial management of cases amount involved (avoid case costs being
Judges have more control over more than claim)
proceedings than before, set importance of case (major point of law?)
The
timetables to avoid unnecessary complexity of issues in case.
time waste, rule 1.4 of CPR `active
Woolf - Ensure the case dealt with quickly and
case management': reforms fairly
- Identify issues at an early stage - Allocate appropriate share of the court's
- Decide which issues need resources (small claims don't take up
investigation & trial more time than they justify)
- Encourage use of ADR Effects of Woolf reforms
- Deal with procedural steps - Culture of litigation has changed for better, cooperation between
without need for parties to parties improving
attend court - Delay improved however pre action protocols/pre issue work mean
- Give directions to ensure case that overall delay has not improved
proceeds quickly and efficiently - Case management conferences ­ major success of CPR
- Uniform procedure throughout country
- High rate of settlement from 60 ­ 80+ %
- Little or no increase of ADR
- Increased costs overall, fast-track costs unfair
- Courts under resourced & IT systems `primitive'…read more

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