Civil Cases

AS Law - Civil Cases

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  • Created by: Ben
  • Created on: 05-04-12 10:59

Why may a civil claim be made?

Because a person may feel their rights have been infringed

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Before going to court what do many people usually

Seek legal advice from a solicitor and get them to write to the other party.

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What should be considered when choosing a court?

- Cost of the court fee
- Your legal chances of winning the case
- Considering how much it will cost if you loose  

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How is a court case started?

You must first make sure that the pre-action plan is completed where all the evidence, costs and other legal requirements are made so that you're ready to persue the case

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Which courts could be used and what are the differ

The choices are High Court and County Court for starting all civil claims

County Court - If the claim is less that £25,000 then it must go to the county court unless it is a personal injury claim, which can go to the county court for claims under £50,000

High Court - For claims over £25,000 (or over £50,000 with personal injury) and is where defamation actions much be started e.g. slander, flase acusations etc. 

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How to register your claim?

You can register your claim at any country court, or high court district within in the country - where you have to hand in a filled out copy of the N1 form.

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What were some problems with the Civil Court syste

Before 1999 (Woolf Reforms):

- Length of time before case reached court
- Too Expensive
- The adversarial Process was bad
- To Complex
- Too much injustice 

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Give five aims that Lord Woolf set for the new sys

- Be Just

- Be Cheap

- Be Fair

- Be Quick

- Be Ceartain 

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What does 1.1 of the Civil Procedure Rules state?

- Parties have equal power
- Save Costs
- Deal with the case proportionate to its size
- Ensure case is dealt with quickly
- Allocate an appropriate share of the courts resources 

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Name three things that the Lord Chancellors depart

- The culture of litigation had improved for the better, where parties were no cooperative towards one another

- There were mixed views over whether delays had been reduced

- There was a more uniform procedure across the country 

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What three tracks where introduced after 1999 to d

- Small Claims Track
- Fast Track
- Multi-Track 

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Describe features of Small Claims Track?

- For low value, straight forward cases

- Claims bellow £5,000

- Hearings take no more than half an hour

- Legal representation is discouraged to keep costs down

- No expert witnesses without permission

- No costs will be awarded (which keeps it cheap)

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Small Claims?

- Proceedings costs are low

- If you loose you will not have to pay the other sides costs

- The procedure is quick than for other cases


- For cases over £1,500 an allocation fee of £35 must be paid

- Legal funding for paying for a layer is not available

- Where the other side is a businesses, they're more likley to use a laywer

- Only 60% of claimants ever receive all the money awarded by the courts

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Describe the Fast Track system?

Fast Track proceedure:

- This is where claims are made between £5,000 and £25,000

- Its aim is to provide a faster way for people wanting to claim these amounts of compensation (as pre-1999 it took much longer than it does now)

- They are usally started in the County court but can be appealed to the High courts 3 divisions depending on their subject of the matter

- Personal injury cases between £1,000 and £25,000 can also be solved via the fast track proceedure

- Fast track means that the court will lay down very tight and strict times for procedures to be carried out, and timetabling will be also be strict. 

- Aims are to have the case heard within 30 weeks of allocation

- The actual trial will usually be heard by a circuit judge, in the County court, but appeals will go to High Court judges

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Describe the Multi track system?

- This is for claims more than £25,000 

- If the case was started in the County court, then it is likely to be tried there, but they can progress to the High Court on appeal - especially on claims for over £50,000

- The circuit judge must manage the case from the start, before allocation has arisen

- It is sometimes possible that the parties are asked to use ADR to help save them on costs

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Roles of the County Court?

- To hear cases between £5,000 and £25,000

- To hear contract, tort and inheritance cases up to the value of £30,000

- Some can hear divorce, bankruptcy, low level claims and admirality cases under the Race Relations Act 1976

- They can try small claims, fast and multi track proceedures and has a much greater work load than the High Court

- All cases can be heard publically except for family cases (protection under Childrens Act 1989)

- Juries rarely sit in the County court

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Roles of the High Court (QBD)?

The QBD in the High Court deals with:

- Tort and Contract (over £50,000)

- Only multitrack cases should be dealt with in the High Court

- Defamation cases (e.g. slander, false imprisonment and malicious prosection) are tried in the QBD of the county court

- The cases in the High court are time consuming and are expensive (around 3 years long from start to finish)

-  The QBD also has a commercial division for banking and business disputes etc.

- The QBD also has an admirality court to deal with civil claims surrounding the topic of nautical transportation e.g. shipping accidents and loss of goods

- The QBD also carries out the duties of Judical review on other inferior courts bellow it 

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Describe the High Court (Chancery Division)?

Chancery Division:

- Lord chancellor is the head but usually it is led by the vice Lord Chancellor

- It deals with matters such as insolvency, or liquidation for businesses. Mortgage enforcement is also dealt with here. 

- Law on property, copyright and patents are also sent to the Chancery division

- Juries are never used for the Chancery division

- The criticisms of cost and time are relevant here as they are in the QBD

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Describe the High Court (Family Division)

Family Division:

- This is where cases relating to children, divorce, custody, nulity of marriage are heard

- Cases are heard by a single judge and juries are now no longer used in this division

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What were the top recommendation being made by the

- Small claims should be extended to £3,000

- A fast track system needed putting in place

- A multitrack system needed putting in place

- Encouraging the use of alternative dispute resolution

- Giving judges mor responsiblity for managing the case

- More use of information technology

- Simplifying documents and procedures in both High and County Courts

- Shorter timetables

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Effects of the Woolf Reforms?

- litigation culture had improved for the better (with more cooperation between parties)

- there were mixed views over whether the delay had been reduced

- cases were managed better by judges

- there was a more uniform procedure across the country

- there was a very high rate of the settlement, often more than 60 percent and in some courts 80 percent

- no increase in ADR

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Appeals from the county court?

- For fast track appeals the case is handed from the district jugdge to the circuit judge or from the circuit judge to the high court judge

- for final decisions on a multi-track decision the case is usually sent from the county court to the court of appeal

Appeals from Small claims:

- In order to comply with article 6 of the ECHR (european convention on human rights) small claims were able appealable and works the same way as an appeal for fast track cases

Second Appeals:

 -  Under s 55 of the Acess to Justice Act appeals to the COA can only be made if it involves a point of law/statutory interpretation or for any other compelling reasons

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Appeals from the High Court?

- Appeals from the High court go to either the COA or leapfrog to the Supreme Court

- The points of law must involve statutory interpretation or binding precedent in order to qualify for an appeal

- The leapfrog from the High court to the Supreme court can only happen if the Supreme Court and the COA give their full consent for this to happen

- Further appeals can be made to the ECJ (European Courts of Justice) if the law involves the interpretation of EU law. 

- All appeals from the High court are usually Multi-track cases

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