Why may a civil claim be made?
Because a person may feel their rights have been infringed
Before going to court what do many people usually
Seek legal advice from a solicitor and get them to write to the other party.
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
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
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.
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.
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
Give five aims that Lord Woolf set for the new sys
- Be Just
- Be Cheap
- Be Fair
- Be Quick
- Be Ceartain
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
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
What three tracks where introduced after 1999 to d
- Small Claims Track
- Fast Track
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)
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
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
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
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
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
Describe the High Court (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
Describe the High Court (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
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
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
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
- 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
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