Small claims, Fast and Multi track

The three tracks for making claims including proceedures, advantages and disadvantages of all three.

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Small claims

  • Small claims are normally used for disputes under £5000 except for personal injuries cases and housing cases where the limit is usually £1000.
  • The district judge is encouraged to be more inquisitorial & take an active role, asking questions & making sure both parties explain their points.  


  • low costs
  • If you lose the case you will not have to pay the othersides court costs
  • Do not need legal aid & can take the case themselves
  • Proceedure is quicker than for other cases. In 2008 it took 28 weeks from the issue of the claim to hearing, compared to 48 weeks for fast-track cases
  • Case managed by a district judge
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Small claims


  • Allocation fee  of £35 for claims over £1,500
  • No free legal aid avalible
  • Only 60% of cases won have recieved any of the money awarded at court
  • If the other side is a business they are likely to have a lawyer this can leave the unrepresented claiment at a disadvantage
  • District judges are not always helpful to unrepresented claiments
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  • Fast-track is normally used for straightforward disputes of £5000 - £25000. presonal injuries and housing cases worth £1000 - £25000 are also dealt with.
  • Before Lord Woolfs reforms the average wait for cases in 1998 was 85 weeks from issue of a claim to a hearing in court
  • Cases often ended up costing more than the amount being claimed
  • In 2008 the wait from issue of cliam to hearing was 48 weeks
  • The trial will be heard by a circut judge
  • The hearing is limited to one day in court and the number of witnesses restricted, usually with only one expert witness allowed
  • once a case is set down for hearing the aim is to have the case heard within 30 weeks
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  • For claims of more than £25000 the case will be allocate to the multi-track
  • If the case started in the county court it is likely that it will be heard there although it can be moved to the high court, especially for cases of more than £50000
  • The case will be heard by a circut judge who will also manage the case from the moment it is allocated to the multi-track route
  • The judge can set timetable & also ask the parties to try ADR so as not to waste court time & money
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