Issue and Service of Proceedings


Where to sue?

The first questionis whether to issue proceedings in the High Court or County Court.

High Court or County Court?

The general rule is that, for money claims, there is no financial upper limit on the value of claims which can be heard in the County Court. However, CPR provide further guidance to assist lawyers in determining the appropriate court. In summary:

  • if the claue of the claims exceeds £100,000, the client may choose either the High or the County Court;
  •  claims for £100,000 or less be started in the County Court;
  • there are seperate rules which apply to personal injury claims. Only those equal to or in excess of £50,000 may begin in the High Court.

Where the value of the claim provides the claimant with a choice of court, the High Court should only be used if:

  • the claim is complex; and/or
  • the outcome of the case is important to the general public. 

However, the High Court may itself transfer the claim to the County Court.

Who to sue?

Before commencing proceedings, it is important to check that you are suing the correct party and CPR set out the rules in the regard.

Children and protected parties

There are special safeguards for children and mental patients (as defined by the Mental Capacity Act 2005) because these individuals are considered in law to be unable to make the decisions required of adult litigants. 

Generally, children and proteced parties have to be represented in litigation by some responsible person, who is called their litigation friend. For children, this is usually a parent. A litigation friend should be someone who can fairly and competently conduct proceddings on behalf of the child or protected party and who has no adverse interest. Settlements by or on behalf of children and protected parties will not be valid without the approval of the court.


Companies, Partnerships and sole traders are all business entities and particular court rules apply to them.

Partnerships are arrangements by which businesses are carried on by two or more persons with a view to profit. Many professional businesses, such as solicitors and accountants, operate as such. 

A partnership has no legal identity of its own and to avoid having to name and serve all the partners individually, the rules state that the claim can be brought against the partnership name. 

Sole traders

Sole traders are simply individuals engaging in business, although they will often use a  business names. A sole trader must:

  • sue in their personal name; but
  • be sued in either their own name or their business name.


Limited liability companies (and limited liability partnerships) have seperate legal identity.

In proceedings it is therefore essential tha the correct registered name of the company is used. There is no point in suing either the directors or the shareholders.

No company has exactly the same name as another. However, companies often have very similar names and it is quite easy to sue the wroong company if a minor…


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