In everyday life we may become involved in a variety of disputes in which a claim can be made to a County Court. The County Court system works by allowing the public to take legal action against any wrongdoing.
County Courts, which are sometimes known as small claims courts, have to deal with all different types of civil action, which can include personal injury, any kind of discrimination, family issues, employment disputes, and financial or housing disputes.
Say for example that you were injured at work as the result of your employer’s negligence, or say for instance your employer, who owes you a back log of wages, is refusing to pay you. In either of these circumstances you would be able to make a claim for compensation against them.
Types of Claim
In England and Wales there are three main types of small claims, known as tracks, which can be taken depending on the dispute. The County Court will make the decision on which claims track should be used. The three tracks are as follows:
- small claims track – £5,000 or less
- fast track – £5,000-15,000
- multi-track – £15,000-50,000
Once a case is assigned to the best suited track the court proceedings can begin. The majority of cases will use the small claims track as it is a much cheaper and simpler way to take legal action. The bigger the claim, the more expensive the court fee will be.
In complex cases the judge may decide that a higher track may be better suited to the resolution of the dispute.
County Court Procedures
If your claim is not made to the County Court within 6 months of the day of the incident then it may not be possible to make a claim. Although in the more serious cases, an extension can be given on the time limit.
County Court procedures are started by sending a letter to the defendant offering them the option to make a settlement with the claimant. If the defendant can’t pay or refuses to pay then they will have to state their reasons in the court letter and send it back to the courts where legal action will take place.
Once a dispute reaches court, both parties will present their case to the judge in a private trial. Once the court hears all the evidence a decision will be made about how to settle the case.