Small Claims Court

Deciding whether to make a claim

The small claims court is a…

  • simple
  • informal and relatively
  • cheap

way of taking legal action to claim money that you’re owed.

But it’s a good idea to explore all your other options before going to the small claims court. So for a bad debt, you should use all the other credit-control and debt-management techniques at your disposal.

Remember that you’re unlikely to keep a customer you pursue through the courts. It may be better to accept a small loss and retain a large client than risk offending them by taking legal action.

Even if making a claim seems the only answer, you should consider what your chances are of winning. In many cases your claim may not be disputed. But in others, it could be difficult to prove your customer is at fault – if they have evidence that the reason they haven’t paid is because you supplied faulty goods, for example.

You should also remember that you can’t be certain of receiving the money owed to you – let alone any costs or expenses – if the person or company you’re taking action against has no assets or a history of bad debt.

Credit-reference agencies should be able to give you a credit rating for the defendant as well as details of any unpaid county court judgments against them.

Small Claims Court business advice based on Crown Copyright © 2004-2013

This small business advice article covers the Small Claims process in England & Wales. The Small Claims process in Scotland can be found at the Scottish Courts web site

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1 Comment

  1. I have been cheated out of £10,000. Can I still take this to the small claims court?

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