5 Free Legal Resources for Making a Small Claim
We have compiled this list of the top five free legal resources for anyone making a small claim. With or without a lawyer, these are invaluable sites to give claimants an overview of the small claims process.
1. Gov.uk – this overview of the small claims process is invaluable if you are thinking of making a small claim. It tells you how to start a claim, tells you what the Court fees are, talks you through the process after you start your claim and even goes on to explain how you might enforce the Court’s judgment (Court ruling) if, and when, you win.
2. Companies House – make sure you are suing the right person! If you’ve contracted with someone (e.g. bought goods that aren’t right / had services supplied that you’re unhappy with) make sure you know who that someone is. Is it a “sole trader”? If so, bring a small claim against the person him/herself. Is it a company? Look it up on Companies House via this free web check service. Get the company name right and check out how healthy its finances look. There is no point bringing a small claim against an empty shell of a company. Your judgment is only worth as much as the Defendant can afford to pay. To get the name of the Defendant right, refer to any paperwork you’ve received (and if you’ve had no paperwork, consider whether there has been a breach of the Doorstep Selling Regulations – see number three below which could void the contract).
3. Legislation.gov.uk – an invaluable free way of looking up Acts of Parliament for anyone making a small claim. Particularly useful Acts are:
- The Sale of Goods Act 1979
- The Sale & Supply of Goods & Services Act 1982
- The Doorstep Selling Regulations
- Also bear in mind the Limitation Act. Useful for making sure your small claim is not so old, that you have run out of time.
4. British and Irish Legal Information Institute – this fantastic free legal resource provides access to British & Irish case law. You might want to refer to case law in your claim form when setting out why your small claim should be successful.
5. Moneyclaim.gov.uk – You’re nearly ready to go – this is where you start making a small claim.
With the above links freely available, you have many of the resources you will need to maximize your chances of success in making a small claim.
Please bear in mind that these tips are designed to help non-legally qualified individuals make small claims and are based on the law of England & Wales. Small claims are those claims which have a financial value of under £10,000. The small claims track (commonly known as the small claims court) is specifically designed to help members of the public make their own claims without the need to instruct solicitors.