How to make a Claim through the County Courts
If someone owes you money and you cannot get them to pay up, you may be thinking of taking them to county court, but how easy is it to make a claim? Well, surprisingly it has become much easier as the government have now enabled online claims to take place. So you can either make the claim online, or download a form. Before making a claim however, you should give the other party a chance to pay by sending a final warning letter. If that does not work, then remember that although it is easier to make a claim now, taking court action can take months and can be expensive. You will have to spend valuable time getting your case ready, there are court fees to pay, and you may have to go back to court, and pay another fee, to enforce a judgment if you win but the other side won’t pay. Plus don’t forget that the person who owes you money may be unable to pay if they’re unemployed or bankrupt, or the company has been wound up. If you’re unsure about going ahead with a claim, you should always seek legal advice.
So, to make a court claim, you can either use the Money Claim Online website or download a form. It can be quicker and easier to make the claim online, which you can do in most cases. When making a claim you should ensure that you have read the guidance notes that come with each form, and make sure you fill out the forms properly. As the court staff can’t help you, if you need free legal help and advice you can go to the Citizens Advice.
If you are owed money you can claim interest on it. This is usually 8 per cent per year. To work out the interest, follow these steps:
Step one: work out the yearly interest
- Take the amount you’re claiming for and multiply it by 0.08 (that is, 8 per cent).
- For example, if you were claiming for £1,000, the annual interest on this would be £80 (1000 x 0.08 = 80).
Step two: work out the daily interest
- Divide your yearly interest from step one by 365 (the number of days in a year).
- In the example above, you would divide £80 by 365 to get the daily interest, which would be about 22p a day (80 / 365 = 0.2192).
Step three: work out the total amount of interest
- Multiply the daily interest from step two by the number of days the debt has been owed to you.
- In the above example, after 50 days this would be £10.96 (50 x 0.2192).
If you want to make your court claim online you must pay by debit or credit card, however, you may be able to get help with your fees if you’re on means-tested benefits, like Income Support. You can check whether you get help by reading the leaflet ‘Court fees – do I need to pay them?’ The fee is based on the amount you are claiming, including interest. Using Money Claim Online will be cheaper than sending the paper form. However, you can’t use Money Claim Online if you’re getting help with your fees. If you’re claiming online you must pay by credit or debit card, and fees can’t be refunded. If you’re using the paper form, you can pay using cash, a postal order or a cheque. Cheques should be made payable to ‘HM Courts & Tribunals Service’. You may have to pay extra court fees later on – for example, if there is a court hearing.
When you’ve filled in the form you need to send it to the following address:
County Court Money Claims Centre
PO Box 527
Make sure you have kept your own copy of the form.
After you’ve made your claim the person you’re making a claim against – the ‘defendant’ – will get a copy of the claim form, and a response pack (forms and guidance notes). You will be told if the claim form and response pack is returned unopened. The claim will still be valid if the address used is the last or only known address of the defendant.