◦ Need for a quick, simple and cheap way of making a claim in court.◦ Avoiding the cost of a case exceeding the remedy gained.◦ 1973 saw the introduction of the small claims procedure.◦ Limit for cases changed several times, stands at £5000 since 1999◦ 2007 limit still£5000 but £1000 for P.I.
PROCEDURE ◦ People are encouraged to bring their own case to prevent costs. ◦ Lawyers can be used to start the case and represent in the court but this adds cost. ◦ Winner of a case can not usually claim their legal costs so lawyers are discouraged. ◦ “lay Representatives” can be used for representation as they are unqualified and cheaper. ◦ District judges can hear these cases in private which allows them more flexibility. ◦ D. Judges will take a more inquisitorial and have been trained to handle these cases.
ADVANTAGES ◦ Costs of proceedings are low. ◦ Losing doesn’t mean having to pay other parties legal costs. ◦ Lawyers are not needed ◦ Fairly quick procedure. ◦ D. Judge helps people to explain their case properly.
DISADVANTAGES ◦ For cases over £1000 there is an allocation fee of £100 ◦ No legal funding for Lawyers although “no win no fee” available in some cases. ◦ If other party are a business they usually use a lawyer therefore this can lead to unfairness in court. ◦ John Baldwin research suggests that D. Judges are not very helpful. ◦ Only around 60% of people receive the money they are awarded.
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