Procedures During Hearing & The Court’s Decision
SMALL CLAIM TRACK
ACID GUIDE TO NEW SMALL CLAIMS TRACK FOR BUSINESSES WITH IP DISPUTES Message from Dids Macdonald, CEO of ACID: “Welcome to ACID’s easy to understand guide to the Small Claims Track (SCT). A key lobbying objective of ours, was to provide micro and small businesses access to a cost and time effective means of taking legal action for small claims. Well, here it is...... A new small SCT has been introduced to the Patents County Court (PCC),which will speed up the court process and make it easier to protect their Intellectual Property (IP) rights for claims up to £5000.” For any further help please do not hesitate to contact the ACID helpline 0845 644 3617 or email email@example.com
What is a Small Claim? How Do I Begin? Completing the Application Form What Happens Next? Procedures During Hearing The Court’s Decision
What is a Small Claim?A Small Claim is one where the value of the claim is not morethan £5000•Claims for Copyright•Claims for Trademarks•Claims for Unregistered Designs•Claims for Passing offExcluded Claims:• Patents• Registered Design How Do I Begin? The first thing you must do is to decide if issuing a small claim is the best way for you to proceed. There are a number of points you should consider. 1. Have you tried to settle your claim with the respondent directly? 2. If you are successful in your claim will you be able to recover the money? Please Note: The court does not pay the amount that is awarded; it only decides who is liable TIP 1: The PCC encourages parties to mediate. Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediate to Resolve TIP 2: 3 ways of LEGAL REPRESENTATION Self representation with a colleague Legal advisor Pro-bono legal assistance
How Do I Begin? Completing the Application FormIt is important to give all the necessary information. This will assist in processing your claim and will make it easier toenforce a decree if one is granted.CLAIM FORM1. Note down the correct details a. APPLICANT: the complainant. You must give your full company details and contact numbers. b. RESPONDENT: the person against whom the claim is made. It is important that you ensure that the information you give in this section is accurate. If it is a LTD or PLC . c. AMOUNT OF CLAIM: This must not exceed £5000. Even if you are unsure of the amount you wish to claim you must estimate a figure and insert it on the form. d. PARTICULARS OF THE CLAIM: In this section you should set out the facts of your case clearly and simply. e. STATEMENT OF TRUTH: You should be aware that anyone signing this statement of truth must believe that the facts stated in the form are true. If a part or parts of it are untrue then you may be held in contempt of court and may face a fine or imprisonment.2. What type of proof do you have? Gather Evidence.3. Do you have any witnesses who will support your claim?4. Submit to PCC What Happens Next?
What Happens Next?1. PCC will perform an administrative check. If there are any difficulties with the form they will return it to yousetting out the amendments or further details required.2. PCC will send the Respondent a copy of the application form and a Response Pack with the return date marked onit. The time limit set for the reply to defence is 28 days from the service of the defence. a. If there is no dispute on the allocation, the court will give directions on paper without a preliminary hearing, and fix a date for the final hearing. If that is not possible, various alternative orders may be made. b. If there is a dispute, PCC will determine the allocation. You will receive a “Notice of Dispute/counterclaim”. The court may re-allocate a case proceeding on one track in the PCC to the other track. Should the respondent disagree, PCC will give appropriate directions.3. At this stage there are various choices available to the respondent: a. They can settle the claim directly with you b. They can admit liability for the claim c. They can dispute liability for the claim then 2a and 2b may be applied d. They can counterclaim e. They might ignore the claimThe Next step will be determined by what the respondent chooses to do and a number of other factors.• Parties will be given at least 14 days notice. At a preliminary hearing, PCC will fix a date for a final hearing (if thathas not already been done), inform the parties of the amount of time allowed for the final hearing and give anyappropriate directions.• If your claim has been disputed/counterclaim has been issued.The judge will explain for your case is to be heard. You will get an opportunity to put questions to the respondent andto his or her witnesses if there are any. When all parties and witnesses have been heard, the judge will make adecision there and thenPROCEDURES IN THE SMALL CLAIM TRACK Procedures During Hearing
Procedures During HearingThe judge may in particular:1. Ask questions of any witness himself before allowing any other person to do so.2. Ask questions of all or any of the witnesses himself before allowing any other person to ask questions of any witnesses.3. Refuse to allow cross-examination of any witnesses until all the witnesses have given evidence in chief4. Limit cross examination of a witness to a fixed time or to a particular subject or issue, or both.A hearing that takes place at the court will be tape recorded by the court. A party may obtain a transcript of such arecording on payment of the proper transcribers’ charges.Provisions are in place to enable a party to give notice that he/she will not attend a final hearing and sets out theeffect of his giving such notice and of not doing so. Nothing in the provisions affect the general power of the courtto adjourn a hearing, for example where a party who wishes to attend a hearing on the date fixed cannot do so fora good reason. The Court’s Decision If your claim is successful. The respondent will have to pay you the amount decided by the judge, the application fee and any other costs awarded by the judge. You and the respondent will receive a copy of the decree in the post, a few days after the hearing. This will state the amount of money awarded by the judge. If you are not successful. If the judge decides against you, the respondent will not be ordered to pay you anything, and you won’t get the application fee back that you paid. If the respondent has issued a counterclaim against you and the judge decides the counterclaim in the respondent’s favour then you will be ordered to pay the respondent an amount of money as well as the fee they paid for issuing the counterclaim. You may also be required to pay other costs awarded by the judge. You and the respondent will receive a copy of the decree in the post, a few days after the hearing. This will state the order of the court given by the judge. Please Note: The court does not pay the amount that is awarded, it only decides who is liable.
Glossary• Acceptance of Liability - This is when the claim. • Statement of Truth - This is the declaration respondent admits liability for the claim. The • Fee - This is the amount of money paid by that the contents of the document are true. respondent completes a form admitting the the applicant to start the small claims Proceedings for contempt of court may be claim to the applicant. It may or may not process or the amount paid by the brought against a person who makes, or include a request to allow time to pay the respondent to issue a counterclaim. The causes to be made, a false statement in a amount claimed. successful party can usually add the fee paid document verified by a statement of truth• Allocation - The apportionment or to the amount of the decree. without an honest belief in its truth. designation of the claim for a specific • Liquidated Claim - One which has a fixed • Stay of Execution - This is the term used to purpose or to a particular place amount of money attached to it, for describe a decree that is made allowing the• Appeal - A proceeding brought to a higher example, a debt for goods supplied or for a respondent time to pay the amount of the court for review of a lower court decision. loan. The Civil Processing Centre will decide claim.• Applicant - The person making a claim. if your claim is liquidated. • Trademark - a device (as a word) pointing• Application - The form the applicant uses to • Notice of Dispute - This is a form completed distinctly to the origin or ownership of begin the case. by the respondent when disputing merchandise to which it is applied and legally responsibility for the claim. reserved to the exclusive use of the owner as• Assessment Hearing - This is a hearing at maker or seller which the judge will decide on the amount of • Party - This can mean either the applicant or the claim. the respondent. • Unliquidated Claim - One which has an estimated amount of money attached to it,• Civil Processing Centre - The office where • PCC – Patents County Court for example, for damage caused to property, the application for a small claim is processed. • Respondent - The person against whom the for repairs for damage caused or for faulty• Copyright - the exclusive legal right to claim is made. workmanship. The Civil Processing Centre reproduce, publish, sell, or distribute the • Return Date - This is the date by which a will decide if your claim is unliquidated. matter and form of something respondent must either submit a form• Counterclaim - A claim made by the accepting liability or a notice of dispute and / respondent in reply to the applicant’s claim or counterclaim. It will be clearly marked on which is not a defence to that claim. It is a the application form by the Civil Processing separate but related claim against the Centre. applicant, which is dealt with at the same • Small Claims Court - A court which deals time as the applicant’s claim. with small claims.• Decree - Written order made in a small • SCT – Smalls Claim Track
USEFUL LINKS• Copyright• Trademarks• Unregistered Designs• Passing Off• Patents• Registered Designs• Alternative Dispute Resolution• Mediate to Resolve• Legal Representation• PCC – Contact Details• Procedure in the SCT• Small Claims Application Form• ACID Website• Join ACID -