Within a civil claim form, the claimant is required to note down the value of the claim, this, as well as the complexity of the facts of the case, will decide where the claim will be heard, and by what judge. It also aids in securing possible Alternative Dispute Resolutions that may be available and applicable to the case. By having different directions for each claim to follow, ultimately decreases your legal fees, decreases unnecessary court time, and eases the stress on both the Claimant and the Defendant. These are encapsulated within three directions:
- The Small-Claims Track: Claims are under a value of £10,000.
- The Multi-Claims Track: Claims are of a value of £25,000 or higher.
- The Fast-Claims Track: Claims are between the value of £10,000 and £25,000.
The Fast-Claims Track cases often involve more complicated issues than within the Small-Claims Track or the Multi-Claims track, where they will often have to be individually decided and worked-through. More often than not, Fast-Claims Track trials will last no more than one day, as the facts of the cases are dealt with differently.
Once your claim has been allocated within this track, you will be sent a notice of the trial date by the court, no later than 21 days before the trial is due to begin.
The judge will often decide the specific directions to be taken after the claim has been allocated within the Fast-Claims Track, but often follows the following structure:
- Disclosure – Within 4 weeks from allocation
- Exchanging Witness Statements – Within 10 weeks from allocation
- Exchanging Expert Reports (where permitted) Within 14 weeks from after allocation.
- Court to send out pre-trial checklists – Within 20 weeks from allocation.
- Deadline for returning pre-trial checklists – Within 22 weeks from allocation.
- Final hearing (trial) – Within around 30 weeks from allocation.
The Pre-Trial Checklist is a form to be completed by you and will aid in helping the judge to decide if any further actions are required prior to the trial. It will also ask you to confirm if you have completed all of the necessary actions before the trial begins.
The case may be heard within a Judge’s room, or within a courtroom, this is decided upon the Judge’s discretion where you will be notified prior.
During the hearing here, the Judge will often hear from the claimant first, then the defendant. Each person and/or their legal adviser will be given the opportunity to cross-examine the individual speaking, by asking questions regarding their statement’s contents.
The Judge will then make their decision once all the evidence has been given. If the Judge requires more time, you will be told at the trial, or via a court notice of a ‘reserving the judgment’, which allows the judge more time to come to their decision. You will be made aware of the new time, date and place for where the decision will be given. Their decision, and any further necessary information will be marked in a court order.