How to approach the Small Claims Court

small claims court

In our previous post we discussed what the Small Claims Courts are and how they work. We gave information regarding who and what could be heard in the Small Claims Courts. You can read that post here. In this post we will discuss how you go about bringing a matter before the Court, assuming you can approach the Small Claims Court.

 

A caution

First thing to note when considering whether to approach the Small Claims Court is a cautionary principle. Make sure that the person you are suing is able to compensate you if the judgment is in your favour. It is pointless to claim against one who has no money to compensate you.

Steps to follow in taking a claim to the Small Claims Court

  • Contact the person with whom you have a dispute and ask them to settle your claim. This can be in person, by telephone or by writing.
  • If the person refuses to settle your claim, send them a letter of demand. In this letter, set out the facts of the dispute and the amount that you are seeking. You can deliver this letter by hand or registered post. The person has 14 days to settle your claim.
  • If the person does not settle the claim after 14 days, go to the clerk of the court. Go to the clerk of the Small Claims Court with a copy of the letter of demand and proof that it was delivered. Bring also any agreement between you and the other party that proves your claim. Finally, bring the other person’s personal and contact details.
  • A summons is prepared and delivered. The Clerk will prepare a summons which will force the other party to appear in court on a particular date. You or the sheriff will deliver the summons.
  • Go to the court hearing. On the day of your hearing, you must bring proof that the summons was delivered to the person you are claiming from. Ensure that you have all relevant documents. The process is informal and not complicated. Be prepared to tell your story and answer questions that the commissioner asks you.
  • Payment. If judgment is given in your favour, the other party will be required to pay immediately. If they can’t pay, the court will look into their financial position and determine a payment plan.
  • Failure to comply. If the other party does not settle the dispute as ordered, the matter will be referred to the Magistrates Court.

This is a simple outline for the steps you need to take. For a more detailed outline, please visit here.

Need help?

Need any legal advice before going to the Small Claims Court? Have a claim that exceeds the amount of the Small Claims Court? Please do not hesitate to contact us at info@gunstons.com.

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