How does case allocation work in court?

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Cases in civil hearings are allocated to one of three different claim tracks depending on the amount being claimed, the complexity of the case and time it will approximately take to resolve the case. Once the court receives the defence, the court will serve on the parties a notice of proposed allocation. This notice will state which track the claim is provisionally allocated to based on the claim form, the particulars of claim and the defence.

The notice of proposed allocation will be accompanied by a directions questionnaire. Within the directions questionnaire, the claimant and the defendant must provide information about disclosure of documents, the witnesses and expert witnesses they wish to rely on, the approximate budget of the proceedings, how long the final hearing is likely to take and whether they have followed the pre-action protocol. The completed directions questionnaire will help the court place the case in the appropriate claims track. 

Small Claims Track

A claim will be allocated to the small claims track if the claim is for a value below £10,000. A personal injury claim with a value below £10,000 and a value for damages for injuries below £1,000 will be allocated to the small track. A claim from a tenant of a residential premise against their landlord will be allocated to the small claims track provided that the claim meets certain qualifications. The qualifications are that the tenant is seeking an order for the landlord to carry out repair or other works to the property, the cost of the repair or work is below £1,000 and the value of any other claim for damages is below £1,000. Cases in the small claims track are usually heard before a District judge or a Circuit judge in the judge’s chambers (office). The hearings are more informal with no strict rules on evidence and disclosure so parties can represent themselves. 

Fast Claims Track 

A claim will be allocated to the fast claims track if the claim is valued between £10,000 to £25,000. In order for it to be allocated to fast claims track, the estimated time required for the final hearing must also be no longer than 1 day (5 hours). Claims in the fast claims track will be limited to one oral expert evidence per party and the experts can come from a maximum of two expert fields. Claims in the fast claims track will have much stricter rules on disclosure, evidence and witnesses.  

Multi-track

Claims with a value over £25,000 will be allocated to the multi-track. If a claim cannot be dealt with in small claims track or fast claims track, it will be allocated to the multi-track. Claims that are allocated to the multi-track tend to be more complex. Claims in the multi-track also have stricter rules on disclosure, evidence and witnesses. Multi-track proceedings tend to be longer than claims in the small claims track and the fast claims track due to the complexity of the cases. 

How can Legal Utopia help

You can use Legal Utopia to get more information on the different tracks. The Legal Utopia app provides more detailed information on the different steps within the claims tracks. The app will also inform you on the different rules on disclosure, cost management, witnesses and expert witnesses and the trial itself. 

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