The Process Explained

If someone owes you money, and you can prove it, you may have the basis of a valid claim – known as a Cause of Action.

The first stage, before involving any court processes, is to send them a Letter Before Claim (LBC). This is a formal document, which has to comply with the Civil Procedure pre-action protocols, and must set out exactly why and how much money is owed. Normally this will give the other party 14 days to pay up, or otherwise come back with a substantive response. Quite often, this alone is enough to prompt them into paying, with no further court action required. Once we have all the details of the case, we can draft this for you.

If no, or no satisfactory response is received to the LBC, you can go ahead and issue a Claim, which can be done online through the HMCTS Moneyclaim Online service at You will have to pay an issue fee, which varies according to the claim value. The current fees are;

Claim Value - Fee

Up to £300 - £25

£300.01 to £500 - £35

£500.01 to £1000 - £60

£1000.01 to £1500 - £70

£1500.01 to £3000 - £105

£3000.01 to £5000 - £185

£5000.01 to £10000 - £410

You are advised that the fees are recoverable if you win the case, but otherwise they are forfeited. The online claim form has limited space for particulars (1,080 characters), which is fine for straightforward matters, but for more complex cases we recommend filing Detailed Particulars within 14 days. We can draft your particulars of claim, and further particulars if required. 

The other party then has 14 days to Acknowledge Service of the Claim, and they can either admit the claim and pay you, or elect to defend it, in which case they have 28 days to file a Defence. If they fail to do either of these things, you can obtain a Default Judgment, which you can enforce if necessary using bailiffs – County Court bailiffs for amounts up to £600, and High Court Enforcement Officers for amounts over that.

If they decide to defend, you will be sent a copy of their Defence, which we will look at and give further advice about the strength of your case. If you decide to proceed, you must complete a Directions Questionnaire which will get the case transferred to the County Court nearest to you, if you are a private individual or sole trader. If you are a Limited Company, it will probably go to the Defendant’s home court.

The local court will set a date for the hearing, and a deadline for filing Witness Statements, which both sides must provide. We can draft this for you. You will also be asked to pay a hearing fee, for which the current charges are:

Claim Value - Fee

Up to £300 - £25

£300.01 to £500 - £55

£500.01 to £1000 - £80

£1000.01 to £1500 - £115

£1500.01 to £3000 - £170

Over £3000 - £335

If there has been no agreed settlement beforehand, you must attend court on the listed date to prove your claim, and we can be there to make the arguments on your behalf. See our ‘Courts Covered’ page for the applicable fees and costs.