There are 3 categories of cases known as tracks.
- Small claims track.
- Fast track.
The Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) vary depending on which track your case is allocated to.
The small claims track:
This is the track for most claims up to £10,000 which will be heard in the County Court. It also covers certain low value personal injury claims of £1,000 or less by tenants of residential premises against their landlords, where the injury is caused by a failure to make repairs to the premises, subject to certain conditions. On this track a successful party is not able to recover their costs from the loser unless there are exceptional circumstance. The use of lawyers on this track is discouraged. It is intended to increase access to justice and make for a level playing field.
The fast track:
This is usually for claims between £10,000 and £25,000. It applies if the court considers that;
- The trial is not likely to last more than one day.
- Oral expert evidence will be limited to one expert per party in relation to any specialised field.
- The case involves no more than two different fields of expert knowledge in total.
There will be fixed timetables and fixed costs. The cost structures are aimed at streamlining lawyer involvement and/or assisting the parties where possible to do most of the work without assistance from lawyers.
This is the standard track for all other cases. When a case is allocated to this track the court may give directions about case management and specify a timetable or fix a case management conference. At a case management conference, the court will set a trial date or specify a period within which the trial will take place.
When allocating a case to a particular track the court will consider;
- The value of the claim.
- The legal remedy asked for.
- The complexity of the case.
- The number of parties involved.
- The value and strength of any counterclaim.
- The volume of oral evidence that may be needed.
- The importance of the case.
- The views of the parties.
Claims with no monetary value will be allocated to the track which the judge considers to be most suitable.