Small Claims Court
The small claims court is a local court in which claims for small sums of money can be heard and decided quickly and cheaply, without legal representation.
The Small claims court Procedure, are for claims of financial value of under £10,000
There is no requirement for a person to seek the advice of, or be represented by, a lawyer and in a simple case of debt you may not consider it necessary to consult a solicitor. However, it is always advisable to seek the advice of a solicitor.
Claims such as personal injury claims, can be complicated and it may be preferable to get some professional help and advice no matter what the value of your claim. For this type of claim there is a “pre-action protocol” which sets out the steps the court will expect you to have taken before you issue your claim. It involves things such as writing to the person you are claiming from to set out the details of your claim, exchanging some evidence, allowing them to see your medical records if your claim is for personal injury and trying to agree the medical expert you will use.
Remember that you also have to prove your claim. To do this you will need evidence, for example a report from your doctor, or statements from witnesses who saw your accident. You will also need to make a realistic assessment of the amount of damages you are seeking. It may save you time and money to first ask a solicitor if it is worth making a claim and, if it is, how best to prepare it, what evidence you need and what amount of damages to ask for.
There are a number of other pre-action protocols, such as for construction and engineering disputes, defamation, resolution of clinical disputes, professional negligence and judicial review.
Information can be obtained from the Supreme Court Registry, 277 Main Street, Gibraltar or as civil procedure in Gibraltar is similar to England and Wales, copies may also be obtained from the Department for Constitutional Affairs' website.
If you are claiming on behalf of a limited company you may need a solicitor to go to the hearing for you. This will depend on how much money you are claiming and the type of hearing.
Where do I go to start a claim
You can “issue” or start a claim at the Supreme Court of Gibraltar, 277 Main Street, Gibraltar; telephone number +350 75608.
The Supreme Court Registry is open between 0930 to 1600, Monday to Friday from the 1st October to the 30th June. Between the 1st July and the 30th September, the hours are 0900 to 1300 Monday to Friday. There is a public counter where court staff can receive claims and provide information on court procedures.
What is the procedure
In general, to start a claim you must complete a claim form (Form N1) which can be obtained from the Court Service website.
This form includes notes for guidance for the claimant and the defendant (the person, firm or company against whom the claim is being made). Court staff can help with filling in the form. The notes for guidance give details of the information that should be included with your claim.
Once you have completed the form you should make one copy for yourself, one for the court and one for each defendant you are claiming from. Once the Supreme Court Registry has issued the claim form, it will be returned to you so that you can send each defendant a copy. A defendant should also be sent an Acknowledgement of Service Form and Response Pack.
How much will it cost
There are 2 ways you can deal with your claim:-
1. By means of a hearing before the Registrar. At the hearing, you get the opportunity to represent yourself and be heard. The fee for this type of claim will depend on the value of the claim.
If the claim does not exceed £300, the fee is £35.00
From £300 - £500, the fee is £50.00
From £500 - £1000, the fee is £70.00
From £1000 - £1,500, the fee is £80.00
From £1,500 - £3,000, the fee is £95.00
From £3,000 - £5,000, the fee is £120.00
From £5,000 - £10,000, the fee £245.00
2. By filing any evidence and presenting your case in writing. This method attracts a fee of £50.
Each party must bear their own costs.
Once claim forms filed at Court the Court issues to Claimant Notice of Issue, the Claimant has to let Courts know who is to serve the Defendant:
The courts serve by normal mail at no charge (although this may result in Defendant denying receipt) in this case the Courts will send the Defendant
1. Completed and stamped claim form
2. Response pack with guidance notes (includes Acknowledgement of Service)
If the Claimant wishes to serve the Defendant they may do so within 14 days with the following
1. Completed stamped claim form
2. Certificate of Service
3. Response pack with guidance notes (includes Acknowledgement of Service)
If the Claimant serves Defendant, once the Defendant has been served Claimant needs to file with Court the Certificate of Service
If Defendant does not respond to the claim:
It is the responsibility of the Claimant to request Judgement in Default (an Order made by the Clerk requesting funds either forthwith or in instalments)
If the Defendant does not respond to the Order within 2 weeks the Claimant may request Judgement Summons. Once this has been filed the Court will issue date for hearing. The fees for this are 10p per £1, minimum £7 maximum £12.
If Defendant returns Acknowledgement of Service to Courts: - they have an extra 14 days to file defence/counterclaim - the Courts will issue to both parties Notice that the Acknowledgement of
Service has been filed
If the Defendant: - does not dispute the claim this may be settled between both parties - disputes part or all of the claim the Courts will send both parties copies completed Notice Defence/Counterclaim has been filed.
If both parties still dispute the claim there will be a hearing.
CAB SERVICE AIMS TO
Ensure that individuals do not suffer through lack of knowledge of their rights and responsibilities or of the services available to them or through an inability to express their needs effectively.