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Kristina Stoddern on the increased limit on small claims

Justice secretary Ken Clarke has recently increased the limit for small claims from £5,000 to £10,000, a move that is anticipated to create as many as 80,000 new cases for the small claims court each year.

The limits could rise again to £15,000 in future, subject to review.

Mr Clarke says the changes have been implemented to make the system as easy and transparent as possible, and to allow disputes to be resolved cheaply and in a way that is not intimidating to those making a claim.

Of course, this should be welcomed. But the new limit could still affect claimants in different ways.

Currently, if the value of a claim is £5000 or more and the claimant wins their case, they will recover their costs from the defendant.

If the limit is raised, people who are owed up to £10,000 may be facing a situation where they cannot afford to pay their solicitor to represent them.

And without a solicitor, those heading to the small claims court may have a good claim, but a poor grasp of law or procedure means a good case could still be lost through poor preparation or a lack of representation.

Claims of less than £10,000 can be quite technical, so it must be remembered that value alone does not mean a claim is straight forward.

Kristina Stoddern is a partner at Maxwell Hodge solicitors and a specialist in civil litigation, mediation and personal injury. Maxwell Hodge is one of Merseyside’s leading law firms, operating from offices throughout the region.


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