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Small Claims Mediation or County Court - What's the Quickest Way?

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 26 Jun 2017 |
 
Small Claim Mediation Appointment Court

Q.

I am in severe financial difficulty with no job and my mortgage company heading towards repossession. I have made a claim through the county court against a bank in respect of unfair charges.

I have informed the bank of the FSA guidelines encouraging them to settle cases where the claimant is in financial difficulty. This advice is also mentioned on your web site.

The bank have lodged a defence and I have asked for an allocation questionaire to be completed to determine if the case should be dealt with by the small claims mediation sevice? Could you advise me what is quickest and more suitable?

(Mr Philip Routledge, 29 June 2009)

A.

The small claims court is supposed to be a quick and simple way to recover money, and from lodging proceedings to final outcome should only be about three months. This may sound like a long time, but in litigation it’s actually very quick. If you’ve been offered the mediation service this is likely to be quicker. Bear in mind that you have to agree to mediation and so does the bank. If one of you does not agree to go to mediation, the claim will continue as normal.

What is Mediation For?

Mediation is intended to allow both parties to a contested case to reach a settlement. Therefore, it is vital that you approach the meeting with a degree of flexibility. The bank will obviously be trying to get you to accept as little as possible by way of settlement, and if you are in financial difficulties you may take the view that some money now is better than none, or that you can’t wait for the case to be heard.

Be Assertive But Flexible

A mediation appointment is made that is convenient for both parties, and is usually conducted by telephone. Although there are undoubtedly successful outcomes to small claims mediation, bear in mind the fact that settlement is undoubtedly cheaper for the bank. Be prepared to be flexible, but remember that it will cost them money in legal fees to send a barrister or solicitor along to defend the claim. Newly qualified barristers usually get paid about £400 for defending these hearings, so it’s not exactly cheap. Then there are the administrative costs in preparing the claim for hearing – that will take up their staff’s time, and incur extra costs like photocopying etc.

If You Don't Settle the Claim

If your mediation appointment does not result in a settlement, the case will be listed for small claims hearing. The district judge will not know what happened during the mediation appointment as it’s confidential. However, you will have to pay the court fee for the hearing – the level of which will depend on the value of your claim.

What I’m essentially saying is that mediation can be quicker than waiting for your hearing to be listed, but you may accept less money by way of settlement than the amount you’ve claimed.

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[Add a Comment]
Notsure86 - Your Question:
My ex partner is forcing me to sell our house.she has left me with 23k of debt in my name in unsercured loans aswell.i can not afford the mortgage aswell as bills she stopped paying the bills.what can I do

Our Response:
The likes ofNational Debtline, StepChange Debt Charity and Citizens Advice will give you free, professional and impartial advice and support to help you minimize the financial damage and to explore your options.
AboutSmallClaims - 27-Jun-17 @ 2:20 PM
My ex partner is forcing me to sell our house.she has left me with 23k of debt in my name in unsercured loans aswell.i can not afford the mortgage aswell as bills she stopped paying the bills.what can I do
Notsure86 - 26-Jun-17 @ 6:52 PM
I am owed money (£255) from a person in Wales but I am located in Scotland. Which court will I turn to for my small claim?
ick - 3-May-17 @ 2:29 PM
Gags - Your Question:
If a claimant loses a case in a Small Claims Court and the defendant has engaged a solicitor, is the claimant responsible for the defendant's solicitor's fees and legal fees?

Our Response:
Please see link: Who Pays Court Costs and Fees? here and the CAB link here for more information.
AboutSmallClaims - 16-Feb-16 @ 11:35 AM
If a claimant loses a case in a Small Claims Court and the defendant has engaged a solicitor, is the claimant responsible for the defendant's solicitor's fees and legal fees?
Gags - 15-Feb-16 @ 5:51 PM
I currently work in an estate agency. the landlord pulled out of the deal a week before the move in. So we had to give back the couple that were about to move in there deposit and other funds back. They are now claiming money for wasting there time and stress. It is obviously not the agencies fault as the landlord pulled out. It is now being held as a small claims - I know have the option to either mediate or proceed with my defence. What would be more appropriate?
ik - 27-Aug-14 @ 11:32 AM
If a claimant loses a case in a Small Claims Court and the defendant has engaged a solicitor, is the claimant responsible for the defendant's solicitor's fees.
Malvis - 11-Aug-14 @ 4:48 PM
I am owed an £6000 for services rendered the debtor had signed to the terms and now has not paid anything. This is despite my constant reminder of the debt. I would like to have a mediator to solve this situation. Thankyou.
none - 19-Jun-14 @ 12:24 PM
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