County Court

The County Court deals with civil law, not criminal law. Examples of cases which are normally dealt with in the County Court include:

  • a tenant making a claim against a landlord for the return of a housing deposit
  • a consumer claiming compensation for faulty goods or services
  • housing eviction cases
  • personal injury cases
  • bankruptcy

There are three different routes through the County Court. These are known as tracks. The decision on which track a case is allocated to is taken by a judge. The decision is based on the value of the claim and the complexity of the case.

  • The Small Claims track is normally used for less complex cases with a value of up to £10,000.
  • The Fast track is normally used for claims of between £10,000 and £25,000.
  • The Multi track is normally used for complex claims with a value of £25,000 or more.

Most civil cases for claims less than £10,000 come under the Small Claims track in the County Court. The Student Advice Centre has experience in dealing with Small Claims cases and can help students at every stage of the process, including representation at court hearings. This service is free. Alternatively, solicitors and legal advisers who have contracts with the Legal Services Commission can provide advice and assistance (but not normally representation at Small Claims hearings) under the Legal Help scheme. To find out if you qualify for free legal help visit the Civil Legal Advice website.

Making a Small Claim

The Student Advice Centre can help students claim online and complete claims forms.

Money claims can be made online or by completing form N1. If you make your claim using a form you need to send your completed form to the County Court Money Claims Centre (CCMCC).

When you make a claim you will have to pay a fee. The amount of the fee depends on the value of your claim. If you cannot afford to pay the fee you can ask to be assessed to see if you qualify for a fee reduction or waiver (known as a remission). You need to complete form EX160. You cannot do this if you are claiming online. If you have to pay fees and you win your case, the amount of the fees will be added to the amount the defendant is ordered to pay you.

Further information on making a claim for money is available here.

Defending a Claim

Do not ignore any claim that is made you as you only have a limited time in which to reply. If you do nothing a County Court Judgement could be registered against you without further notice. This will make it difficult for you to obtain credit in the future.The claim form comes with a response pack which you need to complete. You must normally reply within 14 days. This deadline can be extended to 28 days in some circumstances.

When replying you can –

  • pay the full amount claimed
  • admit all or part of the claim and ask for time to pay
  • dispute the claim and submit a defence
  • make a counterclaim

Advice on defending a claim is provided HM Courts and Tribunals Service.

Page last updated 3rd January 2017