Top 10 Tips – Issuing and Serving the Claim

Issuing and serving a Claim Form and Particulars of Claim is the first step that you will need to take once you have decided to pursue your claim at Court. We remind our readers that this step should not be taken without first complying with the relevant Pre–Action Protocol as discussed in our last post “Top Ten Tips – The Pre-Action Stage of Litigation”.

Issuing proceedings at Court is generally a last resort when pre-action correspondence has failed to resolve the matter. It is not a step that should be taken lightly but it is sometimes the only way to bring about a conclusion to the dispute. With that in mind, our Top Ten Tips for issuing a claim at Court are as follows. 

1. Issue in the right forum – the first thing to check is that the English courts have jurisdiction to deal with your claim. Next, to avoid any delay with your claim being issued, you need to establish which of the various courts within the English court system is the correct Court to deal with your claim. This will depend on the subject matter of the dispute and its financial value, if any.    

2. Dispute clauses in contracts– if your dispute arises from a contract, check that there are no provisions within the contract that require the parties to engage in a form of alternative dispute resolution such as arbitration or mediation before the issue of Court proceedings.

3. Expert Counsel – if your claim is a high value and complex matter, we recommend that it is drafted by an expert barrister. Their advice on the merits of the claim and any potential weaknesses should be sought as early as possible. You should budget for this expense in addition to your solicitors’ costs.

4. Court issue fee – A fee is payable to the Court when a claim is issued. The amount of the fee is dependent on the value of the claim, the Court in which proceedings are issued and the subject matter of the dispute. The fee can vary from £35 to £10,000.

5. The Claim Form – Prior to commencing a claim, you will need to determine which claim form to use. The standard form is a Part 7 Claim Form which is used if you are seeking a monetary remedy or non-monetary relief that falls within the jurisdiction of either the County Court or the High Court. The claim form must set out your full name and address, the Defendant’s full name and address a concise statement of the nature of the claim, the remedy being sought and, if the claim is for money, the value of the claim and any interest claimed in respect of that sum. The claim form must also include an address at which the Defendant may be served. 

6. The Particulars of Claim – The claim form must include or be accompanied by Particulars of Claim. For your solicitor or barrister to draft the Particulars of Claim, you should be clear about the following information:

  • What is the basis of the legal claim you are making?
    • What is the factual background to the claim?
      • What remedy are you seeking (e.g. money, an injunction, a declaration, etc.)
        • Are you entitled to claim interest?
        • 7. Anticipate the Defence – It is a good tactic to address any keys points in your Particulars of Claim that are likely to be pleaded in the Defence.  You should be aware of these issues if the Defendant complied with the Pre-Action Protocol and responded properly to your Pre-Action Protocol Letter.  If you do not know what the likely Defence is going to be then this may be an indication that you are issuing the claim prematurely.

          8. Serving the Claim – Once your claim has been issued, it will need to be served on the Defendant. If a claim is issued in the County Court, the court will serve the claim on the Defendant unless you ask for it to be sent back to you or your solicitor to serve. In the High Court, the issued claim will be sent back to your solicitor for them to serve.  The relevant time periods for serving a claim are as follows:

          • If the claim is being served within the jurisdiction, it must be served on the Defendant within 4 months of issue.
            • If the claim is being served outside the jurisdiction, it must be served on the Defendant within 6 months of issue.
            • 9. Reputational damage – You should consider any impact that  issuing proceedings might have on your reputation.  The power of social media can be very damaging so you ought to bear  in mind if there is any risk to you or your business reputation that may outweigh the benefit of issuing proceedings.

              10. Next steps – Once you have issued your claim, you will be at the start  of your litigation journey.  Follow our future posts for more tips on the various stages of that journey.

              If you are contemplating taking legal action in respect of a dispute, contact the Dispute Management team at Lupton Fawcett who will be happy to discuss your matter with you and advise you on the appropriate course of action to take if you have decided to  issue  court proceedings. Contact us today at 0333 323 5292 for expert guidance and support.



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