Make a court claim for money
You can take court action against someone who owes you money and won’t pay. This is known as making a court claim. It can also be known as taking someone to a ‘small claims court’.
You usually have to pay a court fee, and you may not win your case or get your money back.
A mediation service could be quicker and cheaper than going to court. Mediation is when an impartial person helps 2 sides work out an agreement.
There is a different process for court claims in Scotland.
How to take court action
If you still want to take court action you can either:
It will be quicker and cheaper to make the claim online, which you can do in most cases.
Where to send the claim form
Send the claim form to:
County Court Money Claims Centre
PO Box 527
You’ll need to include payment for the court fee.
What happens next
You may have to go to a court hearing if the other person or business denies owing the money.
You can get the court to order them to pay if they admit owing the money or don’t respond.
If they still won’t pay, you’ll need to ask the court to take extra steps to collect the money – eg using bailiffs. This is called enforcing a judgment.
Help making a claim
Contact the Money Claim Online help desk if you’re making the claim online.
Contact the court centre if you’re using the claim form.
County Court Money Claims Centre
0300 123 1372
Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5pm
Find out about call charges
The court fee is based on the amount you’re claiming, plus interest.
Using Money Claim Online will be cheaper than sending a claim form to the County Court Money Claims Centre.
|Claim amount||Sending form to court centre||Using Money Claim Online|
|Up to £300||£35||£25|
|£300.01 to £500||£50||£35|
|£500.01 to £1,000||£70||£60|
|£1,000.01 to £1,500||£80||£70|
|£1,500.01 to £3,000||£115||£105|
|£3,000.01 to £5,000||£205||£185|
|£5,000.01 to £15,000||£455||£410|
|£15,000.01 to £50,000||£610||£550|
|£50,000.01 to £100,000||£910||£815|
Pay by credit or debit card if you’re using Money Claim Online.
If you use the claim form, pay with a postal order or cheque (payable to ‘HM Courts and Tribunals Service’).
You may have to pay more fees later on – eg if there’s a court hearing, or you need to get a judgment enforced.
You may be able to claim the costs back if you win the case.
Find out more about court fees.
You can claim interest on the money you’re owed.
If you’re owed money by another business, you can charge interest on a late commercial payment.
For other types of debt, the rate is usually 8%.
To calculate this, use the steps below.
- Work out the yearly interest: take the amount you’re claiming and multiply it by 0.08 (ie 8%).
- Work out the daily interest: divide your yearly interest from step 1 by 365 (the number of days in a year).
- Work out the total amount of interest: multiply the daily interest from step 2 by the number of days the debt has been overdue.
If you were owed £1,000:
- the annual interest would be £80 (1000 x 0.08 = 80)
- you’d divide £80 by 365 to get the daily interest: about 22p a day (80 / 365 = 0.22)
- after 50 days this would be £11 (50 x 0.22 = 11)
The person or business who owes you money must respond to your claim within 14 days of receiving it.
If you don’t get a response
Ask the court to order them to pay if they don’t respond to your claim.
To do this, you can either:
What to do if you get paid
Tell them you’re withdrawing your claim if they pay you, or make you an offer you’re happy with.
You’ll also need to tell:
- the court centre, if you started the claim with a paper form
- the Money Claim Online help desk, if you made the claim online
How to take your claim to court
You may have to go to a court hearing if:
- the person or business says they don’t owe you any money
- they disagree with the amount
- you can’t agree on how the money will be repaid
The court will send you a questionnaire asking for more information on the case. Fill this in and return it to the court.
You will have to pay extra court fees.
Agreeing without going to court
You can still talk to the other person or business, and try to reach an agreement before the court hearing.
Use the court’s small claims mediation service if your claim is worth under £10,000 – contact your local county court.
You may be able to get some of your court fees refunded if you settle out of court before the hearing.
The judge might not award you costs if they think you’ve made no effort to agree out of court.
You may have to go to court if the other person or business denies owing the money, and they defend the case.
If your case is a small claim – under £10,000 – it may be dealt with using written evidence, without a hearing.
If there is a hearing, you can:
- represent yourself
- pay for a solicitor to represent you
- ask someone to speak on your behalf, like your partner or an advice worker – you must get the court’s permission
Small claims hearings can be held in the judge’s room or a court-room at a county court.
Cases worth more than £10,000
There may be a more formal hearing if you’re claiming for more than £10,000 and you should get legal advice.
After the hearing
The court will send you a letter giving you its decision.
If you disagree with the decision, you have 21 days from the date of the decision to appeal. The letter will explain how to do this.