Our lawyers specialise in litigation. We will guide you through any stage in your litigation process. Whether you are a litigant in person seeking legal advice or you have instructed solicitors and are seeking a second opinion on strategy.
The information published on this website is: (a) for reference purposes only; (b) does not create a contractual relationship; (c) does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such; and (d) is not a complete or authoritative statement of the law. Specific legal advice about your circumstances should always be sought.
What is a Claim Form?
The claimant starts proceedings by issuing a claim form and paying the required fee. If the claim is for a sum of money, the fee is between £35 and £10,000, depending on the value of the claim. If the claim is for any remedy other than the recovery of a sum of money, then a fee of £465 or £175 is payable in the High Court or a county court, respectively.
What are the contents of the Claim Form?
The claim form contains a concise statement of the nature of the claim and the remedy sought (for example, damages). Where the claimant is making a claim for money, the claim form must also include a statement of value of the amount claimed.
When should a Claim Form be served?
The claim form must be served on the defendant. The general rule is that service must be within four months after the date of issue, where the claim form is served within the jurisdiction, and within six months of the date of issue, where it is served out of the jurisdiction.
What are the Particulars of Claim?
The particulars of claim must set out full details of the claim, including the alleged facts on which the claim is based. The particulars may be included on the claim form. However, in a complex claim they are usually contained in a separate document.
When must the Particulars of Claim be served?
The particulars of claim must be served on the defendant within 14 days of service of the claim form in most courts (or within 28 days of service of the acknowledgment of service in the Commercial Court). Where a claim form is served at the end of its four or six months expiry period the particulars must be served at the same time.
What should a Defence contain?
Unless the defendant admits the whole of the claim, he must file a defence. In the defence, the defendant must state which allegations in the particulars of claim he admits, which he denies and which are either admitted or denied but he requires the claimant to prove. Where the defendant denies an allegation, he must state reasons for the denial and put forward his own version of events.
When must a Defence be filed?
The defendant must file a defence either:
- Within 14 days after service of the particulars of claim, if he has not filed an acknowledgment of service.
- Within 28 days after service of the particulars of claim, if he has filed an acknowledgment of service.
Can I get an extension of time to file a Defence?
The parties may agree an extension of time of up to an additional 28 days for filing the defence. If the defendant wants more time, he will need to apply to court for a longer extension. If a defence is not filed, the claimant can apply to the court for judgment in default of defence.
What is a counterclaim?
The defendant may make a counterclaim against the claimant, or an additional claim against another party to the claim or a third party. For example, he may make a claim for a contribution or indemnity from another party.
A counterclaim against the claimant, or an additional claim for contribution or indemnity against another party may be served with the defence without the court’s permission, or at any other time with the court’s permission.
Do I need to file a Reply to a Defence?
A claimant is not obliged to file a reply to the defence. If the claimant files a reply that does not deal with a matter raised in the defence, they are not taken to have admitted that matter, but are taken to require that matter to be proved by the defendant.
Do I need to file a Defence to a Counterclaim?
If a counterclaim has been served, a defence to the counterclaim should normally be filed within 14 days of service of the counterclaim.
What is a Statement of Truth?
Certain documents (including statements of case and witness statements) must be verified by a statement of truth. A statement of truth is a statement confirming that the person making it believes that the facts stated in the document are true.
A failure to verify a document can have severe repercussions. For example, if a statement of case is not verified, the party will be unable to rely on it as evidence of any of the matters set out in it. It could even be struck out, although this is rare. There are also penalties for signing a statement of truth without an honest belief in the truth of the facts being verified.
Do I need to instruct a barrister to draft pleadings?
In some cases, it may be appropriate to instruct an independent barrister or counsel before, or shortly after, proceedings have commenced. Working in conjunction with our litigation solicitors, specialist independent counsel can give advice on the merits and assist with the preparation of the statement of case.
Need a second opinion in your litigation?
Need a second opinion on your litigation? Our solicitors & barristers can help by assessing your case prospects. We have dual-qualified lawyers, so if our view is your case has limited merit or high risk we warn you in our first meeting.
Some firms offer free meetings with unqualified or junior lawyers and only after you’ve spent more do you get advice from a senior partner or barrister possibly that the case shouldn’t be pursued. Some of our professional negligence cases against lawyers are based on this type of possibly negligent approach.
We do things differently from all other law firms in England & Wales. We offer you partner and counsel-led advice in our first meeting, for a heavily discounted fixed fee. That way our best solicitors and barristers can review your litigation case and give you the correct advice at the outset, when it matters the most.
Instructing our Litigation Lawyers
We ensure that we provide the best possible outcome for our clients by conducting in depth investigation and research into the realistic prospects of a case before selecting the appropriate course of action in order to reduce time and expense. Liability for costs is always an issue in litigation and based on our extensive litigation experience we provide our clients with as much strategic, practical as well as carefully considered legal advice in order to ensure minimum risk in respect of costs. Where appropriate we encourage the use of alternative dispute resolution (such as mediation and without prejudice negotiation) and our lawyer’s negotiation skills are first class. If early settlement at advantageous terms is not possible, we are extremely experienced and capable at navigating our clients through the litigation process.
Optimal Legal Results.
Our litigators deliver advanced legal strategies.
We analyse and work out the legal merits of running your case to trial. We calculate and advise on legal risk factors and the litigation rules in England & Wales. We factor in your risk-appetite, costs sensitivity and determination. Together, we plan the best possible result.
You’ll receive strategic legal advice at your first meeting.
LIMITATION ACT 1980 – WARNING
The Limitation Act 1980 sets out strict statutory deadlines within which you must bring litigation claims. Your legal rights will become irreversibly time-barred if you fail to take legal action (or defend a claim on time). Therefore, you should seek specific legal advice about your legal dispute at the very first opportunity so that you understand the time you have left. Failure to take advice or delay in taking action can be fatal to your prospects of success.