Claims are allocated to different types of courts in order to make the best use of available resources. These are the small-claims track, fast track and multi-track.
If the case concerns debt that is low (generally below £10,000), it will most likely be allocated to the small-claims track. These types of claims are generally much more simple to deal with and therefore are usually heard by a court within six months.
It’s often cheaper for a claim to be processed on the small claims track as there is no need for the formalities of a traditional trial. Only limited costs can be recovered in small claims proceedings.
As the rules and procedures are less formal, it’s generally easier to represent yourself in the small claims court as a litigant in person. For more information, you can read our legal guide, Representing yourself in court.
Fast track and multi-track
The fast track is where claims between £10,000 and £25,000 are heard. The hearing can only last for one day, and usually, it takes up to a year to reach it. These claims are generally too complex for the small-claims track but they don’t require the extra formalities of the multi-track procedure. Even though the fast track procedure is generally more complex, you can still represent yourself in court as a litigant in person.
The multi-track is for claims for very complicated claims with a value greater than £25,000. Usually, the hearing lasts for more than a day. For example, depending on the complexity of the case, it can take anywhere between one and two years to even reach a court hearing.
Before being allocated to any track, the court will always encourage the parties to settle outside of court.