Law guide: Complaints and disputes

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Making a claim (England and Wales)

Making a claim (England and Wales)

Where do I start my claim?

You can issue (start) a claim for money online. Whether or not you are using the online filing service, all money claims will be issued out of the Northampton County Court and will be automatically allocated from there to the appropriate county court. Other county court claims must continue to be made in the appropriate county court. For a list of courts please see the Court directory.

Although the procedures and forms are the same, you will need to consider whether you want to issue your claim in the High Court (the High Court means either a District Registry attached to a county court or the Royal Courts of Justice in London). Most 'litigants' (people involved in court actions) acting for themselves will choose to issue in a county court as it is a cheaper process.

There are restrictions on claims which may be issued in the High Court. You may only issue in the High Court if one or more of the following apply:

  • Your claim is expected to be for more than £100,000
  • Your claim includes a claim for personal injuries and the value of the claim is £50,000 or more
  • Your claim needs to be in a specialist High Court list
  • There is an act that provides that your claim needs to be issued in the High Court

If you wish to issue in the High Court, or must do so by law, then you will need to state which of the above apply to your claim.

Remember: If you have delayed issuing proceedings for any reason, you may wish to seek legal advice before proceeding.

How do I start my claim?

Depending on the type of claim you wish to make, you will need to complete a specific form.

To start any claim, you must complete a Form N1 (claim form). You can also get a claim form free from any county court. If you decide to start your claim online you should log on to Moneyclaim.

Although you can start a claim in any county court, it may be transferred to another court either by the court or at the request of one of the parties.

What forms do I need?

You will need Form N1. With it you should also be given notes for guidance for yourself (the claimant) on how to complete the form, and notes for guidance for the defendant (the person, firm or company against whom the claim is being made). Once you have filled in the Form N1, you should photocopy it and the defendant's notes for guidance so that you have:

  • One copy for yourself
  • One copy for the court
  • One copy for each defendant you are claiming from

If you're using the online service you will find all you need at MoneyClaim.

Help in filling in the forms

If you're issuing your claim in the county court, the claimant's notes for guidance will help you to fill in the form. Each heading in the form has separate notes relating to it, for example, 'claimant', 'defendant', 'details of claim', 'value', and so on. It is important that you read these notes carefully before you start to fill in the claim form. Court staff can help you fill in the form but can't advise you.


You can claim interest on the money the defendant owes you. If you want to claim interest, you must include it in your particulars of claim.

Write your claim in the following way:

'The claimant claims interest under section 69 of the County Courts Act 1984 at the rate of 8% a year, from [date when the money became owed to you] to [the date you are issuing the claim] of £ [put in the amount] and also interest at the same rate up to the date of judgment or earlier payment at a daily rate of [enter the daily rate of interest].

Working out interest

To work out the amount of interest you are owed up to the date you start the claim, you first need to work out the daily rate of interest. Using a calculator do the following:

0.00022 x the amount of your claim.

This gives you the daily rate of interest.

You then need to work out the amount of interest you're owed up to the date you issue your claim. Count how many days have passed since the money became owed to you and multiply that number by the daily rate of interest.

For example, if you're owed £1,000, the rate of interest would be as follows:

0.00022 x 1,000 = 0.22

So, the daily rate of interest is 22p.

If the debt became owed to you on 7 March and you're filling in the claim form on 26 April, 50 days have passed.

So, 50 x 0.22 = 11.

You can add £11 to the amount you're claiming.

The total figure for interest and the amount you're claiming must be entered in the amount claimed box in the bottom right-hand corner of the claim form. The fee you will have to pay to issue your claim will be based on this figure. Please note the rate of interest depends on the type of claim that you wish to make.

How much will it cost and what if I can't afford it?

The fee you will have to pay to the court will depend on the amount you're claiming. In certain circumstances, you may not have to pay the fee.

See the information on Civil and Family Court Fees, which will tell you about fees and whether or not you can claim remission or exemption. Staff at any county court will also be able to give you these details.

What happens next?

Whether your claim has been issued online or through the county court, a copy of the claim form and a 'response pack' will be posted to the defendant. The response pack contains the forms which the defendant can use to reply to your claim. These are:

  • An admission form
  • A defence form
  • An acknowledgement of service

The court will send the claim form and the response pack to the defendant by first class post.

What happens if the claim is returned by the Post Office?

If the defendant's copy of your claim form and the response pack are returned to the court the court will send you Form N216 (notice of returned document). The claim form will nevertheless be treated as having been served if the address of the defendant given on the claim form is the correct address as required by the court rules (the civil procedure rules). That might be, for example, the usual or last known residence of the defendant.

What can the defendant do when the claim form is received?

The defendant can:

  • Do nothing, that is, not reply to your claim at all
  • Admit that the whole or part of your claim, is owed. If your claim was for a fixed amount you should read the article The defendant admits my claim - fixed sum.
  • Dispute (defend) the whole or part of your claim

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