As the civil courts continue to deal with a high volume of cases on a daily basis, appropriate claim ‘tracks’ have been created in order to ensure each case is dealt with justly and at a proportionate cost in accordance with the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) overriding principle.

Three tracks have been created, the small claims track, the fast track and multi-track claims, each designed specifically to deal with certain claim types.

Small claims track

Being the most simplified track, the small claims track is designed to deal with low value claims and follows a simple procedural system which are commonly heard by a District Judge. The simple, less formal approach allows for cases to be dealt with by litigants in person to keep costs to a minimum, as costs cannot usually be claimed back from the losing party.

The court still has powers to grant remedies in conjunction with both the fast and multi-track. In civil claims, the small claims track deals with cases up to a maximum financial value of £10,000 (excluding housing disrepair and personal injury). Should the financial value be more than £10,000 this would then fall into the fast track.

Fast track

The fast track has been designed to facilitate the court by simplifying the case as much as possible prior to the hearing. The court will hold a case management conference prior to the hearing, and give directions or deadlines to be complied with, in the form of a timetable.

The fast track deals with claims between £10,000 and £25,000, and where the trial is estimated not to last more than a day. Oral evidence is limited to one expert per party and expert evidence in only two separate fields. Should the parties not be able to agree on an expert, the court will then appoint one on their behalf. Costs are at the discretion of the court, however costs can be claimed against the losing party with the general rule being the losing party pays the winning party’s costs.

Multi-track claims

Unlike the other claims tracks the multi-track is very flexible, therefore there is no standard procedure in place. The judge has the discretion of using varied case management approaches, as once in the court system the court will be required to actively govern the case.

The multi-track will deal with cases which are worth more than £25,000, estimated to be heard for more than one day, and where both parties require expert oral evidence for more than two fields or one expert in a specific field. The court will set Directions to manage the case which it heavily enforces, and non-compliance with time limits could result in dismissal of lately filed documents. Due to the complexity of the cases often assigned to the multi-track, the court would want to deal with some issues prior to the hearing, so that the case can be effectively dealt with at trial.

We understand issuing proceedings can seem very difficult and complexed. Should you require legal advice, Paul Davis regularly acts in respect of issuing court proceedings and can be contacted via email on or telephone at 0116 281 6231.

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