Small Claims Mediation Service for claims less than £10,000
If your dispute is only for a sum of money, and this is less than £10,000, you may be able to access the county courts in-house small claims mediation service, which is free. However, in order to do so you must issue proceedings, for which there is a fee, unless you are approved to be 'court fees exempt' by the courts. For claims of less than £300, the mediation is now compulsory. For larger claims it requires both parties to agree that it should be used. If mediation proceeds, the court-appointed mediator will try and help you find a solution but will not generally have access to the court papers.
Therefore, if the other party is refusing to pay and you wish to take steps to recover this money, your best course of action, is to write a final letter of claim asking for payment and warning that if you do not receive payment you intend to issue court proceedings. If that does not lead to payment in full, you can issue proceedings “online” see https://www.gov.uk/make-court-claim-for-money
If your claim is for more than £10,000 and/or involves other areas of dispute (e.g. property), mediation using an independent mediator can be useful. However, using mediation as a route to resolving conflict is only available if both parties agree.
If the other party has not agreed to go to mediation, sometimes we can encourage a reluctant party to take part.
However, if they still refuse, once again your only alternative is to issue proceedings as set out above. However, the risks associated with issuing proceedings are greater if the claim is valued at more than £10,000 and it would be prudent to obtain legal advice before doing so.
If the claim is more than £10,000 and you would like us to get involved, please email us with the following details
- further details of the nature of the claim, including the sums of money involved;
- The reasons for the dispute;
- your full names, address and telephone number;
- Contact details i.e. name, address, telephone number and email for the other party;
- Whether the other party has agreed to mediation.