Rudlings Wakelam Small Claims Package consists:
1. A brief assessment of the suitability of the small claims package
This assessment can take place in person, on the telephone or via email. If your case is deemed to be unsuitable for the package e.g. if your claim would not be allocated to the Small Claims track, is ‘out of time’ or more suited to a ‘No Win No Fee’ type of arrangement, no fees are payable.
2. Initial interview with a fully qualified and specialist solicitor to discuss your case
For local clients, it is envisaged that this interview will take place face to face. However, if you are not local to us, this interview can be conducted over the telephone. You will be advised what documentation to forward to us in advance of the interview (post, email or fax) or to bring with you to your appointment. This discussion will last approximately 60 minutes and will include advice on the following:
- Application of relevant law e.g. was there negligence, a breach of contract, a breach of statutory duty
- Value of claim (including the ability to add interest)
- Strengths and weaknesses of your case (and those of your opponent)
- Potential counterclaims
- Evidential requirements
- Use of witnesses
- Use of experts
- Time limits e.g. when your claim needs to be issued by
- Court fees (how much and when they will fall due)
- Court procedure
3. Preparation of Claim form and Particulars of Claim (if you are the Claimant) or Acknowledgement of Service, Defence and counterclaim (if you are the Defendant)
These documents will be fully compliant with the Court rules and will succinctly set out your case or your defence. Relevant law and evidence will be referenced and all necessary exhibits will be incorporated.
4. Assistance completing a Request for Judgment
If no defence is received to your claim, we will explain to you how to request a Judgment without having to attend Court or paying a further Court fee.
5. Assistance completing Allocation Questionnaire
The Court will send all parties this 4 page document. Failure to return it or complete it adequately can result in your case being struck out. We will provide guidance on how to complete and if necessary will provide further assistance to enable satisfactory completion of this questionnaire. We will also answer any questions you have as a result of your opponent’s questionnaire.
6. Self-help guide to drafting witness statements including pro-forma examples
Judges have reported to us that too often litigants in person submit woefully inadequate statements. Some are too ‘wordy’, some fail to address the main issues and others are completely illegible! Given that these are read by the Judges in advance of the hearing, it is important that they direct the Judge very early on to the evidence that supports your case. Having read all the paperwork it is reasonable to assume that the Judge is already starting to form a view about the issues in dispute and the relative strengths of each party’s arguments. Our self help guide will explain how the witness statements ought to be presented and what they should contain. Examples of witness statements will be provided.
7. Self-help guide to production of Court bundles and presentation of evidence
The Court may order one party to prepare a Court bundle. If that task falls upon you, we will explain its purpose, how it will be used in Court, how it must be presented what needs to be agreed with your opponent.
8. Assistance completing a Pre-Trial Checklist
Whilst these are very unusual on the Small Claims track, with the proposals to direct more complex and higher value claims to this track, they may be ordered in your case. We will guide you on their completion and answer any questions raised by your opponent’s checklist.
9. Conduct guide for small claims hearings
We recognise attending Court is a daunting situation for most people. This guide answers many of the questions frequently asked raised by litigants in person e.g. where do I sit in Court, how do I address the Judge, who can I take with me, what should I wear, how early do I need to attend. It is designed to empower you and give you confidence.
10. Ongoing telephone administrative support
Whilst our fixed fee service only includes the above legal support, we are more than happy to provide telephone administrative support throughout the duration of your claim. This may cover the supply of a Court address, an explanation as to how to write a simple covering letter, where to send a payment, who to make a cheque payable etc.
If at any point throughout the proceedings you believe you need additional support, this is available to you for an additional cost. You may for instance decide that you want legal representation at trial after all, that you want us to draft the witness statements, you want us to instruct an expert or simply want another appointment with us to discuss developments or discuss the trial in more detail. You may also find that an application is made by your opponent mid-way through the proceedings or has to be made by you e.g. for summary judgment, for an injunction or for specific disclosure. Such applications are rare on the small claims track and the package has therefore been priced to exclude the work arising from them. The package also excludes post hearing work that may be required e.g. to enforce a judgment. However, additional services beyond the Small Claims Package are available.
The cost of these additional services will be agreed with you in advance of any work being carried out. No additional charges will be levied unless they have been agreed with you in advance. The whole point of the package is that you know what your legal costs are at the outset and receive no unexpected bills from us. You remain in control.