Higher limit for small claims court urged

Higher limit for small claims court urged

The £1,000 claim limit in the small claims court should be raised, according to a committee of MPs.

The constitutional affairs committee argues that the limit has not kept pace with inflation and has the effect of excluding people from justice.

Today’s report stresses that the limit means even the most minor of personal injury claims now fall outside the system and risk incurring legal costs that are disproportionate to the claim being made.

It suggests that the limit should be raised to £2,500 for personal injury and housing disrepair cases.

Chairman of the committee Alan Beith said that it was vitally important that the small claims service was relevant to peoples’ needs.

“The small claims system is an absolutely essential part of giving ordinary people, who can’t necessarily risk getting involved in a case with huge legal fees, access to justice and a means of redress in this country.” Mr Beith said.

While the committee stresses the importance of the small claims court, it also points to concerns. The enforcement of awards is described as “highly unsatisfactory”, with only one third of judgments paid in full and no payments at all made in a further third.

Mr Beith added it was “important that the county courts have the proper facilities they need, and that when someone does get a successful judgment, the means are there to ensure it gets enforced, both for the claimant’s benefit and for the credibility of the system”.