Do not underestimate the importance of this stage
When you receive notice of the due date for allocation questionnaires, you should also receive notice of the proposed allocation.
It is very likely that the court will propose to allocate your matter to the small claims court unless there is an exception despite the claim being valued at less than £10,000 (See “When could my claim be allocated outside the small claims court and what are the consequences?“)
Section A – see below – please see our guidance on ADR
Section C – this is all about allocation to a particular track
This section give you the opportunity to argue that the case should be dealt with outside the small claims court i.e. either in the fast track or multi-track.
There are pros and cons for your dispute being in the small claims court. The main issue being the extent to which you wish to recover legal costs versus reducing the risk of being ordered to pay costs.
The merits of your case will be one of the main factors to dictate whether you want to recover legal costs or reduce the risk of being ordered to pay them.
Either way, if you are debating whether you would prefer the case to be outside the small claims court you should take legal advice.
In any event you may not be able to convince the court that the matter should be dealt with outside the small claims court. In this regard please see our section on when your claim will be dealt with outside the small claims court.
Section D1 – where will you case be heard?
This section gives you the opportunity to say which court (geographically) the case should be dealt with.
One of the main factors will be the convenience of the parties and any key witnesses.
Section D2 – Do you need expert evidence? See our article on ‘Expert Evidence’
It is unusual for experts to be used in small claims primarily because of the sums involved and because the process is supposed to be simple.
That said it is possible but you will need the courts permission to rely on expert evidence.
This section gives you the opportunity to state what sort of expert is necessary and why.
Remember that the expert is supposed to assist the court in resolving the dispute so keeps this in mind when you are writing your arguments.
Section D3 – what witnesses do you need?
This is where your early case analysis should come in handy as you should already have a list of witnesses you need to fill any gaps in your documentary evidence.
Review this list and then insert the number of witnesses including yourself.
Section D4 – your, your witnesses and any expert’s availability for the final hearing
This section is basically to assist the court in listing the case for a final hearing as it will usually set a date for this hearing at the same time as giving directions.
Don’t forget to sign the last page!