Step-by-Step Guidance for Consumer Law and Civil Litigation

Step 1

Pre-Action protocol

For any money or non-money claim, the first step is to try and sort the issue through other available means for example if someone has a dispute with water board they must exhaust water board’s complaint process.

Before going to court, one should try to find an agreement in another way,

for example, by

  • negotiating an agreement directly with the person or organisation
  • involving an ombudsman who can act as an independent referee
  • using a mediator to help you and the other person to find a solution
  • involving an arbitrator who will make a binding decision that will solve the problem or
  • contacting a regulator who can help you deal with issues to do with landlines and mobile phones, the internet, and water and domestic energy supplies such as gas and electricity.

 such person then may proceed for actual proceeding in the court, if he is not happy with the outcome of the alternative dispute resolution or receives no response at all.

Step 2

Claim Form

Firstly, assess the true value of your claim, this value must be realistic. To start a money or non-money claim either in the county court or high court the claimant has to complete a claim form (N1). A completed form can be posted to the related court or can also be handed over to the court in person.

A person can also start a Money claim online by visiting

Interest on the claim

The claimant can also ask for the interest on the money owed

Rate of Interest

‘The claimant can claim interest under section 69 of the County Courts Act 1984 at the rate of [8]% a year from [date when the money became owed to you] to [date you are issuing the claim] of £[amount] as well as interest, at the same rate, up to the date of judgment or when the money is paid (if this is earlier) at a daily rate of [daily rate of interest].

The rate of interest depends on the type of claim that you are making. For more information, speak to a legalally’s experienced lawyer or visit To work out your daily rate of interest,


If you were owed £1,000 at interest rate of 8%

  • The annual interest would be £80 (1000 x 0.08 = 80) as the interest rate allowed to charge is 8%
  • you’d divide £80 by 365 to get the daily interest: about 22p a day (80 / 365 = 0.22)
  • After 50 days this would be £11 (50 x 0.22 = 11)

Completing and Filling the claim form.

Please refer to guidance on filling in the claim form (N1A)

Court Fee

A claimant must also pay an appropriate court fee. For exact fee please visit Fee section (EX50)

Statement of Truth

This must be signed by the claimant, representing solicitor or your litigation friend.

Step 3

Once the court has received and issued a claim it must be served by a claimant to the defendant

Methods to serve a claim form

  • The claim form can be served by the claimant to defendant personally
  • Through registered/recorded mail where the claimant can have a record of post
  • Fax or other electronic means
  • Any other method which is authorised by the court

Where to serve

Type of Defendant

Place to serve


Last known address or usual address

Individual being sued in the name of business

Last known address or usual address of the individual or the main or last known address of the business

Individual being sued in the business name of a partnership

Last known address or usual address of the individual or the main or last known address/place of business of partnership

Company Registered in England and Wales

Principle office or any place of business of the company within the jurisdiction which has a real connection with the claim

Step 4

Once the claimed is served on the defendant then he/she must respond to the claim within 14 days. The defendant can either

  • Admit the claim and agree to pay and the dispute ends here
  • File a defence, then the case will go back to court for further trial, or
  • Partly admit the claim, then the case will go back to court for further trial

Step 5

Where a defendant fails to respond the claimant can ask the court for a default judgement, which means that the claimant obtains judgement against the defendant without a trial of the issue

There are different forms depending upon whether the claim is for a specified or unspecified amount Forms for Default Judgment

N205 A

N205 B



Appeal against a decision

If the claimant or the defendant disagrees with the judge’s decision, they can appeal. They must have proper grounds (reasons) and permission from the judge to make an appeal.

Defending claim

The defendant is normally given 14 days to respond to a claim. The defendant is provided with a response pack N9, which is the main form or N9A, N9B, N9C and N9D depending upon the type of claim  

Guidance for Defendant

Guidance for defendants’ on replying to the claim, please refer to N1C

Guidance for defendants’ on replying to the claim (Consumer Credit Act claim only) please refer to N1(FD)


Guidance for hearing EX 342

Practical Guidance

Please refer to


EX 50

Completing and Filling the claim form.


Defendant replying claims


Defendant replying claim, (Consumer Credit Act)


Guidance for hearing


Guidance on hearing for a witness


Time Limitation

There are strict time limits for starting a case, which are usually as follows:

Type of case

Time limit

Contract within

6 years

Defamation within

1 year

Human rights within

1 year

Negligence within

6 years

Personal injury within

3 years

Tort within

6 years

Fees to Pay at High Court

You will need to pay a court fee to start the case. This will be based on how much you want to claim from the other side.

The fee for starting a case at High Court is

5% of the amount for claims worth between £10,000 and £200,000

£10,000 for claims worth more than £200,000

You can pay with cash, a credit/debit card, or a postal order or cheque (paid to ‘HM Courts & Tribunals Service’)

You may have to pay another £1,090 fee for a trial later on, and extra fees for any interim hearings, court orders or injunctions.

For further individual legal help

  • Legalally has a team of experienced solicitors who will support and guide you throughout your legal issue and will strive to achieve the best result for you


While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information provided in this article, it does not constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon as such. Each legal case and issue may have unique facts and circumstances, as a result legalally does not accept any responsibility for liabilities arising as a result of reliance upon the information provided. For further help and guidance, you can always rely on and seek advice from our experienced lawyers.

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